BIRCHBOX August ’17: Mermaid Vibes [Review] (& DISCOUNT)

Birchbox is a beauty subscription service. Their monthly boxes give you the opportunity to sample lots of different cosmetic and skincare brands, whilst their online store allows you to purchase full-size versions of the products you love.

Each box comes in sturdy outer packaging.

Inside which you will find your products and information sheet enclosed within further reusable packaging.

On most occasions it is one of these nifty little cardboard boxes which are easily stacked to create a clever set of storage drawers; whilst other times it can be a zipped pouch / purse, a clutch, or even a drawstring bag.

The August theme is Mermaid Vibes, and can we all just take a moment to admire that foiled print in gorgeous shades of blues and purples??

It’s always an exciting moment when you open the drawer and get your first peek of the contents!

The Contents

In my August box I discovered:

  • A full-size Spectrum Collection Powder Brush in shade Glam Clam. (Beauty Tool)
  • A full-size LOC in shade Rock Steady *RRP £8* (Cosmetics)
  • Number 4 Sugar Texturing Spray (Haircare)
  • NUXE Dry Oil Shimmer (Cosmetics)

Disappointingly, the Whish Revitalising Mud Mask (skincare), which should have been my 5th and final product, was missing from my box. I contacted customer service and subsequent to a friendly yet professional response, a replacement was received within a week.

Each month there is 1 product where you have the option to choose one of two variants, for the August box this was the Spectrum Collections makeup brush, in your preferred colourway.

Prior to despatch I had the opportunity to select 1 of 3 options:

  1. Glam Clam : shades of pink
  2. Bomb Shell : purple & turquoise hues
  3. Surprise Me! (It’s a lucky dip)

I chose to go with the surprise option, because who doesn’t like surprises?

September’s choose-your-own product is yet to be revealed, but we did get a sneak peek at another product to be included; a full-size MANNAKADAR BEAUTY Fantasy 3-in-1 blush, highlighter, and eyeshadow.

The Cost

A Birchbox subscription is £10 per month plus UK p&p of £2.95.
You can cancel or pause your subscription whenever you like.

There are also opportunities to purchase a 6 months subscription which give you free p&p on your first box. £60 + (5 X £2.95) or a yearly subscription which gives you 12 X monthly boxes for £100 + (12 X £2.95) meaning 2 free boxes!

What I Thought

I have yet to extensively try all the products in this box, but so far I think it’s reasonably good value for money.

The eyestick alone has an RRP of £8, and I would usually expect to pay around £6 for a similar product. I would expect to pay around £4 for the brush; meaning the rest of the products were essentially FREE.

  • The LOC Shadow Stick is a pretty shade, applies easily and is very wearable.
  • The NUXE shimmer oil smells of summer, it’s easy to apply, and leaves a slightly oily sheen with a golden glow.
  • After using the Whish Mask, my skin feels amazingly smooth and nourished and looks brighter. I would consider buying this product.

Rating & Recommendations

Appearance: I love the stylish look of the packaging, and think the fact it is usefully reusable is a definite plus. 5/5

Products: I received a pretty good variety in my box. Each month there are a number of core products that everyone receives, then an array of others from which you receive a selection to make up your 5 products. Mostly these are skincare, haircare, a body care or make-up; but accessories such as jewellery or beauty tools (like this month’s brush) are sometimes included. 4/5

Value for Money: As previously mentioned, one full-size item had an RRP of £8, so from that point of view, this box was definitely value for money. Personally, I didn’t perceive this particular selection as being as great value as other boxes; but this is just my personal opinion – the box is still great, I think I’ve just had a run of amazing ones so my expectations were high! The fact you also get to try smaller sizes of other products to see how you like them, rather than splashing out on the full-size only to discover that they don’t suit, is great. 4/5

Benefits: The opportunity to try new products from established and newer names in the beauty industry. There are a number of additional benefits to being a Birchbox subscriber, but perhaps the most notable one is that you are entitled to at least 10% off full-size versions of the products you like. 5/5

TOTAL SCORE: 18 / 20

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention:

Customer Satisfaction: Two month in a row, there has been a problem with my Birchbox, but the customer service system is a really sleek operatation. Submitting a query I via the contact form generates an automated response, this is then followed up by a named operative within 48 hours; any deviation from this is acknowledged with another automated mail. The first contact from a member of the team is always courteous, states an apology for what has gone wrong, and offers a solution. Subsequent correspondence is always friendly, helpful and they keep you informed of everything.

