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 I know Glossier has been in the UK for a while now but I haven't done a stand-alone blog post about them for a long time and I thought I'd do an updated post and talk about what products I'd recommend buying from Glossier if you're only just getting around to trying them now as well as a few products that I found quite disappointing. 

The first product I've got to talk about is the Milky Jelly Cleanser which is my go-to cleanser no matter what my skin is doing. It's a cleanser that just leaves your skin feeling nicely cleansed but doesn't leave it feeling like it's been stripped of any good oils etc. It's not the best at removing makeup alone though. I tend to go in with my It Cosmetics Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm* first to get the majority of my makeup off and then go in with MJC afterwards. 

Another product from the skincare range that I love and can see a difference after using is the Bubblewrap Eye and Lip Plumping Cream which is definitely one of my favourite eye creams. I don't use it on my lips as it just feels a bit odd and almost drying for some reason (I think it's just me though). However, it works so well at lifting and refreshing the under-eye area and if you suffer with dark circles under the eyes like myself then it really does help to diminish it.

Glossier's You EDP is hands down my all-time favourite perfume and I'm yet to come across anything that smells remotely similar. They say it's a "personal fragrance" so it smells different to everyone. It contains base notes of musk, ambrette and ambrox that transform and smell different on everyone because it adapts to your skin chemistry and it has top notes of earthy green iris and spicy but fresh pink pepper. I've been using it for around 18 months and I'm still addicted to the scent! If you're in the market for a new perfume then I'd highly recommend adding the You EDP sample to your next order to see if you like it.

The Lash Slick Mascara is a nice lengthening mascara which is great to wear when you're having more of a natural or minimal makeup kind of day. It doesn't clump up on your lashes and it doesn't flake off throughout the day either. I also find the brush is handy to use if you're struggling with a clumpy mascara as helps to separate the lashes really well.

The Cloud Paint gel-cream blushers are what made me place my first ever Glossier order because I just loved the unique paint tube lookalike packaging and I'm still repurchasing years later. I currently have the shades Dusk and Puff as I feel like they're the shades that work best with my complexion and they're just so easy to use. When the product first comes out of the tube, it does look a bit scary as it looks like it's going to be super pigmented but it does sheer out easily upon application.

For many years Benefit's Gimme Brow was my go-to brow product but as soon as I used Boy Brow for the first time, it knocked Gimme Brow off the top spot. It's such a weird formula as it's kind of a creamy but waxy pomade but it works so well at fluffing up your brows and setting them in place. 

 If you prefer a highlighter that gives you more of a sheen or natural glow then I'm pretty sure you'd like Glossier's highlighters. I have Haloscope in the shade Quartz and Niteshine in the shade Pale Pearl from the Glossier Play range. Haloscope gives more of a sheen and Niteshine gives more of a natural glow. I also find applying them to your fingers and then tapping them onto your cheeks works better than applying them directly to your face, especially with Haloscope as it sometimes moves your base but they are definitely my most used highlighters and I love the look they give.

The Stretch Concealer is a great concealer for those minimal, natural makeup kind of days. I tend to wear it with my Bare Minerals Tinted Gel Cream* when I need a little more coverage under my eyes or to cover up any pesky spots. There's also a pretty good amount of shades to choose from and it just provides some extra coverage in a hydrating, glowy way.

And now onto the products that disappointed me...

I was so excited when Zit Stick came to the UK and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, I've used Zit Stick on two separate occasions and both times I've ended up getting really painful under the skin spots in the areas I've used it, which I'm sure isn't a coincidence? I think I'm going to try it one more time soon and if it happens again then it's going in the bin.

Solution sounded right up my street when it was released as it contains AHA, BHA and PHA and they claim it can transform the look of skin in four weeks. But unfortunately, it actually made my skin worse and I broke out like crazy. I tried to stick it out for a couple of weeks as I thought maybe my skin was going through "purging" but it was getting worse after each application. It also made my skin feel as though it was burning/tingling almost every time I applied it too, which definitely made me think I was having some sort of reaction. It does have quite mixed reviews so it may work for you and it may not. But I personally wouldn't try it again.

So there's my little Glossier round-up. I have tried more products from them but I didn't want to make the blog post even longer. Also a lot of the other products that I could've featured kind of fall into the "they're just okay" kind of bracket. 

If you do decide to place a Glossier order after reading this post then don't forget to use my promo link to get 10% off and free delivery! If you've already used a promo link before then you can use a different email to get the offer again.

