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

Paperhaul May Review: FLAMINGO FLAVOUR

Our postie misdelivered my #Paperhaul to a neighbour, luckily she’s a nice one, so she kept it safe until we got home from our weekend away!

I’m still loving the updated look of these! The white card envelopes look brighter and fresher than the previous brown cardboard boxes, and I appreciate the way the whole set is tied together by the large accent sticker on the outer packaging and the inserted business card echoing the month’s design.

The May Paperhaul theme was Flamingo Flavour, and featured lovely pink flamingoes, hibiscus flowers and lush green ferny palm fronds, all in tropical shades of coral pinks and deep forest greens.

Included in May’s superb stationery selection were:

  • A cute noteblock, with a colourful flamingo illustration down the side of the pages

  • 2 postcards, one featuring a cute illustration of a pair of flamingos and the other bearing a bold leafty print, incorporating a ‘hello‘ greeting.

I think the matching reverse is a lovely additional touch to these postcards.

  • 3 mini flat cards, featuring prints co-ordinating to the set,  all with beautifully textured matching cream envelopes.

And finally,

  • A jazzy A6 notebook, featuring dot grid pages and all over leafy printed cover.

I think the noteblock with the lovely illustrated pages is my favourite item in the Flamingo Flavour collection, what’s yours​?

Want Your Own?

If you are interested in a Paperhaul Subscription, you can find out more here

Subscriptions are £10/month, with p&p extra (£2 UK, £5 Europe, £6 Rest of World). 

Don’t forget, you can use code ” 25OFF ” to receive a 25% discount off your first Paperhaul box. 
So, what do you think of the May collection, or Paperhaul in general? If you were familiar with the previous style, which do you prefer?

Thanks for reading,

Hugs,

Crafty xx


[MailCall Monday] 22 May 2017

The last week started off pretty slow in terms of interesting mail…

Like everyone else’s letterbox in the UK at present, there were a fair few electioneering flyers & some very tempting takeout menus.
Towards the end of the week, however, the fun stuff started arriving.

This is a NinjaBookBox​ Month.

NinjaBookBox is a quarterly subscription that includes a book and a selection of associated goodies. The items are all sourced from Independent publishers and small businesses, making for an unusual & exciting box. 
You can see my full unboxing post later this week, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek…

Also, feel free to use my referral code HEATHER15 to get 15% off any purchases over £5 in the Ninja Book Shop. You can even use it to get a discounted ‘A Grand Adventure’ Summer Reading Box

The Rest of This Week’s Bookmail 

The Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman is a contemporary fiction tale, full of love, obsession, and alternate realities.

Twins Aidan & Diane live in a small American town, next door to Collin; artist, actor, misfit.

Collin becomes involved with Aidan’s teacher, Nina and this is where the web woven by Arkadia; the large gaming company which dominates the town; tightens around it.

Nina, is the daughter of Arkadia’s owner.

Both Aidan & Collin become increasingly immersed in Arkadia’s online gameworld, Everwhen.

When Aidan receives a mysterious black boX which allows him to physically enter the gameworld, he finds both the reality and his perceptions of the two worlds become skewed.

As Collin also finds himself pulled deeper into the game, Nina begins to suspect there is something far wrong but doesn’t know how to help.

When the two world collide, everyone involved find their lives changed, and their loyalties torn.

 

In exquisite detail, Allegra Goodman explores what happens when an alternate reality takes over one boy’s life, and the forces at work behind his obsession: the all-encompassing gaming realm that becomes more authentic than his real world.

This gritty and thought-provoking read seems to me to be reminiscent of the storylines of Tron, or the Spy Kids 3D movie; or Superpowerless, by Chris Priestley. 

It is recommended to readers who enjoy works by Margaret Atwood, Lionel Shriver, Maggie O’Farrell, Donna Target, Jonathan Franzen, or Anne Tyler.
I was very taken by the gorgeous cover, and I can confirm that that bright explosion of colour is even more beautiful in real life!

Look out for my review of it nearer the publication date of 1st June 2017!
So, that was the contents of my mailbox this week, what about yours?

Hugs, 

Crafty, xx

[MailCall Monday] 01/05/2017

It’s Monday, that means it’s time for a quick roundup of what i found in my mailbox over the last week…

Book Mail

Two days this week found a total of 3 shiny new ARCs in the incoming mail.

  • Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach is a mystery/crime thriller centred around twin sisters, Ava and Zelda, and Ava’s return to their disfunctional family home on a dilapidated vineyard following the supposed death of Zelda in a fire. A series of notes, letters and emails leads Ava on a journey looking for the truth about her twin’s disappearance whilst uncovering a few truths about herself. (Published by Corvus and due for release on 4 May 2017)
  • Nomad by James Swallow is a Spy Thriller full of suspense and likened to books and TV dramas such as I Am Pilgrim, The Bourne series, Homeland, and 24. (Published by Zaffre on 29 December 2016)
  • The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck is a historical novel, set in the aftermath of WWII, exploring how three women deal with life after war and how they come to terms with both the choices they made and their outcomes.  (Published by Zaffre and due for release on 18 May 2017)

    Keep an eye out for my reviews of them if you are interested to know what i thought of them!

    Subscription Surprises

    I do enjoy coming home from work to discover a box or envelope of goodies to explore. 

    I try to avoid seeing spoilers so the contents are a complete surprise!
    So, without further ado, on with the unboxing!

    Nature-themed goodies from Boxcitement

    Each month’s Boxcitement contains a collection of stationery, jewellery, honeware, gifts and little crafts; all curated around a central theme, April’s being ‘Lost in the Woods‘.

    I love the attention to detail in these boxes – the sprinkle of confetti always matches the theme!

    When you open the box, everything is hidden beneath sticker sealed tissue, and the double sided contents card is sealed inside the lid so there can be no inadvertent spoilers as to the actual contents.

    Let’s have a peek inside.

    Although the boxes are themed, the contents are varied, both in type and style. There’s usually a good mix and this box is no exception.

    There are always a few items that are individually wrapped, either for a little extra protection or just to add to the mystery!

    So in this month’s box, inspired by The Great Outdoors, I found:

    • A chunky twig pen 
    • An A6 notepad with a flower print cover. (Actually, the paper feels more sketchbooky and on closer inspection of the contents card, this is indeed what it is) 

    • A card kit to make a mini cute birdhouse
    • A set of gift wrap, featuring a lovely quality sheet of double sided paper and two coordinating tags

    • A stylish ribbon wrap bracelet with attached tassle and cute flower catch
    • A sweet little test tube vase, complete with rope hanging string and a cute little doodah (that’s the incredibly technical term for the leaf embellishment attached to it 😉 )
    • A funky wall-mountable honeycomb keyholder

    My favourite item in the box has to be the keyholder. I love the ingenious fit & click idea, i mean who needs hooks when you have honeycomb holes??

    According to the contents blurb, there should have been a card & envelope in there too but that seems to be missing. I wonder what it looked like?

    So what do you think of Boxcitement?

    I really like the variety included in each box.

          You can find out more about Boxcitement subscriptions here, they start at £18/month buy paying for 3,6 or 12 months discounts the cost to as low as £15. They also offer mini boxes and one-off gifts around Valentine’s, Mother’s Day etc. 

          Obviously I have a code for you if you want to try out a box for yourself (I know, I’m lovely!!) so use code ” FIRST BOX ” to get 10% off a monthly subscription.

          Citrus-themed Stationery from Paperhaul

          Saturday morning brought my monthly Paperhaul subscription package. They have recently changed their ‘look’ and have swapped their brown cardboard boxelopes for these white card envelopes. 

          The sticker on the outside matches the design theme of the contents, as does the inserted business card.
          This month’s theme is citrus, and the collection is entitled ‘Lemon Love‘.         The citrus-y colourscheme is bright & juicy and the fun graphic print is delightful.

          Stationery items included in April’s set are:

          • Large square card with an allover print, with matching envelope.

          • 3 postcards, all in variations of the theme.

          The matching borders on the reverse of the postcards are a nice touch, dont you think?

          • 3 Mini flatcards with matching envelopes, in matching lemon slice repeating print with 3 different coloured backgrounds.

          • A6 dot grid paper notepad, with a cover featuring a lemon slice print. The front bears the slogan “When life gives you lemons …” which is completed “… make lemonade!” inside.

          I think the cute notebook is my favourite item this time.

          I like the revamped look to the Paperhaul boxes, I had been considering cancelling this subscription but I’m keen to see the next few now!