The delivery process is also incredibly slick, with emails informing you when your box is ready for dispatch, forwarded to the delivery company, with your local courier, on it’s way; and finally; confirming delivery.

 

If you want to try Birchbox for yourself, you can save £5 off your first box by signing up through my referral link .

https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/thecraftylass

(Birchbox also credit my account with a small amount to spend in their online store each time someone signs up via my link. Remember to share your own link after you have signed up!)

Bonus offer!

Enter code: TAKE2 at the checkout, to claim a free full-size Nails Inc. Polish plus a make up bag when you subscribe to Birchbox in August.

*Terms and conditions apply. Cannot be used in conjunction with other offers. Available whilst stocks last, or until 31st August 2017.

Thanks for stopping by; see you again soon; and in the meantime, have you tried Birchbox, or another Beauty Subscription box? What are your recommendations?

Hugs, Crafty xx

Advertisements

[MailCall Monday] 7th August 2017

Notebook & Pen Swap

I received my swap parcel for the Notebook and Pen Swap hosted by Jessica over at The Paper Trail Diary.

I was partnered with Emma, from A Cornish Geek and we were tasked with selecting notebooks & pens based on each others preferences, packaging them up, and mailing them off; before the deadline of August 7th.

Emma stated a preference for hardbacked A5 or greater notebooks, containing plain paper pages, hopefully in pastel colouring, and preferably featuring a literary or motivational quote. 

This seemed like it should be a super easy request to fulfill but for some reason I really struggled! I tried all the usual suspects: Paperchase, WH Smith, The Works, TK Maxx, Tiger, various online small businesses who stock stationery, both Asda & Tesco’s large stationery & back to school ranges, amongst others but had little success. Eventually I realized I was going to have to cheat a little, and I hope she didn’t mind! 

Anyway, enough about that! Let’s get on with admiring the goodies that Emma selected for me, shall we?

Inside a big bubble mailer I found a fabulous A4 bright pink notebook emblazoned with MAKE THINGS HAPPEN in gold foiling, isn’t it marvellous?

The cute ribbon markers are incredibly useful for splitting sections or marking places, don’t you think?

Interestingly, she had similar thoughts on pens as I did (remember the pens I mentioned here recently? Well, this is the swap they were for) and these colourful ballpoints will be very well used!
Lastly, can I just draw attention to the delightful notecard?

How did she know that Dolly is my Spirit Animal?? 😂😂
I look forward to using those pens for writing many important notes, on the things that I am going to make happen, in my swish new notebook. 

Book Swap

July was Book Swap month in Jocelyn from The Reading Residence ‘s #BringBackPaper campaign.

I was paired with Kathryn, AKA BookwormAndTheatreMouse , and the challenge was to select and send each other a preloved fiction book. The only clues we received was the other’s least favourite genre, so we knew what to avoid. Kathryn admitted to not being much of a SciFi fan, so I skipped the bookshelf full of distant planets and robot overlords, then chose a copy of a thriller I enjoyed reading a few months back. I packaged it up with some tea and chocolate, because what’s the point of settling down with a new book without making yourself comfortable? and sent it off.

Meanwhile, the lovely Kathryn was doing exactly the same; so I came home from work one evening to find an interesting looking bubble envelope, emblazoned with the #BringBackPaper hashtag, waiting for me.

 

I received a copy of INDIGO DONUT by Patrice Lawrence, I haven’t read it and the blurb sounds intriguing.

In Bailey’s opinion, Indigo didn’t look like she needed a hero. One by one, she looked Mona, Saskia, Betti and Kay in the eye. Then she gave them the finger, slow motion. Headphones on again, she sauntered off towards the science wing. He’ll. That was … She was …

Indigo lives with her foster mum, Keely. When she meets Bailey at sixth form, serious sparks fly, but Indigo has a secret that could ruin everything between them before it’s even begun.

