Sunday, 27 September 2020

Beauty Samples & A Better Beauty Routine

I've never been quite sure how to describe my relationship with beauty. It's not that I'm disinterested, but I'm not the world's best at keeping up with any kind of routine. I can happily go without make-up, although let's face it, we all have things we'd rather cover-up, and I have in the past just grabbed whatever beauty products I've been gifted.

Safe to say I'm not neglectful of my skin, but I'm a bit haphazard, and I haven't really been that interested in the products I put on it, bar the fact that they helped, or made my skin feel or smell nice. Free beauty samples are changing that, and hopefully for the better.

My friend virtually sent me an opportunity to try out a perfume sample ages ago, via a So Post sampling campaign, and since then I've managed to get my hands on some pretty cool Happy Mail. A fair amount has been free samples through marketing offers, once from O2 priority, and other offers from brands, or shops like Boots. I also order from Feel Unique sometimes that offers 5 samples at a time/per month for £3.95, which is credited back as a voucher to spend on their website.

Part of the appeal is getting nice happy mail on the doormat, but also it's a lot more fun being able to try various make-up and skincare products that you wouldn't normally be able to afford to 'try', without the whole is it worth it, do I really need it, can I afford it dilemmas the full-size versions bring. It's the variety too, from serums and moisturisers to foundation, and even mini lipsticks and gloss, I've managed to source quite a few different brands, to really see what works for my skin and complexion.

I do feel it's changed my mindset a bit. I'm more enthusiastic about having new things to get out and try, saving some of the decent-sized samples I really like for best (i.e. making them last as long as possible) and not just picking something vaguely suitable from the cheaper aisles in the shops. I've also found myself using types of products I probably wouldn't think of before.

Some of the samples I've had lasted much longer than expected as well, the only problem is I want full-size versions of some things - I guess I'll need to start a fund for a few treats.
Some of my favourite samples are:

  • Urban Decay Hi-Fi Shine Ultra Cushion Lip Gloss (Naked) - I'm a fan of anything with peppermint oil in and although a bit thicker to apply than expected, this gloss was comfortable to wear, and moisturising on my lips. It lasts a while and has a slight tint as well. 20 shades available, which vary from purple and various shades of pink to gold - likely with more colour impact. I found a sample on Feel Unique. RRP £15.00
  • GLAMGLOW Galacticleanse - melting jelly balm cleanser. I LOVE this product - It smells nice, feels nice on, and my skin feels nice afterward! Just apply the jelly balm and melt it (and your make-up off with warm water) and no breakouts or reactions. It contains moonflower oil and bamboo charcoal. Definitely one of the favourite cleanser/facial wash/hot cloth cleanser type products I've tried. RRP £26.00
  • GLAMGLOW Waterburst Hydrated Glow Moisturiser - A bit of a theme with GLAMGLOW, but also products in blue packaging, with some kind of water/hydrating theme, as my skin can get dry or a bit dehydrated at times. It can be used day and/or night, and a big selling point is it's free from parabens phthalates and sulphates. A little goes a long way with this, my tiny sample pot is still going strong, so if/when I need a new moisturiser this may be an investment buy or gift idea. RRP £39.00
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tint Cream - This was a lovely little find in a sample form. The shade I was sent is not enough coverage for those bad face days when there are things I'd rather cover-up, but this ticks all the boxes otherwise. SPF 30, non-comedogenic, safe for sensitive skin, and applies like a dream. My skin feels good so this is definitely on the list for re-purchasing. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Stickii Club Sticker Subscription Service Review

It's been a while since I have posted anything stationery related here, but as a long term penpal and crafter I love all things cute, colourful, and stationery related. I was recently #gifted the opportunity to try out Stickii Club, a sticker subscription service that is based in the US and ships worldwide.

Sign-up


When you sign up you can choose between 3 different themes: cute, retro (Victoriana, nature, vintage), and pop (quirky and offbeat), which you can switch between if you want to try out another theme one month. The site and social media feed also give you sneak peeks of what is coming up that month so you know what you're getting, or could be getting, if you are considering subscribing.

