FairyLoot Unboxing and Review – March

This months FairyLoot box was their 2 year anniversary box, which meant it came in a purple box. How awesome!

If you haven’t seen my previous posts about FairyLoot – it is a bookish subscription box that contains a hardback book as well as loads of bookish items based around a theme for £32.95 a month. This month the theme was Memorable Moments. My only problem with the subscription is that they use Hermes to deliver which is, as we all know, a bit of a nightmare. It’s worth it though.

The book this month was State of Sorrow, which I’ll review below and contained a signed bookplate.

The first item I saw was cork bunting from Paladone which I must admit I’m still finding a bit random. It’s a cute idea but I’ve no idea how I’ll use it to be honest. I’m sure I’ll find a way and it might look cute hanging from a shelf on my bookcase.

Next up is some ‘Toast to The Warden of The North’ hot chocolate from Eponine. It is vegan, gluten free, nut free and sustainably sourced, I haven’t tried it at the time of writing this because I haven’t had the weather to take photos yet… You know how it is. It sounds good though.

The next item is a Harry Potter Goblet of Fire candle from Paper Flames Candle Co that is scented like fresh bread and chocolate, I can’t wait to start burning it. Having looked at their Etsy shop, they have a candle called Bookstagram which I love the sound of haha. I’m not obsessed with the fact it’s another HP item in my life but I guess at least it’ll be a candle I definitely don’t mind burning.

Next up is Bilbo’s Birthday Cake soap from Geeky Clean that is scented with strawberry and vanilla. I must admit this wasn’t what I was expecting from a Lord of the Rings item and I am a little disappointed that it’s a consumable. That disappointment isn’t as much of an issue when it smells as good as it does though. Plus it’s glittery, so it’ll look cute in photos, right?

There was also a bookmark and badge for The Belles, a postcard for State of Sorrow as well as a letter from the author.

Finally my favourite item, a Shadowhunters Rune Ceremony Scarf from FictionTea. This is such a cool scarf! I’m kind of sad it’s a black scarf but it’s also appropriate for a Shadowhunters scarf isn’t it.

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

State of Sorrow is a book that takes a while to get going but once it does… OH MY. The main story follows Sorrow Ventaxis, who is born straight after her brother dies at a historic signing of a peace treaty. Her mother dies giving birth to her and her father plunges the whole land into mourning her brother. The story picks back up when Sorrow is older and her father has become so incompetent that the lands council look to put Sorrow in charge.

If you’re looking for a book full of political intrigue, awesome world building, an interesting magic system, a great selection of characters and so many twists you lose count – this could be the book for you. I will say you do see some of the twists coming but I definitely didn’t see them all.

I did find the names of the two neighbouring lands the book discusses confusing, actually make that annoying. They both begin with R. WHY. Seriously, unless the names become super relevant at some point, I feel like one of them should have been changed to be less confusing. Also, as with a lot of fantasy, there is the mass introduction of seemingly hundreds of characters at once. If you can push past the start though, I think it’s a wonderful book.

Have you read any of Melinda Salisbury’s other books? I think I need to add some to my TBR after reading this one.

xo Fleur xo

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Blogger Book Nook: Murder in the Library

I must admit I was a little disheartened when I saw this months Blogger Book Nook prompt. Especially after last months had me so excited! Not wishing to be super negative but detective stories/murder mysteries aren’t my favourite and are something I usually have to be in the mood for. So I wasn’t entirely surprised when this months prompt put me in a little bit of a reading slump. I wanted to start a book for the prompt but couldn’t find anything that appealed to me. Typically as soon as I’d finished reading a book for the prompt I found several that could have worked that sounded fascinating! SO frustrating!

I did say I wanted to read more books outside of the YA/Fantasy/Sci-fi categories though, so it’s no bad thing! We’ll start with the review then move onto the Q&A.

Coffin Road by Peter May was actually a recommendation from my mum and is more of a mystery than a detective story.

The book starts with a man who is washed up onto the coast, who can’t remember who he is, where he is or anything from his life. The book focuses on his trying to remember who he is and what he is doing living in relatively strange circumstances.