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I have quite bad anxiety and when it's bad, it's really bad, my sleeping issues kind of vary depending on my anxiety levels and then obviously I have my chronic back and pelvic pain joining in on the party too. I've been toying with the idea of trying a weighted blanket for a couple of months but they are quite expensive for what is essentially a blanket. However last month, I decided to buy a weighted blanket from Mela Comfort because I found a good deal on Amazon that I just couldn't pass up. On the website, it's priced at £144.99, however at the time on Amazon it was £94.97 (including free postage) which is still quite pricey but better than the RRP.

Mela Comfort also give you a 100-night trial with fuss-free returns which is great, obviously, if you buy through Amazon then that changes things a little because they have their own returns channel so ideally, you would return via Amazon within 30 days for free.  But if it goes over the 30 day return policy then you can contact Mela and then they will send out a courier to collect the blanket (I'm not sure if this is free or not though).

They also donate a portion of every sale to Mental Health America & B1G1 which is obviously fab and it's nice to know that your purchase helps people in need. Another thing which I found out before buying from Mela is that if you do decide to return your blanket for whatever reason they don't resell their used goods, instead they donate any returned blankets to their housing shelter charity partner.

I've been using my blanket for almost a full month and I feel like I can give you my full review and kind of pros and cons about it now as I know quite a few people were asking me to do a review when I said I was getting one.

Because of my chronic pain issues, I'm usually glued to a hot water bottle or a heating pad of some kind, even in the summer. So prior to buying their weighted blanket I had a look on their FAQs about using heated products near the blanket. It doesn't say anything about hot water bottles but it does say you can use an electric blanket under the weighted blanket but you may get hot. However, in one of the leaflet/guides which come in the box, it says to avoid using direct heat sources as it could damage the glass pellets inside. So it's kind of saying one thing on the website and then something else in the guide which threw me off a bit. I still use my hot water bottle with the blanket but if it's a fresh hot water bottle, I tend to cover it with a cushion just to stop it being in direct contact with the blanket. The blanket is also is noisier than your normal bedding or blanket. I'm not going to lie, it did annoy a bit on the first few days but now I'm kind of used to it. It's kind of a rustly noise, similar to a sleeping bag. 

Onto the pros... I like that the blanket is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, some other weighted blankets which are priced at a similar price, literally look like a sleeping bag and just don't look very nice IMO. I like to try and make my room look and feel super cosy and the cover of the blanket definitely fits into my decor. It's also super soft which adds to the whole cosy vibes too. I do wish you could buy the minky cover that comes with the blanket on its own but apparently, you can't, which I think is a bit weird to be honest because what if you accidentally spill something on it and stain it or if it starts getting a little worn after you've owned the blanket for a while. You can buy other covers to fit the weighted blanket but they are more for the summer as they're lightweight and breathable.

I feel like the blanket has been helping with my sleeping to a certain extent, I still struggle to fall asleep but I sleep for longer amounts of time, I feel more well-rested when I wake up and I find the blanket quite comforting, especially when I'm having a bad day with my pain or anxiety. Talking of my anxiety, I feel like the majority of the time, the blanket helps but there have been a few times when I've been in a bad anxiety spell and I've felt like the blanket is suffocating me a little. So for me personally it's kind of hit and miss. The one thing I'm shocked about is that I think the blanket has been helping my pain a bit. When my pelvic pain is flaring or just a little angry, I tend to get quite bad upper leg pain and it can go from feeling like a heavy, dull thudding ache to feeling like electric shocks and since I've been using the blanket, the leg pain has definitely reduced, even though I have had a couple of bad pelvic pain flares over the past month. It's also completely stopped my restless legs which I get when my anxiety is bad which is great because I always joke that I kick my legs out like a donkey when it's bad. My back pain has also been a tad better recently but I think that's because I've been watching my posture and making sure I rest when I feel I need to.

Overall I do think the blanket is worth it and it has helped me and I think it's been a good investment for my health but if the price is what's putting you off trying a weighted blanket, don't forget to shop around first and see if you kind get it cheaper on Amazon or find a promo code.

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-If a product is marked with an * then it was PR/Gifted to me. This post contains no paid content-
 I recently received my February Roccabox* and I've got to say straight off the bat, it's a good one! Containing 7 products with a value of £80+ the box has a good variety of products to try. Although I'm already familiar with a couple of the products, the box still excited me when I opened it which is always a good sign. So here's what you get inside February's box... 

