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?
On Valentine’s Day I turned 25, and though I felt unwell (for the third birthday in a row!), I had a great day. Charles treated me to a lovely breakfast in bed of Belgian chocolate waffles, hot tea, and fresh orange juice. We then went for a long walk around Bradgate Park with my family, and had lunch at a tea room, and in the evening we had a pizza party with amazing chocolate birthday cake!
I was lucky enough to receive lots of cards, a few Highcross and Amazon vouchers from friends and family, and some gorgeous gifts, so I thought I’d do a little haul post to show you some of what I got.
My mum gifted me this watch, and it’s absolutely stunning. I love the marcasite detail and I’ve been wearing it every day since I got it.
My two main presents from Charles were these Kate Bush themed necklaces. The first one is from her official website, and features lyrics from one of my favourite songs, Cloudbusting. I actually saw this when I went to see Kate in London last year, but couldn’t afford it at the time. I really wasn’t expecting to get it for my birthday, so was so happy when I opened it! The second necklace is made of silver and was personalised just for me. I love it.
Charles also got me this awesome Game of Thrones t shirt. I can’t wait to style it for an outfit post in the coming weeks!
My dad gave me a few bits for the house, my favourite of which is the Moroccan lamp. It’s made of metal and is lined with purple fabric, and gives off a lovely ambient glow. It now takes pride of place on my living room fireplace.
Much to my delight I get quite a few books every year, and this year was no different. Charles gave me ‘A First Book of Nature’, and ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’ by my space hero, Chris Hadfield. The rat training book was from an old school friend, and my sister gave me ‘Wreck This Journal’ and ‘The Pocket Scavenger’, both by Keri Smith. I can’t wait to start filling them in!
All of the above were parts of gifts from my old school friends, who I celebrated with last night at my favourite restaurant. There was a definite rat theme to their gifts this year!
And of course, no birthday haul would be complete without an abundance of chocolate!
Last but not least, my talented mum made me this super cute heart wreath. She crocheted the flowers herself, and decorated them with buttons. This now adorns my bedroom door and it looks right at home.
As my regular readers will know, a few weeks ago I was offered a new job, which I start on 8th September. Such good news was a great excuse for me to go shopping, especially as I don’t really have many work-suitable clothes, so over the last week I’ve been buying quite a few new bits. I haven’t done a haul post in a while, so I thought now would be a good time to do one, featuring purchases from a local carboot sale, as well as the stuff I bought yesterday whilst shopping with my mum, from H&M, La Senza, and Primark. Most of what I bought is for my new job, but I’d actually wear most of it out of work too, and I also have a few non-work items. So without further ado, here is my latest collective haul!
Thrifted Papaya Polka Dot Peplum Top £1 / H&M Black Super Stretch Straight Leg Trousers £7.99 / Primark Black Suedette Flat Shoes £6
Primark Long Black Lace Shirt £10 / Primark Black Skinny Jeans £7 each (I bought two pairs, one of which I plan on customising) / Shoes as before
Primark Polka Dot Cardigan £8
Primark Stripe Long Sleeve Top £4
Thrifted Zara Flying Squirrel T Shirt 50p
La Senza Knickers £1 each
Total Spend: £54.49
I also recently placed an order on DressLink.com, but I am going to do a separate post about those purchases (possibly a YouTube video) as I want to share more details about my experience of the site.
What do you think of my new haul items?
Last Friday was my birthday, and I was lucky enough to receive lots of lovely gifts from my friends and family – some that I’d asked for, and some that were a complete surprise! So, as promised in my birthday outfit post, here is a little haul post for those who are interested.
My mum got especially crafty for my birthday this year. She actually crocheted the blanket you can see in the photos above, as an extra special gift, and she even made my birthday card by hand. With a heart and rose theme as it was Valentine’s Day! Look how beautiful it is…
Oh and I’m also waiting on an amazing necklace from my dad that I plan on styling in an outfit post asap, so keep an eye out for that.
Thanks everyone for my gorgeous presents
Not so long ago the lovely folks from Aldi’s Health and Beauty team set me a challenge – to Swap & Save with Aldi. I am currently saving for a deposit on a house, which means I have far less disposable cash to spend on beauty products, so I was more than happy to accept Aldi’s challenge! I received three skincare products to try out in place of my usual lot, all from the Lacura range; their Aqua-Complete Moisturiser, Aqua-Complete Multi Intensive Serum, and a large tube of Nourishing Hand Cream.
Here’s what Aldi have to say about the Lacura range:
Lacura products are carefully formulated with the finest ingredients to provide the perfect daily skincare routine. You can trust Lacura to gently care for your skin as each product is dermatologically tested.