I must admit the name of the book was very compelling to me having just finished The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, the link being the coffin road which people used to carry their dead along. Unfortunately I’m not really sure why Coffin Road was named after the road because it barely played a part…

There were a few things I found pulled me out of the story. The first being how the main character strips off and decides to describe his penis within the first few pages. I found that so unnecessary and the number of male authors who decide to incorporate penis descriptions does stress me out. The author also made out that a father dying was more of an issue for a male child than a female child because for a male child ‘suddenly it brings responsibilities’. Feck ORF. I almost threw the book out the window at that. Also, how many teenage girls have only 26 Facebook friends yet accept a request from an uncle they seem to barely know? Plus there was what seemed like an attempted rape that was just weirdly swept under the carpet? There were more plot holes that frustrated me but would be a little spoilery so I’ll keep them to myself.

Last negative I promise, there is a lot of discussion into scientific research about bees YET there are no references to any actual research. Whilst I wouldn’t expect a novel to have references within the book, if it is going to state research as facts, I would like some links at the end. It might not be a true story but is the research being conducted also fake?

Overall I think it is a decent read and the plot was certainly entertaining and twisty enough to keep me interested! I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it though, sorry mum.

Q&A

1. Who is your favourite fictional detective and why?

I was really struggling with this one until I realised that Sherlock Holmes exists and how can you fail to find him awesome. He’s the perfect example of an extremely well written intelligent character, which I think is fairly rare. I think those stories also manage to make our world feel mysterious for a moment, which is wonderful!

2. Do you enjoy being able to solve the mystery in a book before the characters do, or do you like being kept guessing till the end?

I enjoy being able to guess when it involves plenty of thought still. There is nothing worse to me than an obvious twist that the characters cannot figure out. Overall I do think it’s more interesting when I can’t guess or when my guesses are completely wrong.

3. Murders, missing people, or heists and thefts. Which do you find most compelling?

I LOVE a heist. I love seeing from the point of view of the ‘villain’ and the thrill of seeing how they’ll manage to pull it off. I absolutely adored Six of Crows and I love a good heist film. I just don’t find murders or missing people that compelling, I like an escape from the horrors of reality, not delving further into them.

4. What keeps you most engaged in a crime plot? Intriguing characters? Mysterious settings? Or a whole lot of action?

Probably the suspense and reveals. The fact I’m kept guessing and need to know what happens and how. I did enjoy Gone Girl and The Snowman and those both kept me guessing and guessing.

5. Crime is a popular theme for novels, TV shows and video games. Which is your favourite way of experiencing the genre?

Definitely as films. Ocean’s Eleven was awesome, The Italian Job is so much fun, Inception still blows my mind and more recently Logan Lucky was so well thought out. I have pretty much zero interest in police TV dramas, I rarely choose to pick up a crime book and though GTA is fun, for me, that’s for completely different reasons than the crime aspect!

Do you love murder mysteries or books about crime? Or are you more like me where it’s something you’ll only pick up occasionally?

xo Fleur xo

Review: Superdrug Calm Skin Care

I’ve been obsessed with this range since I started trying it, so I thought it was about time I reviewed it! All these products cost £2.99 each, which is a complete steal, are cruelty free and are suitable for vegans. Whilst Superdrug is I believe owned by a company that tests, I am personally happy to buy from them when they are providing cruelty free, vegan options that are so easily accessible for everyone.

I have oily skin that is prone to dehydration and can get quite textured. I have keratosis pilaris, so making sure my skin doesn’t get clogged up and irritated is my main aim with skin care.

The packaging on this range is basic but for £2.99 per product I don’t think you can complain, especially when they regularly have buy one get one half price offers on. Plus I really like the pastel turquoise and it’s perfectly functional packaging.

Superdrug Calm Skin Mask

First up the Relaxing Overnight Mask. This contains chamomile, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid and the instructions recommend using this twice a week overnight. I apply this over the serum and when I wake up the next day my skin looks so much better. It soothes my skin when I’m breaking out, helps when my skin is dehydrated or itchy and leaves my skin looking plumper, clearer and healthier. It is sticky but as I wash my face just before bed, I can tolerate it for long enough to get to sleep. I’ve even worn it during the day, so it’s not too bad!

Next up is the Blemish Rescue GelThis contains chamomile, niacinamide and salicylic acid and claims to improve blemishes within 1 hour. I love the packaging for this, rather than a doe-foot applicator it has a tiny nozzle so you can squeeze the gel onto a fingertip. I find this so much more hygienic! I’ve only had the opportunity to use this a handful of times but it definitely reduced the size of the spots I had.