First up is the SugarBearHair Hair Vitamins* (60 pieces - one month supply) which if you bought on their own they would cost you £23.06 so you're already making a saving by buying February's Roccabox. I have tried SugarBearHair vitamins before and I do think they helped make my hair feel and look healthier, I didn't see a massive difference in how much my hair grew in the first month but I did like them and I feel like it's a good way to make sure you take some vitamins too. They taste so nice because they are berry flavoured so they literally taste like sweets! They're also vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, soya-free and cruelty-free. 

You also get another product from SugarBearHair which is their Luxury Shower Cap RRP £15.34*. It has an adorable print all over with their bear logo, lollipops, sweets, doughnuts and some slogan words. It also has a high-quality waterproof exterior and plush terry lining on the inside which has been added so that any steam and humidity absorbs into in the terry lining instead of damaging your hair. The shower cap is also latex-free and silicone-free which is always good to know and if you don't want/need to use it as a shower cap then you can use it to prevent bedhead hair by wearing it to bed (it has a super comfortable elastic band which keeps it in place) or you can use it when you do a deep conditioning treatment.

I was excited to see the Popmask Starry Eyes Warming Eye Mask RRP £4* in the box as I am already familiar with warming eye masks and I think they are great when you've got a banging headache that won't shift or when you have bad eyestrain. I don't really use them for sleep purposes if I'm being totally honest just because I'd need them every night if I got to used to using them and it would turn into an expensive routine. But I am a fan of warming eye masks in general!

You also get a full size MONUSKIN - Revitalising Moisturiser RRP £29.50* which is aimed at combination skin. It's so nice to see a moisturiser aimed mainly at combination skin in a beauty box because normally any creams/moisturisers in beauty boxes are aimed at either normal skin or dry skin types and my skin is more oily in the t-zone area and normal/dry everywhere else. I've never heard of MONUSKIN before but I'm a big fan of this moisturiser. It smells gorgeous because it contains Cucumber, Elderflower, Mallow and Arnica and it's just a really lightweight formula which hydrates your skin nicely. Love it!

I'm already familiar with Dr. Lipp's Superfood Sweet Potato Pigment RRP £6.99* because I actually already use it, as well as their Elderberry pigment with is more of a plum toned tint. It's a really nice, comfortable glossy lip tint that also hydrates your lips too. You can also build the colour up on your lips by applying a little more tint but I tend to keep it pretty minimal for everyday wear. 

Next up is the Danielle Creations - Lifting Peptide Sheet Mask RRP £1.60* which I haven't actually got around to trying out yet but the mask is apparently all about firming and lifting your skin whilst tackling signs of premature ageing. I definitely need to start using more products for premature ageing and fine lines and wrinkles because I turn 26 in a couple of months and I'm very aware that I'm getting some slight signs of ageing (bit depressing really, isn't it?).

I love that they also included a Teapigs Cold Brew Tea in either Lychee & Rose or Apple & Cucumber* because I actually forgot how much I love cold brew tea. Last year I loved drinking them in the summer as opposed to normal hot tea and this has reignited my love for them. I got the Apple & Cucumber flavour and it's so refreshing and a great way to up your daily water intake too!

Another thing I love about Roccabox is that you are pretty much guaranteed to get some exclusive discounts from some of the brands included in the box. So if you find something you love then you have a discount code at the ready when you repurchase (depending on when the code runs out). Talking of discounts, I also have an exclusive discount code which Roccabox have kindly given me to share with my readers. Use the code KIRSTY20 to get 20% off your first monthly box, making it just £8 +p&p! (this is not an affiliate code).

Are there any products in this month's Roccabox that you like the look of or have tried before? 

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Gameplay Review of Burning Wins *

in , by Kirsty Milward, 28.2.20
-This post is in collaboration-
We all know how many online slot games there are these days. The choice has got to the pint where, in honesty, it can be a bit overwhelming. Themes are more elaborate than ever which, of course, is really exciting if you are an avid player of online gambling titles. Graphics are better than ever and we are living and playing in an era that has seen slot games become well respected video games with their own narratives. But despite all this, quite simply, you cannot beat the classics, and Burning Wins proves this - find out more. 

