FairyLoot Unboxing and Review – January

I absolutely loved the January FairyLoot box, completely obsessed! Couldn’t be more of a contrast to the other book subscription box I received in January.

FairyLoot is a bookish subscription box, if you saw my post about the December box you’ll know about it but in case you didn’t… In the box you get a book and bookish items relating to a theme. January’s theme was ‘talk faerie to me’ and the box cost £32.95 including shipping to the UK.

FairyLoot January 2018

The first this I saw was this gorgeous cushion case designed by Evie Bookish! I know there is a lot of Sarah J Maas merchandise out there and some people are tiring of it but I’m not! (potentially because I only read all her books for the first time last year…)

Continuing the Sarah J Maas theme, there was also these gorgeous Aelin and Rowan prints by Diana Worak (I can’t find any etsy or anything to link).

Feyre and Rhysand FairyLoot magnetic bookmarks

I also got my first magnetic bookmarks from Dreamy and Co. These Feyre and Rhysand bookmarks are so cute! I don’t know if I’ll end up using them but they look SO adorable on my bookcase… that’s what they’re for, right?

bookish quotes

This is the other side of the Aelin and Rowan prints. These sides were created by Stella’s Bookish Art and I definitely prefer them. I just think they’re so beautifully done and I really love the quotes chosen.

Faerieland Colouring Book

Next up was a colouring book?! A whole colouring book? It’s from Michael O’Mara and is so detailed! It contains all kinds of different mythical creatures and I genuinely can’t wait to sit down and start colouring it in!

There was also an apple scented Seelie lipbalm from Geeky Clean. You can’t really go wrong with a nice lipbalm and the fact it ties into so many different books is pretty special I think.

Finally for the bookish items, there was a Prince Cardan candle from Meraki Candles. I really love scented candles, especially ones that link into books I’ve read or am reading. I did mean to burn this candle whilst I was reading the book but I completely forgot… Maybe if/when I re-read it!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I saw this book all over bookstagram and had been about to pick it up – so it was lucky this box arrived before I did that! Whilst I was in love with the cover (and the little print that came with the book in my box) I wasn’t initially wowed by the book itself.

The Cruel Prince follows Jude and her two sisters as they are taken into the world of Faerie. Jude is human and struggles with knowing what to do and finding her place in a world she shouldn’t be occupying in the way she is.

I found it to be another book that is setting the scene for what is to come and all the action happens in the last few chapters. Whilst I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing and it does work to an extent, I am getting tired of it.

I also found the character progression quite fast. I’m not quite sure how long the book is supposed to be set over but I felt like Jude progressed from seeming fairly childish, to making complex, difficult and relatively horrendous decisions very quickly. I don’t want to spoil anything but there is also a romantic trope that is tired in real life, let alone fiction.

Having said all these negative things though, once I settled into the book I absolutely loved it. I found the writing rich and full of details (not too much though) and this drew me into the world. When describing the various ballgowns I felt like they were there in front of me and I fell completely in love with them, though not necessarily the balls that went with them!

I really enjoyed the illustrations within the book, I loved Judes ballsy character and I NEED to know what happens next – what more can you ask for?

Have you tried a bookish subscription box? What would your favourite item out of this box have been?

xo Fleur xo

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Disappointing Products

I have no idea the last time I wrote a disappointing product post, or if I’ve ever written one. With the number of products I had sitting around unloved I knew it was time to write one, especially as they’re probably my favourite kind of post to read!

First up is the COLAB Dry Shampoo in Tropical – honestly I wanted to love this dry shampoo. It smells great, doesn’t leave reside and the packaging is super cute! It just doesn’t do much for my hair… I think this would work really well if your hair doesn’t get too oily, or if I was going out in the evening and didn’t have time to wash my hair again.

Next is the Barry M Showgirl Extra Lengthening Black Mascara which again, does nothing for me. I just can’t get this onto my lashes! I try and try and there’s just nothing there. It is great for separating out my lashes if I’ve applied too much of a clumpy mascara but apart from that it’s useless for me.

I should never have bought LUSH Dark Angels as it’s just not right for my skin. I thought it was a mask but it’s actually a pretty intensive scrub. I cannot use this on my face without feeling like I’m doing damage. I can use this on my body but the charcoal means it’s hard to use without making a very obvious mess, actually even using this on my face made a complete mess!