I’ve been using all three products for over a month now, which I feel is enough time to comment on their effectiveness, so here are my thoughts on each.
Aqua-Complete Moisturiser for Normal Skin – 50ml – £1.99
With Hyaluronic Acid Complex, Hydrating Minerals and Provitamin B5.
Aldi’s Lacura Aqua-Complete Moisturiser has become my staple facial moisturiser for my morning routine. It has a lovely fresh scent and a light gel consistency, and I find that it creates an even base for make up, that keeps it in place all day. It’s actually quite similar to Nivea’s Express Hydration Primer.
When I first started to use the cream it seemed slightly greasier than what I’m used to, which worried me as my T Zone can get quite oily. However, it absorbs quite nicely and leaves my skin looking and feeling healthy and dewy, rather than shiny.
It has also been a great help to my skin throughout the winter months. I often get dry cheeks during the cold weather, but the moisturiser has kept that at bay this year, and as the packaging states it ‘provides long lasting all day moisture’. I’m interested to see how it will work with my skin in the summer now, as it has an SPF of 6 so will provide some protection from the sun.
I think I’ll be adding this one to my repurchase list, and I may even give the Lacura RENEW Night Cream a go too!
Aqua-Complete Multi Intensive Serum for Normal Skin – 50ml – £3.49
With Hyaluronic Acid and Amino Acid Complex, Glacier Water and Aloe Vera.
I’m fairly new to using serums and hadn’t been wowed by any I’d tried… until this one. At £3.49 the Lacura Aqua-Complete Multi Intensive Serum is the most expensive product of the bunch, but it’s still amazingly affordable. I mean, where else can you buy a good face serum for less than a fiver?! The serum is aimed at people aged between 20-35, so it’s perfect for my 24 years, and is supposed to make the skin appear ‘more radiant and youthful’.
The serum itself has a strange formula. It looks light, but feels rich, and it transforms into the silkiest, smoothest layer on the skin, and is quickly absorbed. It really is an absolute pleasure to use, and feels comfortable, leaving your skin visibly smoother and plumper. In that respect, it definitely gives a more ‘youthful’ appearance.
I have combination skin, so I was slightly dubious about trying a serum made for normal skin, but it actually seemed to create a balance; moisturising the dry areas whilst mattifying the oily areas. Two pumps of product is all it takes to cover the whole of my face, neck and chest as well. I think I’ll be repurchasing this one.
Nourishing Hand Cream – 75ml – £0.75
With Beeswax and Glycerine.
I suffer from very dry hands in the winter, and it has taken me a long, long time (literally years) to find a product that actually helps, so I was a bit reluctant to give it up for this. Aldi’s Nourishing Hand Cream is a basic beeswax and glycerine lotion, but it’s surprisingly silky, and not in the slightest bit greasy.
The cream absorbs nicely, and is quite softening, but it just isn’t intensive enough for my skin. Having said that, at 75p I’m still quite impressed, and I’d perhaps use it more as a summer hand cream when my hands aren’t as dry. I’d definitely recommend it if you have skin that isn’t overly troublesome though.
Overall, I think I’ve been convinced to Swap & Save with Aldi when it comes to facial moisturisers and serum, but unfortunately the dry skin on my hands means I need something a little bit more intensive at the minute than the Lacura hand cream.
If you want to check out the Lacura skincare range for yourself, you can visit Aldi’s website here, or visit your local store!
*These Lacura Skincare products were sent to me by Aldi for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
I hope you all had a great Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year. My Christmas was spent at home with family, as is traditional, and was filled with lots of food and games!
I was very lucky this year and received a lot of lovely gifts, some that I’d asked for and some that were a complete surprise. I love being nosy and seeing what other people got for Christmas, so I thought I’d do a similar post and share my haul with you too!
Dove Gift Set / Snow Fairy Shower Gel / OPI Nail Lacquer x 2 / The Body Shop Body Butter / 17 Nail Polish / Ghost Captivating Perfume / Scholl i-Pop Massager
Snood / Butterfly Hair Clip / Socks / Kitty Slippers / Owl Mittens
Monsters University Shower Set / Monsters University Glow in the Dark PJs
Agate Necklace / Amethyst Silver Ring / Copper Spiral Amethyst Pendant
Black Stud Bag
Ratty Compact Mirror
Kurt Geiger Sally Ankle Boots / Kurt Geiger Brace Wedges
Sugar Skull Money Box / Owl and Star Photo Frame / Salads Recipe Book / Dinosaur Cushion / Rocket Tea Infuser
The Dark Knight Manual / Batman Arkham Asylum Anniversary Edition Graphic Novel
Breaking Bad DVD Box Set / Skullcandy 50/50 Earphones
Rats 2014 Calendar / 2014 Button Diary
Lots of chocolate!