Burning Wins Summary 

We think that the fact that slot games can such ambitious and thrilling 3D adventures this days, actually plays to the advantage of Burning Wins. The game has very, very simple gameplay and a charming retro feel that brings everything back to basics. With the likes of fruit and bells on the reels, this really is an old school slot game and there is something quite brilliant about that. 
A game for those who want a break from the more modern, all action slot games that we everywhere today, Burning Wins is just some good simple slot game fun. There are just the three reels on offer which, of course, is the original format of a slot game as introduced by the legendary Liberty Bell well over a hundred years ago. You could say that the legendary company are paid tribute to as well, with the bell on the reels playing a key role. 
The graphics are far from flashy but that is very much on purpose, as this game looks more like a classic fruit machine you would find in an arcade, rather than one that you would play on your laptop, tablet or handheld smartphone device. But that said, Burning Wins will work just fine on all three platforms, looking as wonderfully timeless as it does on your desktop screen as it will on your iPhone. 
The betting starts at just 10p and is capped at a big £100, making for a title that will appeal to gamblers of all budgets. There is no progressive jackpot here or any of that, just a simple spin and win style slot game that we are sure you will all appreciate. There are a lot of games released these days but less and less with the so-called classic theme. Burning Wins is one of those and pulls of the theme superbly. 

Playson - Developers of Burning Wins 

If you have ever wondered who it is that makes all of these fancy online slot games, then this is the section for you. The developer is something of an unsung hero of the online gambling game. In reality, these brands are incredibly important to the entire online gambling industry and consistently provide brilliant online games, such as online video slot games, that just seem to get better and better, more and more advance each week and month. 
The developers of this slot game are Playson, an established brand who have been putting out online slot game titles for a while now. They are certainly capable of working on some really ambitious games and producing titles that boat superb graphics, themes and original layouts. But that said, Playson’s stance in the development game means that they can also put out a classic themes slot like this one and Burning Wins embodies a different side to their brand. 
An appreciation of the history of gambling and slot games is obviously present in Burning Wins, and this comes together with a really user friendly interface that many people are loving to play with. The graphics are simple yet well done, with the hot rod style flames marking the top of the screen. As ever from Playson and as already mentioned, Burning Wins is available across all major platforms. Not only this, but the game looks great and plays just as smoothly as ever accords tablet devices, smartphone devices of desktop devices like laptops. 

Playing Burning Wins  Assuming you have played a fruit machine before at some point in your life, you will know exactly how to play Burning Wins. It is the epitome of an old school slot machine or fruit machine, the sort we are used to seeing in old arcades and casinos. With just the three reels, it is really simple to play and easy to understand, harking back to the days when gambling games were just more simple. 

While simple does not always mean better, there is something to really savour about the humble nature of Burning Wins. You have 5 pay lines to work with so do not expect any wins out of the blue. What you see is what you get with this retro styled game, right down to the fiery animations and graphics that the game takes it’s name from. 
If you prefer a slot game to have all kinds of features, this might not be the game for you. But for us, this title offers a welcome break from the modern, more innovative slot game and gives us warm feeling of nostalgia, which is always welcome. Look out for the likes of lemons, oranges, grapes and bells on the reels, all offering differed sized wins that will hopefully make your time spent spinning worthwhile.  

Burning Wins Slot Bonus Features and Free Spins  In keeping with the old school, almost minimal theme that is on offer here in Burning Wins, there are no special features to report. This could be seen as a limitation of Burning Wins but again, what you see is what you get with this title and if you want a slot game with lots of bonus features and mini games, we are sure you will not have to look too far to find one. 

Verdict on Burning Wins  If you like your slot games simple and your wins big, then Burning Wins is the slot game for you. A true classic both in terms of looks and gameplay, there is a lot to enjoy about the retro slot game.

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-This post is in collaboration with Greensleeves-
It’s more important than ever to look after the environment right now. Eco-friendliness is on everyone’s minds, and the more opportunity we have to protect nature and encourage more people to act on the global environmental crisis, the better! Thankfully, there are endless ways we can work together to do our bit, and the best thing about it is that it can start in the comfort of your own garden.

To give you some simple ways to create an eco-friendly garden, I’ve teamed up with Greensleeves, lawn care experts, who are committed to their environmental policy, and understand just how important it is to care for the environment as much as possible.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.   

