lifestyle boxes, mental health, mindfulness, reviews

Review: Cancer Care Parcel

Cancer has affected everyone I know in some way or another.

When I was 18 my paternal grandmother died after a long fight against lung cancer that eventually spread through her whole body to her brain.

It was difficult to see her become weaker and more fragile. Cancer treatments were debilitating and had some pretty terrible side effects.

The people behind Cancer Care Parcel want to help alleviate some of the stress and worry patients and their families are dealing with.

Each package has been tailored with practical and fun items that meet specific needs.

I was kindly sent this Deluxe Box for women to share with you and it’s a fantastic assortment of items.

As well as their incredible boxes, which are available for all genders and children too, the website offers social networks, advice and information for cancer patients, family and friends.

I think that if you’re looking to buy a gift for someone dealing with cancer, one of these boxes could be a really good idea. And the parcels are now on sale too.

Christmas, fashion, jewellery, lifestyle, reviews

Christmas Stars with Jewellery Box* 

Christmas is coming and if like me you’re part magpie you’ll have your eye on some sparkly gifts, whether for yourself or as gifts for your loved ones. 

For some beautiful and fun jewellery look no further than Jewellery Box

This UK based small business is a favourite of bloggers, having sponsored the Bloggers Blog Awards, which I attended back in September. 

The team very kindly sent me some really lovely pieces to share with you all. 

I love this necklace, there’s something very soothing about tessalating shapes. The silver chain is delicate with a lobster clasp. Perfect for work to add a little quirk to a smart office look. 
For something more seasonal, how about this dainty snowflake? Adding this to my Christmas Day outfit I think. 

To go with the necklace, these star earrings! So pretty and cute. 
Then to finish it off another star, this time in gold, around my wrist – although it might go better with Boxing Day’s ensemble. 
Everything is beautifully packaged, making these items perfect gifts for your friends and family (or yourself!) 

jewellery, reviews

Review: Martha Jackson Locket* 

All my life I’ve loved jewellery, from my Nan’s earrings to my Mum’s eternity sapphire necklace. 

One of the earliest things I owned myself aside from a christening bracelet, was a little locket. It had tiny pictures of my grandparents in and was very much a child’s necklace. 

I’ve always loved lockets – the hint of a secret tucked away. They pop up in literature hiding clues to great secrets, passed down through generations. 

So when Martha Jackson asked if I’d like to review one of their gorgeous lockets, obviously I said yes. 

And isn’t it just a delight? 

I don’t wear yellow gold so this sterling silver one suits me perfectly. I can imagine wearing it with so many different outfits – silver goes with everything. 

I chose this one because the silverwork is so ornate and timeless looking. 

And of course it opens, with a space for a tiny keepsake or photo or if you’re feeling Victorian a lock of your love’s hair! 

The key charm hanging beside it fits the whole idea of a locket perfectly – you keep your secrets safely locked away. The charm is an added touch and you can pick your own out, which is a lovely way to personalise it. 

And at Martha Jackson you can even get your jewellery engraved – mine has my full first name (used only by my mum) on it. 

It really is beautiful and by no means the only lovely thing for sale at Martha Jackson. 

And the customer service is excellent, a definite bonus. 

And you’re supporting an independent business, which is always a good thing in my book. 

I’ve got my eye on a few things for Christmas, because having seen first hand how well made – that is a decent clasp and chain – and lovely the jewellery is, of course this little magpie wants more! 

*this post contains gifted or sponsored items but all words and opinions are my own. 

beauty, beauty boxes, ethics, reviews, skincare, vegan kind

TVK Beauty Box Nov ’16

The box costs £18.95 from The Vegan Kind and comes every three months. There is also a monthly snack box with one beauty/body treat. As always 20p from each box sold goes to the Dr Hadwen Trust – the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity. 

Inside this box are 7 items. Several are fullsize and I have a serious issue with the size of one of them…

Maggie Anne Gel Effect Nail Varnish (RRP £10.50) – fullsize. When will ‘nude’ nail varnish die? I would love to have received a fun, seasonal colour one, but no, another nude. Having said that it seems OK – goes on smoothly, with a nice finish. 