The Maybelline Eraser Eye isn’t cruelty free, so I wouldn’t be repurchasing it anyway but I don’t understand the hype. I did eventually get it to work for me but it’s so sheer! I had to pack so much on and then lightly buff it out with a concealer brush to get an even coverage. I tried using it with a sponge and that just soaked it all up, I tried using my fingers and it went blotchy… Not a product for me.

I don’t really understand the Spectrum B04 brush. I thought it would be perfect for buffing out eyeshadow above the crease but it’s too thin for that… I have been using it to apply my inner corner highlight by just dipping the longest hairs into the product, so it’s not going to waste. It’s a lovely quality brush but I have no idea what I could usefully use it for.

The Superdrug Protecting Heat Styling Spray almost ruined my hair. I started using this and I couldn’t work out why my hair was getting drier and drier. Turns out this is mainly alcohol and completely strips my hair of any oils! It’ll be great on any days where I want loads of texture but there’s no way I’d use this every day, or even weekly.

Finally the Superdrug Superfruits Exfoliating Mask – I was given this for Christmas, which was lovely. Unfortunately this seems to irritate my skin, I couldn’t even keep it on for 5 minutes. I think I’ll be able to use these up on my arms as they have less sensitive skin, which will be nice in summer – I can be super glowy everywhere! I’ve loved almost all the other Superdrug foil masks, so it’s just frustrating that this one hasn’t worked out!

Do you love any of these? Am I using them wrong?

xo Fleur xo

My tips for reading more

I’m writing this having finished 26 books in January alone. So I clearly read a lot. A more normal (and healthy amount) for me to read is 40 books in three months, that’s still a lot though.

I had been thinking about writing this blog post and when Lima asked me on Instagram how I manage to get through so many books and if I had any tips for reading more, I knew it was time to sit down and get this written! Also, how cute is the print by Jemma (Dorkface Shop), she also has the cutest bookmarks that you all totally need to help encourage you to read!

Dorkface book print

1. Only pick up books you really want to read. This sounds stupid but if it’s not calling your name, you’re not going to read it and it might stop you reading at all. You may want to read xyz to improve yourself and/or because it’s a ‘classic’ but you don’t have to.

2. Leading on from my first point. You can read more than one book at once. If you really want to read a certain book but you keep putting it off, or it’s stopping you reading. Promise yourself to read a certain number of chapters a week of the tougher book and read other books alongside it!

3. This links into the first two points but pick up easier books. Obviously we all have different tastes and maybe classics are your jam. For me though, I read a lot of young adult (YA) books because they’re easy and fun books, they’re written for a younger audience so they have to be faster paced and engaging. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile. They often discuss difficult topics and are very real. I also read a lot of genre fiction, which generally gets slated by literary types but is actually awesome. You are allowed to read for enjoyment and crime, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance… they’re all valid. Read whatever makes you happy.

4. However, don’t read too much of the same thing. I do read mainly YA Fantasy at the moment and there are points where books end up feeling too similar. So I make sure I mix in different kinds of book to keep myself interested.

5. Set aside time for reading. It doesn’t have to be much but if you aim to read for half an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays for example, that will add up and you might find yourself wanting to read more. It’s hard to start reading but once you’ve started and found books you love, you’ll want to read more.

4. Read eBooks and audiobooks. I love eBooks because even when I don’t have my kindle, I can read on my computer or on my phone. This means if, for example, I’m bored in a lunch break at work, I can pick up my book, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Audiobooks mean I can listen whilst walking, whilst driving places, at the gym… and again they’ll be on my phone so I can access them anywhere, whenever I want to. Audiobooks are a perfectly valid way to access writing, don’t let anyone tell you differently.

orangeboy patrice lawrence

5. Read more BAME/PoC authors. This is going to sound really awful and that’s because it is – they’re held to a higher standard than white authors to be published. So it’s more likely to be fantastic. It’s also a different voice, I know for one I have read enough fantasy written by white males to last me a lifetime and I’m bored of it. Also read more by PoC/BAME authors anyway because supporting diversity in writing and publishing is what we NEED.

6. Put a book down if you’re not enjoying it. You can always pick it up again at another time but if you’re really not enjoying a book, don’t force yourself to continue reading it.