There are so many ways in which you can reduce the amount of harmful products you use in your garden, reuse things to save on waste, and use recycled materials in as many areas of your garden as possible. These materials can not only help the effect we’re having on the environment, but can also release a bit of creative flair from you too.
  • Old materials like tin baths and buckets, and even old scaffolding boards can be put to good use, creating some personalised flower beds or creating a certain theme within your garden. Plant pots and garden furniture can now be made out of recycled materials to ensure harmful plastics and other items aren’t littering our planet.
  • Eco materials can help to reduce your carbon footprint in more ways than one. For example, green materials can be sourced locally, and the creation and production of these materials create fewer air miles too. 
  • Collecting rain water using a water butt is a really effective way of reusing water naturally to water your garden, instead of using the water from your taps.

Cut back on the chemicals.

Unnatural chemicals, even though they may work wonders on your garden, do come at a price. A lot of garden chemicals used to get rid of common garden pests or weeds can remain active in your garden for months, and their toxic vapours can not only harm the environment over time, but can also cause illness if inhaled by you or your pets. 

There are a number of ways in which you can naturally remove pests and weeds from your garden, without contaminating your lawn and flowerbeds with harmful chemicals:
  • Use strong jets of water to get rid of any flies or other insects from your lawn. You can also keep an eye out for young caterpillars and get rid of them before they start to grow and become a problem.
  • Cover growing weeds with plastic sheeting to weigh them down and prevent them from growing further.
  • Spread compost or shredded bark around your plants to prevent weeds from going.

Grow eco-friendly plants.

Instead of building walls, choose to grow a hedge or rows of plants. Not only will this contribute to the eco-friendliness of your garden, but also gives wildlife areas to nest or keep safe from predators. It’s also important to grow plants and shrubs where they’ll be happiest. For example, in plenty of sunlight, your plants will thrive, and with a little water, they can look after themselves. Do a little research into where your chosen plants will grow the best, and you’ll see a positive difference in how they look.

Make your own compost.

A good compost is a healthy compost, and improving your soil can be easier than you think. Making your own compost can be done by recycling green waste, like lawn clippings, hedge trimmings, vegetable peelings and fallen leaves. It’s completely free to make and over time, you’ll have a good amount of compost to use in your garden.

There are so many ways to create an eco-friendly garden.

Your garden is your own space, so it makes sense to make it look its best whilst also keeping it as environmentally friendly as possible. Do you have any clever ways to create an eco-friendly garden? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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-This post is in collaboration with Millercare-
Travelling never used to be a problem before my chronic pain started back in 2018 but now I find it hard to travel in a car if I'm travelling any distance over around 30 miles which is crazy, considering I was always up for spontaneous or planned days out when you're stuck in the car for hours on end before I became unwell. Now I find it quite draining and uncomfortable to be stuck in a car for even an hour and obviously that affects how I feel once I get out of the car too. So it's really knocked me back and makes me question what I feel I can push myself to do in general. However this year I've set myself a couple of goals and I've also thought about some things which could help me if I'm travelling further than around the 30-mile radius I can just about put up with. I'm not saying I'm going to jump on a plane and travel to a warmer climate any time soon but there are definitely a few places that I want to try and visit this year within the UK. Most of them are places which I used to love visiting before I got ill. So here are my "goals" and a couple of the places I'm hoping to visit this year.

My first goal is that I need to be realistic with myself and know that I'm not going to be able to walk around or do as much as I used to before I got unwell. But even if I get to the town/city I want to visit and walk around even half the amount as I used to, it's still better than nothing! It's places like Matlock, Bakewell and Manchester which I used to love visiting a couple of years ago, where I know I may now struggle to walk around now either because of my pain or the fear of flaring but the plus side is that there are loads of little coffee shops and things where I can go if I need to rest for a short spell. But when I know I've done enough for one day then I need to stop and go home and not overdo it. 

I also really need to make sure I give myself time to recover days after I've done a "big day out" as I like to call them haha. I'm a bit silly sometimes because I don't let my body properly recover if I've done something which is quite draining or could/has made my pain flare and then I just make myself more unwell for a longer amount of time. It's almost as if I'm punishing my body for not letting me do things I used to be able to do. It's kind of strange to be honest.
I'm also looking into mobility aids such as Lightweight Wheelchairs for travelling which could really help me when I'm in a big town or city. It also means I'd be able to push myself a little more and try and travel further distances because I know if I do travel for a longer amount of time then I know I don't have to worry about trying to walk around if my pain is flaring, as long as whoever I'm with is happy to push me around in the wheelchair. Obviously, with it being a lightweight wheelchair, it means it'd be easy to carry around in the car as well as being easy to take out and put back in the car after using it too.