Human+Kind Body Scrub (RRP £13.50) – fullsize. This is a big bottle of body scrub and one I will be putting aside for the Mr as I really don’t like the scent. But I do like the natural ingredients and lack of evil microbeads. 

Inecto Naturals Little Saviour Coconut Hand and Nail Cream  (RRP £1.00) – fullsize. I like coconut and I like handcream. So I like this. 

PHB Ethical Beauty Peach Lip Liner (RRP £8.95) – fullsize. Matte lip liner in a slightly weird Peach colour. Hello the 90s. Really not sure about this. 

Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Body Wash (RRP £2.99) – fullsize. I generally use argan oil on my hair after I wash it – it got rid of all my stress induced split ends like magic. So I will give this a go even though I’ve found other oil based body washes don’t leave me feeling clean or fresh as much as the bubbly ones. 

Amie Naturally Kind Morning Dew Matte Finish Moisturiser 10ml (RRP of fullsize item £4.95) – what is with the teeny tiny bottle? I don’t think you get much of a test run from something this small and at just under a fiver it’s hardly an exclusive premium product. That said, it’s a decent moisturiser for the price but nothing particularly fancy and no SPF.

Faith in Nature Watermelon Shampoo Sample  (fullsize RRP £5.50) – this is even more of a joke, have the Glossybox team taken over TVK? This is a tiny sachet of shampoo, good for one wash. Which isn’t a great way to test out whether this is for you. And again this is about average for a high street product.  What made me laugh the most was the fact that on the box insert card it raves about the gorgeous packaging – I wouldn’t know from this 7ml sample. 

All in all this was an ok box. Nothing too special- obviously the USP is that this is a cruelty free, vegan friendly collection, and in that sense it fulfils its brief. However all of these brands have been in the box before and some of the products are on the basic side. It would have been nice to see some little known and indie brands included.  

beauty, make up, reviews

Make Up Menu – Revlon Ultra HD Matte Liquid Lipstick

I like a bold matte lip, gloss just sticks my hair to my mouth and recently I swatched the new Revlon liquid lipsticks (a product I love btw, much easier to apply and slides on easy).

Revlon seems to be reformatting a lot of their products and streamlining their range and I think these beauties are here to stay.

Despite being blonde with very pale skin, I don’t really go for pale lip colours, preferring a bold purple or red, so I made a beeline for the purple hued one, sadly Superdrug were out of stock, but I will return for it.

Instead I went for the deep pink of Obsession (one of my personal bugbears – the terrible names given to make up shades), which, while it could be punchier, is great for every day wear.

Devotion (top), Obsession (bottom)

In my Glamour Summer Edit from Latest in Beauty there was the nude/pink shade Devotion – which they reckon is the perfect shade for anyone, which I’m not 100% sure about as different skin tones suit different shades, even before you take personality and taste into consideration.

To be honest I don’t think you need to build up the colour as they’re quite pigmented, perhaps if you were using the paler shades you might want to.

It lasted fairly well, although I’m not the best judge as I have a terrible habit of licking and chewing on my bottom lip, having to reapply lip balm all the time, so I probably eat more lip products than anything else. 

If you prefer a glossy lip, slick a clear gloss over the top for added shimmer.

Have you tried Revlon’s new liquid lipsticks? Thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

lifestyle boxes, mindfulness, reviews, skincare, yoga

Yogi Surprise Box – July


This little box of fun was sitting on my doorstep earlier.

It contains a variety of items to help you improve your yoga.

Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Green Coconut Chai


Containing cardomom, ginger, clove and coconut, this tea is Gluten-Free, fair trade and hails from India. I had a quick sniff and it smells delish. 

Aura Cacia Peppermint & Sweet Orange Yoga Mist – multi use essential oil spray. Can be used on your mat, in the room and on your body. It’s quite a heady mix, but as it’s paraben and petroleum free, organic and cruelty free, I might just spritz this everywhere.

Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask – I have a lot of face masks floating around, some, like this, are clay based and those aren’t my favourite. But if you’re a clay mask fan this chemical free (I can pronounce all the ingredients) one might be right up your street.


Gaiam dual grip headband (and yoga gloves) – cotton headband designed to keep your hair (and sweat) out of your face while you get your downward dog on. I also got another pair of the yoga gloves that were in June’s box – must have forgotten I already had some!


Finally was a jewellery item – a tiger’s eye bracelet with Buddha charm. The Buddha has been co-opted into the modern yoga world in a way that feels a little like appropriation – although meditation is a Buddhist practice, the Buddha’s religious significance is often forgotten in the rush to put his face and image on things from cushions to garden ornaments.
If I wear this bracelet I will have to do so mindfully – I’m not a Buddhist and must be aware of the fact that some might not like my apparent use of their religious leader’s image for decoration.

That aside tiger’s eye blends Earth and Sun together and is supposed to give you clarity.


*I apologise for the somewhat blurry photos – my camera seems to be having some issues*


beauty, beauty boxes, lifestyle boxes, make up, reviews, skincare, vegan kind

The Vegan Kind – Beauty Boxes

Shipped every 3 months, price £18.95 inc. P&P.


This month’s box contains;

– Sophyto Total Protection Serum. This is apparently step 4 of 5 in the skincare routine recommended by this firm. So that’s confusing.

– Greenfrog Botanic Geranium & Peppermint body wash. This smells nice and has been added to my shower gel line up in the bathroom.

– Zkin sensitive skin sample pack.


Four samples of the products in this range. Cream Cleanser, Smoothing Serum, Relief Moisturiser, Brightening & Hydrating Masque.

– Lunar Lights Harvest Moon highlighter. A very pale, irredescent gold highlighter. Perfect on my very pale skin.

– Crazy Rumors HibisKiss lip gloss in Sunset. An orangey red colour that smells nice too.

Highlighter & gloss swatches

I also get The Vegan Kind monthly snack box as part of my eating better plan (I’m not vegan but I don’t eat red meat and pork makes me nauseous).

In those boxes you receive a selection of food items and a lifestyle one (I’ve had body wash, hand wash and a bamboo toothbrush).

This month's snack box

Check out their website or social media for more info.


beauty boxes, lifestyle boxes, make up, my little box, reviews, skincare

My Little Dream Box


This month’s My Little Box finally put in an appearance (thanks Mr Postie) and it’s a good un. The theme is dreams and they’ve curated a really lovely box.




The packaging is gorgeous, they pay a lot of attention to details.

Inside is a selection of lifestyle and beauty products.


As well as the usual My Little Magazine, there’s a cute cotton bag containing a My Little Beauty branded hair mask, Lip Balm Loved By Lou Lesage in a creamy rouge, Soft Perfumes by Sabe Masson in Copacabana (a solid perfume stick).


It also includes two lifestyle items. A necklace in a cloud, which when opened is a charm necklace with ‘Bonne Etoile’ engraved on it. Another cute packet contains a stamp pad and rotating stamp with 12 different designs.

In total the box is worth £58 but I only paid £13 including P&P.

At the moment this is far and away my favourite beauty box. They are always beautifully put together and a good mix of beauty and lifestyle items. The box itself is sweet and reusable, so less rubbish is generated. It doesn’t have the largest selection of beauty products but they’re all fullsize this month.



beauty, body positive, reviews

TV – Plus Sized Wars – my thoughts

Last night Channel 4 aired the one-off documentary Plus Sized Wars about the growth in plus size fashion and the role of bloggers in promoting body positivity.

As someone who has been both much larger than I am now and much smaller, I know how frustrating it can be to buy clothes that suit your figure and are nice.

The documentary follows the teams behind Evans, the UK’s biggest plus size brand and newcomers Yours and Taking Shape (an Aussie company recently launched in the UK).