7. Keep a note of books you want to read. I use Goodreads for this because I find it quick and easy but there are so many ways to do this. I also screenshot books that look interesting and I have a collection on Instagram where I save any interesting looking books. This way, when I finish a book, it’s really easy to find a new book to read.

8. Tell people about what you’re reading, there are people out there (like me) who are interested! There’s groups like the Blogger Book Nook, you’re more than welcome to add me on Goodreads, even tweeting about or putting the book you’re currently reading in your Instagram stories can be fun! Having conversations about books makes them so much MORE.

9. Skim read boring bits. I don’t love massive descriptive passages for example and I will happily skim read them. Also, in Lord of the Rings I hated the Sam and Frodo sections – so I’d skim read them. It means I can still enjoy and progress with a book that I might otherwise have got stuck on or put down. People do shame me for this but I’ve happily read and loved really gripping descriptions. I’m just choosing to make my reading experience better for me.

vogue the essex serpent sarah perry

Do you find reading difficult? What do you do to read more? Or are you trying to read less?

xo Fleur xo

Current Favourites – February 2018

I’m finally getting round to writing another current favourites post! My last one was back in September, so it was about time I wrote another one…

Certifeye The Tropical Wonders Palette

First up is The Tropical Wonders palette from Certifeye. At £30 for 18 cruelty free and vegan eyeshadows, I’ve been so impressed. In fact I should probably get round to doing a separate review! The shades are pigmented, easy to blend and just all round gorgeous colours.

I’ve also fallen in love with the Kat Von D lock-it concealer. I only have a sample but I will certainly be purchasing the full size. It’s creamy, full-coverage, easy to apply, stays put all day, once set doesn’t crease or move at all… It’s everything I could want!

The Essence Colour Intensifying Eyeshadow Base is great. It’s ridiculously cheap and just works. I apply it using my ring finger and then buff setting powder over the top and it keeps my eyeshadow looking bright and fresh for at least 12 hours.

I reviewed the Nanshy brushes recently and my favourite is the Blush & Bronze. I use this for contouring and bronzing and it’s the best brush I’ve used for that. It’s super soft and blends products SO well.

Nanshy, Spectrum and Real Techniques Brushes

I’m sure the NYX Micro Brow Pencil was in my last favourites and it’s back again. I mainly use it for filling in the front of my brow and the tail because I need a denser product for the bulk of my brows. Even so, I can’t believe I’m still on the same pencil I bought back in July.

The Spectrum A12 brush is a recent purchase and I couldn’t love it more. I was struggling with applying a wash of colour under my eye and this brush is perfect for that purpose. It’s also great for blending out eyeliner on the lower lashline and for applying inner corner highlight. I think I need a few more!

I’ve had the Real Techniques contour brush for years now and I’ve finally found a daily use for it. I use this to apply powder under my eyes and it’s exactly the right size and denseness.

Favourites Superdrug Korres The Body Shop Essence Urban Decay

I was given the Korres Basil Lemon Body Milk for Christmas and it’s so nice! It’s a fresh fragrance that helps wake me up and it’s gloriously creamy. It still sinks in quickly which is nice.

The Superdrug Charcoal Facemask has been my skins saviour during the winter. Somehow this manages to get rid of spots before the properly emerge AND helps shrink the ones that are already rearing their ugly heads. It doesn’t irritate my skin, even when I was using it daily. It also seems to be lasting forever, which I’m not complaining about.

I’ve had the Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray for long enough that the packaging no longer looks anything like that. I’ve recently got back into using it though and it’s great! I wouldn’t say it stops my oil coming through but it does make my skin look utterly flawless and keeps my foundation and concealer looking perfect all day long.

The Superdrug Calm Skin Hydrating 2-in-1 Serum & Moisturiser is definitely improving my skin. In fact the items I have from this range are all great – I should probably review them properly at some point, shouldn’t I? It’s just a great product; keeps my fine lines hidden, helps reduce my skin texture, makes me feel glowy…

I’ve already reviewed The Body Shop Matte Clay Skin Clarifying Foundation and I’ve seen plenty of other people raving about this foundation. It’s cruelty free and vegan, it’s helping improve my skin whilst giving me flawless looking skin on a daily basis. What’s not to love (apart from the poor shade range).