I think the biggest "travel" goal for me this year is to visit Chester Zoo, which I know might sound really trivial to you if you are an abled person. But it's a big place and I haven't been in years. I just think it's a good goal to aim for because I really want to go anyway, I was hoping to go last year but I couldn't but that was mainly because of other things that were going on in my life as well as my fear of flaring taking over. I also love The Secret Life of the Zoo and every time I watch it, it just makes me want to visit ASAP. I'd definitely need some sort of mobility aid like a wheelchair to get around though so I think it depends on my confidence using a wheelchair too. But I really hope I can manage it this Summer!

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-If a product is marked with an * then it was PR/Gifted to me. This post contains no paid content-
Too Cool For School are a brand I'm already familiar with. Their Egg Mousse Body Oil is actually one of my fave body care products and I literally can't be without it! So I was really excited to be sent some of the products from their latest range Caviar Lime. The Caviar Lime range is 100% vegan and has ingredients sourced from Australia. The range focuses on hydrating, brightening, exfoliating and resurfacing your skin with 9 types of vitamin complexes and 6-layered hyaluronic acids. 

I've been using three products from the line up which are the Hydra Vita Drop Essence RRP £29.99*, Hydra Eye Treatment RRP £24.99* and the Hydra Bubble Toner RRP £22.99* which are all available to buy from Boots.

The Hydra Bubble Toner* was definitely the product I was most excited to try because it's a bit different to your bog-standard toner. It also claims to have brightening and anti-wrinkle properties which I'm definitely into right now. According to the info on the box, the foaming toner contains 55% caviar lime which helps to smooth the skin texture as well as moisturising the skin too. So I do like that it contains a good amount of the main product and what the range is all about. Some brands say a product is all about X ingredient and then the product only contains a small percentage of the "it" ingredient which really annoys me because it's basically like selling a lie if you get what I mean? Also as expected the Caviar Lime range all smells citrusy which gets another thumbs up from me. It definitely helps to remove any remnants of cleanser which is great as I find sometimes if I don't throughly remove my cleanser then I sometimes get tiny little spots around my hairline (nice!). It also leaves your skin feeling super refreshed too. I have been enjoying the toner and I could see myself picking it up again in the future.

Next is the Hydra Eye Treatment* which is described as an intense eye moisturiser and I definitely agree with that. It is a bit different to what I usually opt for as I tend to use more eye gels or serums as they're more lightweight and sink into the skin quicker too. However, I do like the Hydra Eye Treatment, it isn't super heavy and thick but it's heavier than my usual eye products so it does take a little longer to sink in. So I've been using it as my night eye cream and I do think it's helped to hydrate my skin and brighten my under eyes a little. I also think it's priced really well for the amount you get (30ml). 

The last product I've been trying out is the Hydra Vita Drop Essence* which is a vitamin capsule serum. It's a watery kind of serum so a little goes a long way and they claim that the serum will replenish dry skin and add radiance and moisture. I can imagine this being nice to use in the summer as it's really cooling and refreshing but obviously super lightweight too so it doesn't take a long time to sink into your skin and get to work. It's definitely something I need to use for a longer amount of time before I make my definite mind up on it but so far, I do like it and it's good if my skin feels like it needs some extra moisture but I don't want to reach for something that feels super heavy on my skin.

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-If a product is marked with a * then it was PR/Gifted to me. This post contains no paid content-
If you're a regular reader of my blog then you're probably used to my Latest in Beauty reviews and how fab I think they are by now. They kindly sent me their latest collection box which is The LiB Beauty Resolutions 2020 box. The box is all about starting afresh with your routine in the new year, being more conscious when it comes to beauty and investing wisely as well as making sure we take time out for ourselves. It contains 14 products which are worth over £152 but you can get everything for just £28! Here's what's inside the box and my thoughts on the products I've tried so far...

First up is the Kiehls Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque* which I was excited to see in the box as I really want to try some more products from Kiehls this year, particularly their skincare. The 14ml pot is a nice travel size version and a great way to give the mask a proper try before committing to buying the full size. I've used the mask twice so far and really liked it. It definitely makes your skin feel as though it's had a deep cleanse without leaving it feeling stripped. 

You also get a Sport FX Blend & Go Sponge* in the box but I haven't actually tried it out yet just because I'm more inclined to use a makeup brush over a sponge just because I feel like I get a better finish usually. However, I will give this a try soon and either talk about it in an upcoming "New In Beauty" kind of blog post or on my insta stories.