          If you are interested in a Paperhaul Subscription, you can find out more here

          Subscriptions are £10/month, with p&p extra (£2 UK, £5 Europe, £6 Rest of World). Although I will also tell you that using code ” 25OFF ” will snag you a 25% discount on your first #Paperhaul (because I’m nice that way).



                Did you find anything fun in your mailbox last week?

                Until next time,

                Hugs,

                Crafty xx

                July Paperhaul review .

                Have you heard of #Paperhaul ? It’s a fantastic monthly stationery subscription service run by Glasgow based company Crafty Creatives.

                It launched in November 2014, with the first box popping through letterboxes in December.

                One has landed on MY doormat every month since then 😀 Actually, that is an important point; #Paperhaul is shipped in a neat slim brown cardboard box that fits easily through your letterbox; so no pesky red cards telling you that the Postie couldn’t deliver ‘your monthly paper fix’!

                IMG_20150718_141714645_HDR

                The first thing you see when you open the box is a sheet featuring the paperhaul logo on one side & on the reverse it encourages you to write a word that you feel sums up this box then share it on social media.

                IMG_20150718_222640592

                Yes, it is basically a clever marketing ploy; but it’s also quite inclusive! It makes you feel like you really are part of a special club.

                So, without further ado; this month’s box:

                Oohhh! Looks promising!

                Oohhh! Looks promising!

                I love packages tied up with string. The twine wrapped around these little bundles is a lovely touch.

                I love packages tied up with string, and the length of twine wrapped around these little bundles is a lovely touch.

                July Paperhaul : The Fishy One!

                July Paperhaul : The Fishy One!

                There’s always a theme for each monthly box. The team at Paperhaul put a lot of effort into collating a wonderfully cohesive collection in terms of theme and colour palette, whilst incorporating a wonderfully varied selection of design & style.

                Let’s take a closer look:

                3 assorted postcards. I can decide if the tentacles or the mermaid is my favourite.

                3 assorted postcards. I can’t decide whether the tentacles or the mermaid is my favourite.

                The varied selection of postcards perfectly illustrate my point with regards to how the folks at CC include such a wide range of designs whilst keeping the box contents as a cohesive collection.

                1 large greeting card. I just love that crab illustration.

                1 large greeting card.
                I just love that crab illustration.

                Usually there are more folded cards included in the box but, as you’ll see further down, we got something else instead this time. The cards are always varied styles but all great quality.

                3 mini flatcards & envelopes.

                3 mini flatcards & envelopes.

                I tend to use these as gift cards or to include in parcel swaps detailing what it’s for & who from. These ones are a lovely thick hammer textured card with a fantastic doodle design that is also featured elsewhere in the box.

                1 sheet of glossy square stickers.

                1 sheet of glossy square stickers.

                The sheet of stickers included is always good quality & well cut. I use a lot of stickers, especially to decorate outgoing mail, so I can always use them.

                2 individual large size stickers.

                2 individual large size stickers.

                I’m never quite sure what to do with these big stickers, but they are always fun!

                3 sweet little gift tags with strings.

                3 sweet little gift tags with strings.

                The little hanging tags appear every month, they are always on the top of the bundle and give a clue to what the monthly theme is going to be.

                2 sheets of double sided papers.

                2 sheets of double sided papers.

                I like the way they choose 4 such different styles for the good quality papers included each month.

                A beautiful roll of washi paper tape. The swirly design makes me think of waves.

                A beautiful roll of washi paper tape. The swirly design makes me think of waves.

                There is always a roll of tape in the paperhaul boxes. It is great quality, tears well and sticks smoothly.

                3 adorable little pin badges. This is something new, as we've never received badges before. Definitely a fun addition!

                3 adorable little pin badges.
                This is something new, as we’ve never received badges before.
                Definitely a fun addition!

                Finally, there’s one more nice little touch:

                #Paperhaul donate 10p from the sale of every box to  the Postpals charity.

                #Paperhaul donate 10p from the sale of every box to the Postpals charity.

                Postpals is a fantastic project that facilitates the sending of mail (& smiles!) to poorly kids and their siblings. I send quite a bit of mail to postpals kids, and suitably cute items regularly appear in the paperhaul boxes.

                What do you think of this month’s Paperhaul? Do you have a favourite subscription box? Let me know in the comments!

                Thanks for reading!