One thing that made Stickii stand out from the off is their use of in-house designers who put together the stickers etc. each month, under chosen themes. There's no sourcing from other suppliers and from looking at their past packs online, there's a lot of variety there.

What's Included?

Subscribers will typically get 6 sheets of stickers, sticker candy (loose stickers), a funky paper clip, a notepad/sticky notes pad, and a stationery item such as an embroidered patch, bookmark or mini letter set. All of this comes neatly packaged in a folder with different organiser pockets, and easily fits through the letterbox, which is another bonus. Regular subscribers also have the option to purchase a BAO (stationery binder that looks a bit like a bag) and additional pouches. Another thing I've noticed is the opportunity to buy stand-alone sticker sets or past subscription themes - great if you missed out/want to rebuy your favourite, or just stock up on some sale bargains.

COST - subscriptions cost $10 a month plus $2.50 shipping to UK addresses. (roughly £9.62).

Thoughts

A card I made with the stickers.

Stickii teased me a bit when they gifted me with this opportunity. Back then, and now I can spy some seriously cute stickers and themes on their website that is very much me, and I'd definitely pick-up to decorate letters with, but what I received was a bit disappointing. 

Some of the full sticker sheets featured quirky cat images, something that I don't really go for and have seen a lot in the UK before. The more unique stickers, embroidered patch, and small sticky notes pad were a lot of fun, but there wasn't enough use (or pages in the pad), and therefore value in some of the regularly included items for me.

So it's a no to the subscription, but if I'm running low on stationary and want to treat myself, or collect a few cute bits for gifts/crafting) then I would revisit the site and stock up for sure. 

Monday, 17 August 2020

Theatre Severn Live Stream With Flash A Tribute To Queen

Read all about Flash: A Tribute To Queen and their weekend live stream at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury. 

One of the best things about lockdown and the very difficult time we are still going through is watching my favourite creatives, and people I've worked for/written about, embrace new things and push their comfort zones. Watching and then looking at the reactions afterward, not only from the crowd but from the band themselves is heartwarming to see. I think now more than ever we all need a bit of escapism, and to connect with each other and music if and when we can, and the human side of a band is something we all love to respond to. 

Flash: A Tribute To Queen (one of my last clients before lockdown hit) teamed up with Wild Edric Media and Theatre Severn Shrewsbury to put on a live stream broadcast to support the theatre, a venue like many other arts spaces that are wondering what their future will shape up to be.

Flash played for an hour with a pro streaming, staging, and lighting set-up, running through a set-list that covered all the hits from 'I Want To Break Free', and 'Fat Bottomed Girls' to one of my personal favourites, the emotional 'These Are The Days Of Our Lives'. Launch song 'Fat Bottomed Girl's' was a bit shakey vocally, and it took them a little while to get used to the pin dropping quietness that came at the end of each song, but watching a band try, and then grow into a new situation is all part of the experience, at a time when Saturdays needed to be good again.

The staging looked very cool, the camera work was on point, and while it wasn't always vintage Flash vocally (I'm just a bit picky knowing what they can do), it didn't take too long before they were looking, performing, and sounding the part. When they got comfortable with the camera, the high notes were all there, the guitar solo's soared, and an amusing attempt to keep up with the live chat zooming across a screen to the side of the stage (try the slow chat mode, next time guys!) added some fun.

I really enjoyed watching it and seeing them adapt to a crowd on their couches, and feel a little bit proud.

It's been labelled a success by all involved, who all gave up their time to support the venue, and it was great to see people donating as they were watching. I didn't expect a Flash socially distanced lockdown cover, and definitely I didn't expect this, but both have been very much appreciated. Thank you for all the smiles guys, and I know we are all looking forward to whatever comes next.

#LetTheMusicPlay

#SupportTheArts

#WeMakeEvents 

*All the people involved in making this stream are linked in the post if you would like to go and visit their pages. You can also watch the broadcast back at any time, it's embedded above or available on the Theatre Severn Youtube. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Disney Questions and Answers

I think the title of this post may give it away, but yes I am a big Disney fan. When I've been watching Disney videos on Youtube I see some tag videos on there, but I am not a fan of being in front of the camera, so I thought I'd blog my Q&A instead.  If you're a blogger/Disney fan would be great to see your answers in a blog post too.