The Kind Natured Shea and Aloe Cleansing Face Wash* has been a really nice, gentle morning cleanser to use over the past couple weeks. It's vegan-friendly and cruelty-free and it's got a subtle scent of shea butter. I'm intrigued by the brand and definitely interested in trying out a couple more products by them soon.

You also get a Patchology Keep Smiling Lip Gel* lip mask which aims to soothe your lips and help you unwind. It's also infused with lavender petals and sweet violet aromatherapy. I haven't actually got around to trying it yet but it sounds lovely!

The Slow Ageing Essentials Facial Essence* is described as a pure and potent elixir with 3 active ingredients systems. It says to use it daily for best results but I think for me it's a bit too much for me to use daily. But I have used it a few times and it leaves my skin feeling nice and soft and looking super glowy. 

I'm a bit on the fence about the Ashanti Cosmetics 15 Shades of Pink Pomegranate Face Cream* because it smells so nice and it claims to work well on dark spots and acne but I'm not sure if my skin agrees. It's quite a rich and almost-greasy formula and on their website it says that it's for dry/extra dry and normal skin and nothing about oily/acne-prone skin like my own. So I'm just not too sure about it. I think I'll probably end up passing it on to someone with the right skin type for it.

I haven't tried the Senspa Sleep Therapy Bath Soak* yet because right now as I'm writing this, we're dealing with a broken boiler which has been turned off by the plumber so we haven't got any hot water until the right part arrives because the manufacturer messed up. It's been such an ordeal over the past week and driving us all crazy. But I can't wait to have a proper pamper session and use this as it smells so nice! It contains organic lavender and organic oils of bergamot patchouli and geranium.

Because of the boiler situation, I also haven't tried the Biovene Barcelona Shampoo-In-A-Bar* yet just in case it doesn't agree with my hair and leaves it feeling dry because my hair wash options are quite limited right now lol. You receive either Citrus Dream or Pink Heaven, I got Citrus Dream and it really does smell dreamy! I'm still yet to find a shampoo bar that works well for my hair and doesn't strip my hair dye out so fingers crossed this is the one I need in my life.

The Murad Renewing Eye Cream* is quite a thick eye cream which isn't usually my jam but it really does work to help "lift" your under-eye area and sort out any dark under-eye circles! However, I checked out the price for the full size and it's £65 for 15ml which I definitely can't afford to buy on the regular which is a shame. I'll just stick to my Transformulas Eye Wakeup Serum which works just as well, isn't as heavy with it being a serum-like formula and is more affordable.

You really can't go wrong with Burt's Bees lip balms, they're definitely my go-to when it comes to picking up an affordable lip balm that does its job well. Inside the Beauty Resolutions box, you get a Burt's Bees Lip Balm in Wild Cherry* which is a flavour I've actually not tried before. I'm currently using their Coconut and Pear Lip Balm* which I love as well as the Milk Makeup KUSH Lip Balm which I talked about in this recent blog post.

You also get the Little Butterfly London Dewdrops at Dawn Body Lotion* which is actually an organic body moisturiser for babies. However, because of its gentle formula, it means it's also suitable for dry, sensitive and eczema-prone skin. It's not super thick and heavy, so it dries down pretty quickly and it also doesn't really have a scent either. I'm definitely going to reach for this when I have an eczema flare which I usually get on my arms and elbow area and see how it weighs up against Lush's Dream Cream which I usually use.

I'm already a big fan of Feather & Down products and I always have a couple of their pillow mists in all of the time. I use both their original Sweet Dreams Pillow Spray as well as their Breathe Well Pillow Spray (which works really well if you have a cold as it really does help to unblock your nose and helps to settle that fuzzy head feeling too). So it was nice to see a travel-size version of their Sweet Dreams Pillow Spray* in the box which I'll be adding to my Feather & Down stash haha.

I've been using the LEBON Rhythm Is Love Whitening Toothpaste in Ylang Ylang, Yuzu and Mint flavour* recently and I actually really like it. I usually just use Sensodyne toothpaste as I have quite sensitive teeth and I find their toothpaste work best for me. But the LEBON toothpaste has definitely helped to whiten my teeth a little in the short amount of time I've been using it and the subtle flavour has been a nice change because I'm used to a super minty toothpaste usually. I'm currently using both because I do feel like I still need to use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth too and the LEBON one is more focused on whitening and not sensitivity.