For me Evans = frump. Which is an image they are trying to shake off with their Shape fitting service and hiring younger women to model their clothes. I have tried to shop in Evans, but the emphasis on baggy, shapeless clothes frustrates me. I tend to buy things from their sister shop Dorothy Perkins instead (they go up to a UK 22).

I wear somewhere between 16/18/20 depending on the item, cut and fit on the high street.  No two shops offer the exact same fit in the size.

The average UK woman wears a 16. So for most shops to not cater for larger sizes means they’re missing out and the plus size stores are racking in a fortune.

The bloggers and models they featured range from Georgina Horne of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust who is a curvy 16, to Tess Holliday (professional model not blogger) size 24, Callie Thorne of From the Edges of the Curve to several other girls I follow on Instagram (just go raid my feed for more) and for some truly gorgeous pictures follow these women.

I tend to shop online, I know I can always send things back, can try them on at home without the awkwardness of the changing room where the curtain is slightly too small.

Online is where plus size brands have found their market. From ASOS Curve to Boohoo Plus, Simply Be to Lady Voluptuous (I own two of the dresses in this range) and beyond. Without physical shops, overheads are low, so prices can be too. Many of these ranges are determined to avoid frumpy, poorly fitting, sacks for the larger body, and aim to deliver stylish, well fitted, trendy clothes. Which is what is wanted.

The show aired on the same day that former popstar Jamelia said on another TV show that shops shouldn’t sell larger sizes and fat women should be uncomfortable shopping. Presumably she has never had a friend, sister, daughter or mother with her who was above a size 12.

Leaving aside the fact that she’s not a doctor, many weight gains are caused by medical conditions and fat doesn’t equal unhealthy in every case, she has been lambasted for her comments. As a mother of two teenagers I hope her daughters don’t worry about their weight, or take onboard her comments. Enough teenage girls (and boys) harm themselves or even commit suicide because they don’t fit into a narrow body stereotype.

What we say hurts. One of the bloggers interviewed for the show last night spoke of how she had been badly bullied about her size and how it had taken her a long time to regain self-confidence.

I would love to see more examples of varying body types on TV and in print. Just to reassure those teenagers that they’re ok, they’re normal. That as long as you’re healthy it doesn’t matter what the number in your clothes is.

Overall I thought it was a balanced look at the plus size fashion world (although the woman from Milk modelling agency was pretty repellent) that tried to show a range of bodies like you might see every day, rather than the TV idea of fat – a size 12 to 14 rather than a 10.

Did you want Plus Sized Wars? What did you think? And what about Jamelia’s comments? Let me know below. 🙂


beauty, beauty boxes, glossybox, make up, skincare

Glossybox – Hollywood Glamour

This month’s Glossybox is themed around Old School Hollywood Glamour, from Marilyn Monroe to the Hepburns, via Elizabeth Taylor and other fabulous women.


The box is quite pretty with Monroe pouting on the front, inside is a quote from Taylor, the presentation is all very pretty but unfortunately the contents had shifted in transit and escaped from the tissue paper and ribbon.


There are five products inside, again inspired by the glamour of Hollywood’s hey day.

Lord & Berry lipstick crayon in Kiss – meant to be the red of Monroe’s perfect pout. I like an eye crayon and adore Clinique’s chubby sticks for lips so certainly will give this a try.

Astral Original face and body moisturiser – a classic product, still made to the same formula since the 50s. I am very fussy about my moisturiser, and this is not one I’ve tried, although I’m sure my mum used to.

POP Beauty Kajal Eyeliner Pen – kohl pencil in sooty black with a sponge at one end to smudge your line. As frequent readers will know I am not very confident about eyeliner, and there are hundreds of unused eyeliners in my make up past.

Colour Club barely there nail polish – another nude polish – they are literally everywhere. The decal on the bottle is a mess, and the colour is one I have several variations of at the moment.

Nougat London Soothing Bath Pearls – baths don’t happen in my flat – there isn’t one. This smells quite nice and will probably work well as a foot soak too.

Not overly enamoured with this box to be honest, feels a bit repetitive, would be nice to see unusual brands and colours, I think the first Glossybox I had was the best.