What did you get for Christmas this year?
A couple of months ago, Clair of Bags, Bows and Boots and I decided to do our own little beauty swap. Clair is one of my favourite beauty bloggers and a lovely girl to chat with, so I had a lot of fun choosing products to send to her. We had a budget of £15.00, and let each other take the reins and buy what we wanted, so we both sent and received products we may not usually have chosen. I actually received my package of pretties a few weeks ago and have been meaning to post about it for a while, so here are a couple of pictures of what I sent and received… Apologies for the bad quality photographs!
What I Sent
Owl Makeup Bag
Pin-Up Manicure Set
NYC Smooch Proof 16h Lip Stain
Colortrend Kajal Stick
H&M Smoky Eye Quad
Dainty Doll Powder Blusher
Avon Magix Illuminating Face Perfector
What I Received
Coldora Sparkly Rainbow Eyelashes
Benefit Smokin’ Eyes
Bourjois 1 Seconde Nail Varnish
MUA Undress Me Too Palette
Bourjois 3D Max Lipgloss
Benefit Erase Paste
GOSH Effect Powder
I’m really happy with everything I received, especially the MUA Undress Me Too Palette which is a pretty impressive dupe of Urban Decay’s Naked 2 palette. I will be reviewing everything I was sent individually in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out if you want to know what I think of each product!
You can see Clair’s swap post here.
There has been a big buzz on Twitter lately about Fragrance Direct, mainly because they have been selling a wide range of Dainty Doll make up for just a couple of pounds each. Dainty Doll is a brand that I’ve been wanting to try for a while as it is formulated for people like myself who have fair complexions, so when I heard the bargainous news I went straight to the website to place an order. I soon discovered that Fragrance Direct stock a LOT of other brands at incredibly discounted prices, and I ended up ordering a couple of other things too.
I plan on reviewing everything I purchased from Fragrance Direct in the coming weeks, but for now I thought I would show you my collective haul. The website is restocked almost every day, and also runs out of products just as quickly, so I ended up placing three separate orders in order to get hold of everything I wanted. It did mean I had to pay three lots of postage, but postage is only £1.99 and I split it with my mum and sister as they ordered a few things too, so everything still works out dirt cheap.
Here is what I received in my first two orders… (The third hasn’t arrived yet, but it only consists of two Essie nail varnishes so I’ll add them at a later date).
Dainty Doll Powder Blusher in ‘My Girl’ – £1.99 (RRP £13.50) and Dainty Doll Cream Blusher in ‘Paper Roses’ – £1.99 (RRP £13.50)
Dainty Doll Concealer in ‘002 Abracadabra’ – £1.99 (RRP £14.50)
Dainty Doll Lipstick in ‘Couture’ – £1.99 (RRP £12.50)
Essie Nail Polish in ‘Orange It’s Obvious’ – £1.99 (RRP £7.99)
(‘Bikini So Teeny’ and ‘Cascade Cool’ are currently in the post.)
Manhattan Rock Topia Nail Polish in ‘5’ and ‘6’ – £0.49 each (RRP £2.99 each)
(My mum ordered shades 2, 3 and 4 and they are all absolutely gorgeous.)
Dr Ciate Prescriptive Nail Care File for Brittle Nails – £0.99 (RRP £3.99)
Excluding postage, this little lot cost me just shy of £12.00, but is worth a whopping £72.00 in total! I’m really happy with all of my items and I can’t wait to receive my next order and place even more in the future. Keep an eye out for swatches and reviews of everything coming soon.
Have you ever ordered from Fragrance Direct? What did you buy?
Early last month I launched my Budget Beauty Blogger Swap. The budget for the swap was £10/€12/$16, and the aim was to buy your swap partner as many beauty products as you could within the budget – quite a challenge, but not impossible! So far, I have already seen quite a few posts from bloggers sharing their swap parcels, and everything sent and received has been brilliant.
Today it was my turn to receive my parcel all the way from Beverly Hills in LA. My swap partner was the lovely India, a US beauty blogger who runs beautynthbrains. I answered the door to the postman this morning to see him holding a box with the US postal logo on it, and I knew what it was straight away. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was really excited to see what was inside the parcel so I opened it in a hurry, and was met by this pretty pink, spiralled package, packed full of amazing products.