Finally the Essence Volume Stylist Lash Extension Mascara this could genuinely be a high end mascara. Unfortunately I ran out and I’m using up a sample of a high end mascara at the moment and it isn’t as good as this was. It gave me almost false lashes out of a tube. It was easy to apply, didn’t clump and stayed put all day. It did run out quickly but considering I could buy 3 tubes for less than the price of a regular drugstore mascara… I’ll just buy backups!

What are your current favourites (definitely link me if you have a recent favourites post!)?

xo Fleur xo

Book Box Club Unboxing and Review – January

If you saw my post unboxing and reviewing the December Book Box Club parcel, you’ll know I absolutely loved it. I was so impressed with both the books and I really enjoyed the rest of the contents!

The Book Box Club is a bookish subscription box where you receive a recently published book and book themed items based around a theme. It costs £27.99 a month and the theme for January was Geeks Unite.

The Fandom Anna Day

The book this month was The Fandom by Anna Day, which I’ll review below!

The box also contained the Fangirling candle from Bookworm Candles and Crafts, this candle smells just like snow fairy from LUSH. It also has cute glitter pieces on the top!

There was also a knitted bracelet – that now i’m looking further isn’t a bracelet at all! It was supposed to be wrapped around the candle. Which makes the candle so much cuter! It could definitely be worn as a bracelet if you wanted, if that’s your style.

The Book Box Club

Next up is this tote bag from Newton and the Apple. I normally love a good tote bag but honestly, I find this one a little cringe…  Also, it’s black. I’m fussy okay. I’m sure I’ll get use out of it but more as a bag for my trainers than my books :/

Then there were nail wraps from DinkiBelle which ummm, this isn’t a beauty box?! I may give them a try but they’re not really my style. Maybe I’ll give them a go if I do go to YALC or Comic con… They’d be cute for that!

There was also a fridge magnet with a quote from Simon Lewis and I definitely appreciate seeing Shadowhunters items! When I get round to putting up our magnetic noticeboard, it’ll be going on there.

The Book Box Club 2018 calendar

Finally there was a 2018 calendar, with 12 illustrations created by the winners of the Book Box Club competition. It is really cute and well made but out of the 12 pictures, five are Harry Potter themed and two of those are of Hermione. I know ‘everyone’ loves Harry Potter but I don’t and it’s just excessive. I think a decent mix of different fandoms would have been preferable.

I already owned the other candles and nail varnish pictured with the calendar, I just wanted to get a cute photo!

So, overall I was a little disappointed with this months box, though a lot of that is due to personal preference issues. It may also be because the December box was so good. I did love the illustration by Carmen Sedlaczek below though and I’ll definitely be purchasing items from her etsy store!

Clary Fairchild Shadowhunters Carmen Sedlaczek

The Fandom by Anna Day

Continuing the negative theme… I didn’t love this book. I’m sorry guys!

The Fandom follows Violet, her brother and friends as they attend comic con and are somehow sucked into the world of their favourite book. They find themselves having to try and keep the plot on track, so that they can go home when the end is reached.

This is such an awesome concept but I didn’t engage with the characters and I found the writing difficult. If you follow my Instagram stories you’ll know I struggled when Violet woke up and described the room around her as ochre – just what? She isn’t an artist? Who uses the word ochre in their daily life? I don’t want to be mean but it just wasn’t up to the standard of writing I’m used to and I do mainly read YA. It also had a massive overuse of the word ‘canon’ which I’ve seen other reviewers flagging up.

The book definitely improved from halfway through but I only got that far because I knew I wanted to review it for this post. I think this book might be good for younger teenage readers who are truly invested in fanfic. It does touch on hanging and sexual assault though, so potentially not too young…

What do you think of this box? Have you read The Fandom?

xo Fleur xo

 

 

Review: Nanshy Gobsmack Glamorous Brush Collection

I was lucky enough to win this Nanshy Gobsmack Glamorous Brush Collection in Onyx Black in a giveaway last year! I’ve been loving them so much that I thought I should probably review them, especially as it’s a company I haven’t heard many people talking about – yet they’re so good.

Nanshy is a cruelty free brand (approved by peta) and these brushes are made using synthetic fibres and are 100% vegan. Whilst this information is written on their packaging, I can’t find it in any of the online listings which is frustrating!

Nanshy Gobsmack Glamorous Brush Collection

The set includes five brushes that are all for face makeup – foundation, concealer, blush and bronzer. As someone who prefers brushes to sponges, this is absolutely perfect! They are all super soft brushes, they don’t shed all over my face, they’re easy to clean and they clean well.