Bailey‘s blown away by Indigo; she’s so different to other girls. But when Bailey becomes the target of a homeless man who knows more about Indigo’s past than is normal, he is forced to make an impossible choice.

I’m looking forward to reading this as I enjoyed Orangeboy, the first novel by Patrice Lawrence. (I think everyone else enjoyed it too, since it won a Waterstones Book Prize and was shortlisted for many others.)

Important Paperwork

Midweek, I received written details of the amendment to my terms and conditions of employment. Basically, it’s just confirmation of my start date, job title, new location & pay grade.

I pick up my swanky new uniform when I start next Monday.

Some EXTRA Beauty

Birchbox’s discount code for July entitled users to an extra mystery box. Mine wasn’t delivered alongside my July box, but their customer service team were on the ball and soon sorted it out; and the courier dropped it off just as I was heading to work on Friday.

The EXTRA box I received was actually June’s Daytripping Birchbag; a delightful pastel zippered pouch; inspired by Brighton Beach and it’s chalk-coloured beach huts, sorbet ice-creams and dreamy watercolour sunsets.

 

Inside my lovely Birchbag I found:

  • A full-size MEECH AND MIA Brow Liner, in shade #21 (RRP £12.99)
  • A full-size 50ml tube of COWSHED Cow Pat moisturising hand cream (RRP £18)
  • A 50g sachet of SCRUB LOVE Invigorating Coffee Body Scrub
  • A set of ECOTOOLS Enhancing Eye Brushes (RRP £6.99)
  • And a dinky 2.5ml sample jar of BOBBI BROWN EXTRA Eye Repair Cream 

As I mentioned, I received this free of charge, but full price would have been £10 plus £2.95 p&p. Given that 3 items were full-size products worth a total of £27.98 AND it came in such a delightful & very useable bag, I think this one was a real bargain for anyone who received this June offering!

If you fancy trying Birchbox for yourself, you can save £5 off your first box by signing up via my referral link (Birchbox also credit my account with a small amount to spend in their online store)

Even MORE Beauty : August Birchbox

Given that Saturday morning was the third time in a week that the same delivery guy was met at the door by a frightful vision of unmadeupness, he is probably wondering why I buy all these Beauty Boxes….

This time he was bringing my August Birchbox; the choose-your-preference item this month was a Spectrum brush, in one of two colourways; as usual I ticked the ‘Surprise Me!’ box, so I’m eager to see which colour of brush I received and what else is enclosed.

You can see my full unboxing of August’s themed Birchbox here.
So, that was the contents of my mailbox this week, what about yours?

Until next time,

Hugs, Crafty xx

[MailCall Monday] 31st July 2017

This week has been a bit of a mixture in terms of mail, some days there was lots of fun mail whilst others there wasn’t so much as a junkmail flyer popped through the door.

It started off well on Monday, when I came home from work to find my monthly Boxcitement subscription box waiting for me….

Boxcitement

As usual; the Boxcitement box is a wonderfully eclectic collection of stationery, jewellery, accessories; all curated around a central theme, which this month is DRAMA QUEEN

There is certainly plenty of drama, and more than enough special treats to leave me feeling royally spoiled.

It’s Fabulous, Dahlings!! But you’ll have to wait for my unboxing post to see just how fabulous.


BookMail

Lots of Bookmail this week…

 

SEEING RED is a harrowing semi-autobiographical novel written by Chilean author Lina Meruane and published by Atlantic Books.
It tells the tale of Lucina, a young  A Chilean writer, who; whilst living and working in New York; suffers a life-changing eye haemorrhage.

As she begins to adjust to a very different life of reliance on others, so too do those who love her find themselves learning to adjust to a very different woman.

 

Crime Thriller, KILL ME TWICE, written by Simon Booker and published by Bonnier Zaffre ; tells the tale of Anjelica, a victim of domestic abuse who finds herself imprisoned for murdering her husband. Forensic experts attest to finding his charred remains after an arson attack and so she turns to Morgan Vine, an investigative journalist for help to prove her innocence. 

The whole world knows Karl Savage is dead. It doesn’t matter that he was abusive. Or that Anjelica has a baby to care for. Or,  indeed, that she is petrified of fire.

Then he turns up outside Morgan’s window….