When I saw this little haul I was over the moon! Everything India sent is exactly my colour, and I was really happy to receive products from so many brands that we don’t have in the UK. I will be reviewing each of the products separately in the coming weeks once I’ve had a chance to use them properly, but here are my first thoughts on everything…
Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Collection in Shimmer The Night Away
I was incredibly happy to receive a Wet n Wild eyeshadow palette, as I have heard a lot of good things about them and they are highly sought after in the UK. The palette I received is Shimmer The Night Away, which features eight shimmery shades – four suitable for a smoky eye look, and four pinks and purples which are my go-to colours – perfect.
Everyday Minerals Stay Cool Matte Eyes Eyeshadow
Everyday Minerals isn’t a brand that I’m familiar with, and I don’t own many mineral eyeshadows, so I’m really looking forward to experimenting with this. The colour is a deep grey with a lovely violet undertone, which will incorporate well into my usual colour palette.
Sephora Nano Eye Pencil in Midnight Black
India and I told each other a few items that we had been lusting after, and Sephora Nano Eyeliner was one of mine. I adore bold, black eyeliner looks so this is ideal for me. I’ve swatched the liner on my hand and, as the Sephora website says, it is highly pigmented and glides on easily as it’s enriched with shea butter.
Sephora Ultra Vinyl Lip Pencil in Fuchsia Pink
Sephora’s Ultra Vinyl Lip Pencil in Fuchsia Pink was another of my requests, and it hasn’t disappointed. I wore this today and it applies smoothly and lasts a very long time. The bright pink shade is absolutely stunning, and the micro-glitter finish gives incredibly shine. I think it’s reminiscent of Barry M’s Lip Lacquer Crayon in Party Pink. Gorgeous!
Sephora Pencil Sharpener
I’ve been meaning to buy a new pencil sharpener for ages now as my old one is on its way out, so this was a great little accessory to find in my swap parcel. India must have read my mind!
Model Co Lip Gloss
Model Co is another brand that I’ve never used before. The gloss doesn’t have a name or colour labelled on it, but it’s a bright shimmery pinky red with a sheer finish. I didn’t find the gloss overly sticky when I tried it on earlier, and it has an intense strawberry scent and flavour which I love. The mirror on the tube is so handy too. I’ll definitely be using this gloss on a regular basis.
Beauty So Clean Cosmetic Sanitizer Wipes
India also sent me four cosmetic sanitizer wipes which are for cleaning cosmetics before or after use. Another nice little addition which will be carried in my make up bag for cleansing on the go.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with what I received in my swap parcel. I imagine India went over the budget with her buys, so thank you India for being so generous and sending me so many fantastic treats. I feel well and truly spoilt today! Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph everything I sent, but hopefully India will share everything in a post of her own when her parcel arrives. I posted almost two weeks ago so fingers crossed it will reach the US soon!
I plan on linking to everyone’s swap parcel posts in a blog post very soon, so if you’ve received your parcel and have blogged about it please let me know!
Yesterday was not only Valentine’s Day but my 23rd birthday, and I was lucky enough to have the day off work to celebrate! As is tradition, I woke up early to open my cards and presents, and in the afternoon I went for a lovely lunch with my family and partner, Charles. After lunch, Charles and I walked into town for a wander round and to see the Richard III exhibition at the local museum, before heading home for birthday cake and a game of Balderdash. It was a relaxed day, but I enjoyed it as I got to spend time with the people I love, and I was given some amazing gifts which I am extremely grateful for! Here are a few photos from the day…
I was lucky enough to receive everything on my Birthday Wish List this year, and more! Everything I was given is very ‘me’, and I have quite a few fashion and beauty items to review for you, including Layla, Miss Sporty and Barry M nail varnishes, Sleek Lipstick and Real Techniques make up brushes. There was also a strong owl theme in my cards and gifts this year… My mum even bought me a packet of owl print toilet roll as a joke! Haha.
Charles surprised me with this absolutely beautiful silver necklace which says ‘Everlong’. Everlong by the Foo Fighters has been my favourite song for years, and when Charles and I got together it became ‘our’ song, so when I saw this I very nearly cried. I love it so much and I’m going to treasure it forever!
I’m a massive fan of Batman, and Charles’ mum and sister baked me this amazing Batman cake. The bat is made from dark chocolate, the icing is vanilla and chocolate buttercream, and the sponge inside is coloured green and purple like the Joker. How cool is that?
We are currently decorating our hallway and the walls were completely bare yesterday, so I decided to write a little note on the plaster for future generations to find one day when I’m old and grey.
Seeing as I had a casual day, I decided to wear a casual outfit for my birthday. I settled for a pink dress top with romantic lace sleeves and purple skinny jeans, both from H&M, and my trusty purple Dr Martens. Oh, and my Everlong necklace of course!
And true to kitty form, my cat Moth loved playing with all the wrapping paper and gift bags!
What did you do for Valentine’s Day this year? Did you get anything nice from your loved one?