My favourite brush is the A02 Blush & Bronze brush. It makes applying contour so simple. I use the edge of the bristles to give myself some cheekbones and then whole brush to bronze my temples, nose and generally the edges of my face. Unlike any brush I’ve used for contouring before, it is the perfect size and shape.

I love the P02 Conceal Perfector for concealer. It doesn’t soak up too much product and is the perfect shape to gently pat in under-eye concealer. It does seem massive for concealer but it works so well! I also like it for using around my nose.

Nanshy Gobsmack Glamorous Brush Collection Onyx Black

The F02 Flawless Foundation brush does exactly that – it applies foundation so smoothly and easily. Plus, if I want to add more coverage to certain areas it manages this seamlessly. For liquid foundation, it’s the best brush I’ve used.

I haven’t used the FA02 Angled Airbrush much, though it is still a gorgeous brush. I find it is perfect for applying cream blush (but I rarely use cream blush) and it’d be great for applying foundation. I don’t necessarily feel like I need both the F02 and FA02 brushes but if you do wear more cream products, having both would be perfect!

Finally the R02 Buffed Base brush, I really like this brush! I do feel like it’s supposed to be used for a foundation or cream product and it would definitely work beautifully for either. I prefer to use it for highlight though. I use the edge of the bristles to apply highlighter directly to my cheek bone, then the super soft top to buff it in. It makes my cheekbones look luminous and rather than a defined line of highlight it gives a gorgeous glow.

Nanshy 5 piece Gobsmack Glamorous Brush Collection

Overall I’m so happy with this set, the only brush I personally don’t get much use out of is the FA02 brush. The others I use daily and if you use more cream/liquid products than me I’m sure you’d find them all useful. I’m very tempted to get their 7 piece eye brush set, it’s £29.95 for 7 brushes and if they’re the same quality as these I’ll love them!

They are currently out of stock on the Nanshy website but you can find them on Beauty Bay for £34.95. You can also buy the brushes individually and I’ll probably be buying a backup of the A02 Blush & Bronze brush soon – it’s that good.

What are your favourite brushes? Do you prefer brushes or sponges for your face makeup?

xo Fleur xo

Book Box Club Unboxing and Review – December

I’ve completely fallen in love with subscription book boxes, can you tell?

When I saw the Book Box Club and that they were another British Subscription book box, I knew I needed to try their box! Like FairyLoot, they send you a book and bookish items relating to a theme. The December theme was Winter Fairytales, which immediately drew me in. Their box costs £27.99 including shipping in the UK. They also ship using Royal Mail, which is so helpful! Knowing that I can always just pop to the collection office is so helpful, especially when invariably I won’t be in when it’s delivered!

The December box actually included two books, the first two in the series – The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden. I absolutely loved these books! Aren’t they stunning too? Those covers! I reviewed them in my December Blogger Book Nook post if you wanted to know more about what I though.

The first thing I saw in the box was this gorgeous Cinderella inspired notebook. I almost don’t want to use it because it’s so pretty.

Then there was a pencil with the super cute ‘fairytales do come true’ written along the side. I think you can never go wrong with a pen or pencil, so useful. Plus this one will make a really cute Instagram prop haha.

There was also a little Russian doll charm. SO CUTE! I almost don’t want to wear it! I love Russian dolls a lot, I’ve always been obsessed, so this is perfect.

Aren’t those covers stunning? The books also come wrapped up and tied with string which I think is a lovely touch. It makes it feel even more like a present to myself.

The box also included Hansel and Gretel inspired gingerbread marshmallows – from Hampshire (where I live)! They weren’t veggie so I shouldn’t have eaten them but I couldn’t pass up gingerbread marshmallow, I’m sorry. Hopefully there won’t be non-veggie items in future boxes.

Finally there was this gorgeous scarf. I love trees, so a scarf covered in trees is pretty suitable!

I had to include the close up photo of the little Russian doll ❤

They also include an interview with the author and a code so you can access their members-only book-group with the author! Sadly the book-group for this box is on my birthday, so I’m not sure I’ll be joining in.

Overall, I’m so happy with this box! I mean, you can’t really go wrong when you get two books and love both of them can you? Plus everything that came with it is so perfect.

Do you think this box or my December FairyLoot box was better? I really can’t decide!

xo Fleur xo