1. How did you get into Disney?

I grew up with the films, and they gradually entered my life when I was old enough to watch them (Bambi was banned at first for obvious reasons!). I remember not having much patience for Fantasia but fell in love with some of the other films on first watch.

At some point Walt Disney World really started to be advertised in the UK, and that got me even more excited, especially after some neighbours had been to the Californian version. To a young me it was just magical, and the ultimate place to go on holiday.

2. Have you been to any Disney parks?

Yes! I was really lucky to go to Orlando twice in the late 80's/early 90's with my family and absolutely loved it. We saved and went without to make the trips happen, and hands down they were two of the best holidays I've been on. We stayed on the monorail loop at the Polynesian Village Resort, and that place is amazing. I just love the whole Hawaiian theming. I spent ages in the pool as well as the parks, and they did some super-sized Mickey Waffles back then! I'd love to go back to Florida, though I am not sure how an older me would cope with all the rollercoasters now, I have never been on one that goes upside down!!

3. What's on your Disney bucket list?

There are a few things I haven't experienced before, so I'd love to see a Disney production in the UK such as Disney On Ice or a West End Musical. It would be great to hear some of my favourite songs live. I'd like to visit Disneyland Paris as well as I've never been to, and I know they have some unique attractions you don't get in Florida.

I did tick one small thing of my list already, as I've now bought Disney merchandise from a Disney store! It may sound silly but there was something kind of satisfying about walking around town with a Disney carrier bag, having spent in-store, and chatted with a cast member about all things Disney. Sadly our pop-up Disney store is gone, but will hopefully come back one day.

Apart from that, I'd love to go back to Florida as it's been so long, and there's so much more to see now.



4. If you could voice any Disney character in a film who would it be?

One of my favourite things is seeing the behind the scenes stuff on Disney DVDs of the actors voicing the script. It looks like so much fun, especially when you get to see some of the actor's mannerisms in the animated character. The animals always seem a lot of fun and full of expression, so maybe Timon (Lion King) or If Pluto could speak I'd choose him, one of my favourite characters.

5. Favourite Disney villain?

Maleficent hands down. I have watched the film quite a few times now, and I really enjoyed the story and the contrast between her initial joy and youthful energy, and the darker side she displays when betrayed by ambitious Stefan. Ursula is probably my least favourite, she just freaks me out for some reason.

6. First characters you'd queue to meet in the Disney park?

Chip and Dale and Pluto. Pluto is, without doubt, my favourite Disney dog, and I've always loved Chip n Dale - remembering which one's which, and trying to find Disney merchandise with them on.

7. If money was no object, what would be your ultimate Disney experience?

I'd like business class flights to Florida (I'd love to have the beds there and back), if its the ultimate experience, then they'd be serving my favourite Disney dishes on the flight there instead of the plane food I'd normally refuse. Then I would be escorted to my bungalow at the Polynesian by Mickey Mouse. There would be an Ohana feast and tropical fruit plate waiting to help me get over the jet lag.

8. What's your favourite Disney song? 

My current favourites change. I used to really like Breaking Free when High School Musical first came out, but then got sick of it after Disney overloaded us with HSM content, same with Let It Go from Frozen. Hearing Idina Menzel sing it for the first time was a powerful thing, but I got sick of the Frozen hype too. My absolute favourite has to be Circle Of Life from the Lion King (animation). It's such a moving, beautiful song that to me is timeless. Hearing those harmonies, and picturing the scene from the film it plays out over is quite emotive. Plus I think the movie has been treated right and there's been no overkill. One of the best soundtracks overall in my opinion.

Thanks for reading all about my Disney favourites, goals, and more. I hope you enjoyed it. See on you on the next post, and keep on sharing the Disney magic.

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Beauty Samples & A Better Beauty Routine