I’m intrigued to know more, but I must admit to hoping that in the end the only possible resolution is not for Anjelica & Morgan to kill him.

Rosie Fiore’s WHAT SHE LEFT , published by Allen & Unwin , is billed as Contemporary Fiction. 

When Sam Cooper’s wife Helen disappears, noone understands why. She has a charmed life; she’s beautiful, accomplished, organised; but she chooses to abandon her home & family. She hasn’t been abducted or murdered, she just walks away.

Tormented by all the questions of why, where, what? ; Sam finds he is losing his grip on work and family life; he sees Helen’s face everywhere and he’s losing control.

But then one day, it really is Helen’s face he sees…

I received ARCs of these novels, free of charge via ReadersFirst , and you will be able to read my review of each nearer their publication dates:

  • Seeing Red : 3rd August 2017.
  • Kill Me Twice : 24th August 2017.
  • What She Left : 17th August 2017.


Pen Mail (& a Panda) 🐼

I signed up to a notebook and pen swap recently, over on , and my swap partner mentioned she liked smooth writing pens with easy on the eye ink colours.

I’ve bought some of these pens from Tiger Pens before and personally find they write beautifully; they also look rather stylish, and the colour of the swirly tattoo print corresponds to the colour of the ink (except for the black ink one, which has a silver grey pattern). 

I thought they would be ideal for adding to my swap package, and I might have added to my own pen collection. I lose/lend pens at an alarming rate so tend to overstock!

I also noticed that there are refills available for these, so I think I’ll be adding a few sets to my next  order.

There was also a special offer where you could claim a free Panda squishy with orders over £15 from this particular range.

So, I got a Panda

Tiger Pens stock a huge variety of pens & pencils, everything from left handed fountain pens to everlasting metal pencils, and UK shipping is free on orders over £10.

Fabric Samples

I love when a company do samples right, and furniture and homewares purveyors loaf certainly do!

New sofa discussions have been ongoing for sometime but so far I have yet to see anything locally that has made me think “Yep, that’s the one!” 

I recently stumbled upon the loaf website, and as a few of their offerings caught my eye, I promptly requested some fabric swatches.

At the moment our sofas are dark chocolate brown leather and we’re swithering between sticking with leather or going for something fabric (in some misguided belief that as the kids are now grown, we no longer have to worry about jammy handprints; like it’s them that regularly knock glasses of red wine over…. actually, it’s the cat; but that’s another story!)

The sample mailer arrived quickly and I was intrigued by the dinky little box.

Then I opened it….

 Alongside the swatches I had requested, they had enclosed a witty little intro booklet, a blind measuring guide & templates, and a sachet of hot chocolate; to enjoy whilst perusing their offerings. 

Stamps

My attempts at used postage stamp collection and collation have somewhat fallen by the wayside but every now and then I receive an exchange bag returning home, or one of these Forever Stamp Exchange sheets. It’s essentially a chain letter (something I normally have no time for!) But they were handy to stick in envelopes I was sending to other collectors and in the beginning was a good way to ‘meet’ new people to exchange with.

Susanne from Austria found my details next on her sheet and so sent me the required 50 stamps(actually, she sent far more), and an updated copy of the sheet. Next to receive is Claudio in Italy, so I’ll dig out my stamp box and send some off this week.

Stationery Savings

I received a mailshot from Paperchase with a coupon for 20% off Back-To-School stationery. It seems rude not to….

I’ve already been instore recently for a sneak-peek and so far my favourite back to school ranges are:

  • FLY AWAY which is full of whimsical pastel unicorn & rainbow illustrations. 
  • BANANAS which is bright blue and yellow and features a fun graphic print.

and, of course,

  • The new HELLO KITTY collab!

      Beauty Box

      You can read my full July Birchbox review here ; but for now you can have a sneak peek!

      In the meantime, if you’d like to try a Birchbox for yourself, you can save £5 off your first box by using my referral link .

      The full link is: https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/thecraftylass

      (Birchbox credit my account with a small amount to spend in their online store each time someone signs up using my link)


      So, all in all, it was a pretty busy week for my mailbox! What about yours?