Superdrug Calm Skin Cleanser

The Refreshing Facial Spritz is the only product from the range I don’t love. It too contains chamomile, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid and is certainly refreshing and helps make my skin feel and look better. My main problem is the spritzer is so violent. I cannot spray this directly on my face, it comes out as a harsh stream rather than a mist. To use it, I spray it into my palm and then press onto my face. This is SO annoying. I will put it into different packaging when I get a chance but I wish it just worked.

Next up is the Balancing Facial Oil which I was initially dubious about. It contains apricot oil and vitamin E and a whole range of other lovely oils. Whilst I have used oils before I never really found them beneficial but potentially my skin is changing as I’ve started seeing a few wrinkles. This is helping balance out my skin and is stopping me getting as oily. I find it also helps when my skin is irritated.

Superdrug Calm Skin Serum

The Soothing Facial Cleanser is the first product I tried from the range and I LOVE it. I know everyone always says not to ever use gel cleansers but for me this is the perfect cleanser. It contains chamomile and niacinamide and cleanses beautifully without leaving my skin feeling completely dry and stripped. It also doesn’t seem to promote the overproduction of oils.

Finally the Hydrating 2-in-1 Serum and Moisturiser is beautiful. I was looking for a cruelty free product to replace the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and whilst I don’t think this is quite as good, it also seems to soothe my skin more. Like most of the product in this range, it contains chamomile, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid and that combinations seems to be gold for my skin. I use this purely as a serum, usually only at night unless I’m not wearing makeup, with moisturiser over the top. I’ve used a bottle and a half of it now, so I definitely think it’s a great product.

If you have oily, stressed, dehydrated skin, I can’t recommend this range enough. I think you could definitely use products from this range separately to target different skin issues too. For example, if you had drier skin potentially the mask, oil and serum could work added into your routine.

Have you tried anything from this range?

xo Fleur xo

Haul and Review – April 2018

It’s been a fair while since I’ve done a haul and review post – in fact my last one was in October! So it was about time I did another one and as I’ve bought a fair bit of gorgeous makeup recently, here we go! All these products are cruelty free of course.

First up is the Violet Voss Hashtag Palette £43 – I may do a separate review of this because it’d be nice to swatch it all and talk about it in detail. My first impression was definitely disappointment, the swatches had taken me in and I hadn’t realised how few matte shadows there were. If you saw my review of the Violet Voss Holy Grail Palette, you’ll know I don’t love their shimmer formula. However, I’ve since created some gorgeous looks with this palette and I think the formulation is better. We’ll see how I feel in a few months and I’ll post a full review then.

Violet Voss Hashtag Palette

Next up is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipstick Set £22 – I bought this because i have a massive lack of nice nude lipsticks, especially matte cruelty free ones. At £5.50 each, for 1.3g this is the perfect way to trial lipsticks. Also, I’ve only almost finished two lipsticks in my life, so this size will probably be perfect for a while! The formula of these is perfect and I love the range of shades. I’ve swatched them below and they’re such a decent base for my nude lipstick collection – I’ve got something to go with every look.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipstick Setimg_4514

I also bought the Barry M Illuminating Strobe Cream in Galactic £4.49 – this is an absolutely stunning holographic highlighter! I usually don’t go for cream highlighters as I have oily skin but this one is great. I use my finger to apply it and it doesn’t pick up my foundation, it blends easily and stays put all day. I do usually set it with a powder highlight for a super bright, frosted donut face though. It does have the effect where you can just see it on the skin when the light isn’t on it – but it isn’t a natural colour, so I’m not surprised. I definitely want to go back and pick up other shades of this.

I also bought the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Medium Brown £19 – I’ve been meaning to try a brow pomade for a while now and when I was buying from the ABH website, shipping was £6 or free if I spent £10 more… so obviously I spent the £10 more. Which really means I got this for £13, right? I’m still not actually sure how I feel about this. I find it so difficult to use but when it goes right, my brows look incredible. I’m assuming practise will help and I think I will come to really love this!

The reason I was buying from the ABH website was they had a sale where you could get a full sized matte lipstick for £5 but you could only pick up 2.