Lastly is the Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment* which I used pretty much right away when I got the box because I've been wanting to try some products from Living Proof for a while. I found the mask to work okay but it didn't blow my socks off or anything. I feel like I get just as good a result using my go-to Lee Stafford Keep It Clean hair mask which actually smells nicer too.

Another reason why I love Latest in Beauty boxes is that inside the information leaflet you get exclusive discounts/promotional offers from a lot of the brands featured in the box. So if you find a new favourite you will probably find a discount code or some sort of deal for the product(s) too. You can check out the LiB Beauty Resolutions 2020 box and more of their collection boxes here.
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Do podcasts help you get through the day? As the world of radio declines, podcasts are stepping in to take over. This listening trend is booming, and more people than ever are putting on their headphones or tuning into their home’s smart speaker to get their podcast fix. When surveyed, 7.1 million Britons said that they’d listened to a podcast within the last month. This may seem like a lot, but we had nothing on the respondents from South Korea, who had the highest listening rate of 58%, or the United States, who were fifth with 33%. 
When discussing the power of podcasts, Ian Macrae, Ofcom's Director of Market Intelligence said: “Podcasts are transforming the ways people listen to audio content, just as on-demand video is changing how people watch television. It's fantastic to see how UK radio broadcasters, as well as newspapers and other media companies, are embracing podcasting and offering more choice about what we listen to than we’ve ever had before.”
The BBC for one has embraced the power of the podcast — out of all the podcast producers it has been found to have the highest reach. Organisations like the BBC, as well as small independent producers, are constantly pushing out interesting shows covering a wide variety of genres. Whether you’re a big corporation or you’re just starting out, as long as you have ambition, branding, or square business cards, you can get your name out there. What’s more, there are many genres you can choose from! In a recent survey, Ofcom found that the genre most listened to was ‘entertainment’ (57%), followed by ‘comedy’ (54 percent), ‘discussion’ (53%), ‘current affairs’ (49%), ‘sport’ (41%), ‘science and culture’ (39%), ‘politics’ (39%), ‘hobbies’ (35%), ‘TV and film’ (35%), and science and technology (33%). 
Each of these categories has seen trailblazers, leading the way into 2020. In May of last year, the British Podcast Awards were held to honour those shows that were racing ahead in listenership and interesting content. Paving the way in each genre, here are the podcasts that we were most interested in during 2019:
Best Arts & Culture Podcast:
“Have You Heard George’s Podcast?” — George the Poet

Not only did George the Poet’s epic podcast take home the award for ‘Best Arts & Culture Podcast’, but it also took home four gold awards, two silver awards, and the podcast of the year award. Maybe the success of this podcast is that it has something for everyone. Made up from news, poetry, storytelling, and cultural observations, this podcast keeps it fresh and intriguing.   

Best Comedy Podcast:
“Dear Joan & Jericha” — Julia Davis and Vicki Pepperdine

Successfully taking the gold for best comedy podcast, Dear Joan and Jericha will have you in stitches. The agony aunt parody is almost two convincing, and the cringe-inducing line that it walks will have you wince one second and laugh out loud the next. Absurd, deranged, and always funny, this podcast has set the comedy standard for 2020.

Best Current Affairs Podcasts:
“The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Podcast” — the BBC

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the BBC’s Grenfell Tower Inquiry Podcast topped the charts in the news and current affairs category. Both urgent and necessary, this podcast presents the facts and endeavours to present the answers that the entirety of the UK is demanding. This podcast is a moving journalistic triumph and sets the bar high for investigatory journalism podcasts going forward. 

Best family podcast:
“Surrogacy: A Family Frontier” — BBC Radio 5 Live 

If you’re looking for a moving podcast that will challenge your perceptions, go and give ‘Surrogacy: A Family Frontier’ a listen. Made up of a collage of personal stories, interviews, and anecdotes, this podcast is thought-provoking and artfully executed.  

Best true crime Podcast: 
“Case Notes” Classic FM

A true crime podcast with a twist, Classic FM’s Case Notes sets out to investigate historic crimes that have some relation to the world of music. Taking a look back through the most infamous and bloodthirsty musicians of all time, this podcast shows that we are now looking for a new and unusual angle when it comes to true crime podcasts. 
It’s official — the standard has been set. As we strive forward int 2020, our ears will demand only the most intriguing, hilarious, or informative podcasts. With more budding producers and presenters every year, we are likely to see many more innovative shows competing for this year’s prestigious awards. 

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