      Till next time,

      Hugs, Crafty xxx 

      BIRCHBOX July ’17: Summer Daze [Review] (& DISCOUNT)

      Birchbox is a beauty subscription service. Their monthly boxes give you the opportunity to sample lots of different cosmetic and skincare brands, whilst their online store allows you to purchase full-size versions of the products you love.

      Each box comes in sturdy outer packaging

      Inside which you will find your products and information sheet enclosed within further reusable packaging.

      On most occasions it is one of these nifty little cardboard boxes which are easily stacked to create a clever set of storage drawers; whilst other times it can be a zipped pouch / purse, a clutch, or even a drawstring bag.

      It’s always an exciting moment when you open the drawer and get your first peek of the contents!

      The July theme is Summer Daze, I adore the image used to illustrate this; the palm tree silhouettes against the graduated blue to pink definitely gives the impression of a balmy sunset in warmer climes.

      The Contents

      In the July box I discovered:

      • Balance Me Flash Cleanse Micellar Water (Skincare)
      • Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Overnight Recovery (Haircare)
      •  Rituals Hammam Delight Foaming Shower Gel (Body care)
      • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat (Nailcare) *this is a full-size product worth £9*
      • The Hero Project Glow Drops (Skincare)
      • Benefit Cosmetics Chachatint Lip & Cheek Stain (Cosmetics)


      Each month there is 1 product where you have the option to choose one of two variants, for the July box this was the Benefits Lip & Cheek Stain. Prior to despatch I had the opportunity to select 1 of 3 options:

      1. Chacha Tint : a mango/coral shade
      2. Gogo Tint : a pink hue
      3. Surprise Me! (It’s a lucky dip)

      I chose to go with the surprise option, because who doesn’t like surprises?

      August’s choose-your-own product is a full-size Spectrum Collections makeup brush in your preferred colourway. Again, I chose the surprise option.

      The Cost

      A Birchbox subscription is £10 per month plus UK p&p of £2.95.
      You can cancel or pause your subscription whenever you like.

      There are also opportunities to purchase a 6 months subscription which give you free p&p on your first box. £60 + (5 X £2.95) or a yearly subscription which gives you 12 X monthly boxes for £100 + (12 X £2.95) meaning 2 free boxes!

      What I Thought

      I have yet to extensively try all the products in this box, but so far I think it’s great value for money.

      The topcoat alone has an RRP of £9, and I would personally usually pay around £6 for a similar product. I would expect to pay around £4 for the shower gel; meaning the rest of the products were essentially FREE.

      • The lip & cheek tint is a pretty shade, applies easily and is very wearable.
      • The shower gel smells AMAZING, I know some people might find the combination of rosemary & eucalyptus unusual but personally I find it very fresh and invigorating.
      • After using the cleansing water; my skin felt soft, clean and refreshed.

      Rating & Recommendations

      Appearance: I love the stylish look of the packaging, and think the fact it is usefully reusable is a definite plus. 5/5

      Products: I received a pretty good variety in my box. Each month there are a number of core products that everyone receives, then an array of others from which you receive a selection to make up your 5 products. Accessories such as jewellery or beauty tools are sometimes included, I think if I had received one from that  group I would have rated 5/5, but for now it’s 4/5

      Value for Money: As previously mentioned, one item was full-size and worth £9, so from that point of view, this box was definitely value for money. The fact you also get to try smaller sizes of other products to see how you like them, rather than splashing out on the full-size only to discover that they don’t suit, is great. 5/5

      Benefits: The opportunity to try new products from established and newer names in the beauty industry. There are a number of additional benefits to being a Birchbox subscriber, but perhaps the most notable one is that you are entitled to at least 10% off full-size versions of the products you like.  5/5

                     TOTAL SCORE: 19 / 20



      If you want to try Birchbox for yourself, you can save £5 off your first box by signing up through my referral link .

      https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/thecraftylass

      (Birchbox also credit my account with a small amount to spend in their online store each time someone signs up via my link. Remember to share your own link after you have signed up!)


      HURRY! Bonus 2 for 1 deal! 

      Sign up for your July Box by midnight on Monday, and add code EXTRA at the checkout to claim an additional box contains 5 luxe beauty treats.

      Thanks for stopping by; see you again soon; and in the meantime, have you tried Birchbox, or another Beauty Subscription box? What are your recommendations?

      Hugs, Crafty xx