I chose to get the matte lipsticks in the shades Cobalt and Rum Punch – £18. I haven’t actually worn Cobalt out of the house yet because I’m always going out to eat and I don’t want to end up with blue lip liner haha. Rum Punch has been one I’ve worn constantly though and it’s stunning. It also works beautifully applied with lip balm as a stain.

Finally, I bought the Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick in Freckle Fiesta – £16. This shade is absolutely stunning, it’s such a pretty orangey lipstick and the formula is lovely. It isn’t too drying and it doesn’t tug when you apply it. It dries down nicely and lasts for ages.

I’ve just realised there is a lot of lipstick in this haul! I needed some new cruelty free choices though as nearly all the lipsticks I already owned were not cf.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think of them if you have?

xo Fleur xo

 

Book Box Club Unboxing and Review – March

The March Book Box Club was INCREDIBLE. I knew from the theme of ‘Under the Sea’ that I was probably going to be obsessed with the box and I was right. The Book Box Club (if you haven’t seen my previous posts) is a subscription box where you get a newly released book and loads of bookish goodies for £27.99 a month. I also love that they deliver with Royal Mail and include direct web links to their suppliers!

First up the box contained the book The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, which I’ll review below. There was also a signed bookplate to stick into the book. It was a book I’d been looking at buying, so I was lucky I hadn’t already picked it up.

The next item was this beautiful water bottle that says ‘ be a mermaid make waves’ and that’s exactly the kind of bottle I need in my life. I love the blue and I can’t wait to start using it.

There is a Mermaid Kisses Lip Balm from Bliss Botanicals UK. It contains all gorgeous ingredients and is vegan. I love getting useful products in subscription boxes and I know you can never have too many lip balms – or at least I think so.

Next up is the amazingly scented Siren Song Bath Bomb from Ascent Bath and Body, it’s also beautiful and has the nicest packaging. So, whilst I don’t have a bath I can use at the moment this is definitely going in a draw until I do go somewhere with a bath! It’ll make everything in that draw smell as amazing as it has made our sitting room smell for the past week or so.

I’m SO happy to have bookmarks from the super talented Kimcarlika. They are beautiful quality and I love the mermaid scales on the back of each as well as the paintings of the three sisters Hazel, Aurora and Marguerite.

The necklace from Oh Panda Eyes is so cute. The quote says “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship” and the ship is so detailed. I don’t wear necklaces that often but this one is so cute I might have to make an exception.

Finally there was a chapter sampler for Children of Blood and Bone which I can’t wait to read through, though I already know it’s a book I definitely want to read. There was also two cute postcards, one for The Wicked Deep and another for Big Bones. It also included an invite to the Book Box Club clubhouse where you can join a chat about the book.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep is set in the town of Sparrow where two centuries before, the sisters Hazel, Aurora and Marguerite were sentenced to death by drowning. Now every year the sisters return from the deep to posses three of the locals. They use this possession to lure boys to their deaths.

This book definitely had a mood and I LOVED it. It was relatively creepy and there were some awesome twists that I didn’t see coming – though I’m sure plenty of people did. This would be a perfect read for around Halloween and I just thought how cool it would be to dress up as one of the sisters for Halloween. It could also make the perfect slightly creepy movie.

The main character in The Wicked Deep is 17 year old Penny, who truly believes in the curse and is I’d say, borderline terrified by it – which I can understand! I’d definitely recommend this book and I feel like I might have to re-read it around Halloween next year.

Have you tried a bookish subscription box? If you have, which one?

xo Fleur xo

Review: The Konjac Sponge

I saw the Unicorn Konjac Sponge on amazing Jayne Robinson’s Twitter and instantly just wanted to buy it for the packaging alone tbh. So I did. Especially because at £10.99 for a vegan, cruelty-free product that has great reviews – how could I go wrong?

It then arrived and turned out to be this little solid rock of a sponge… so I looked at it, took a photo and ignored it for a few months. I genuinely put it back in its box and went ‘hmm’. Finally after Christmas, I got it out of its gorgeous holographic box and started using it and I’m actually sad I waited so long!

The Korean Konjac Facial Sponge Unicorn

Isn’t it cute though? I love that it comes with a hook too, so it’s easy to store cleanly in the bathroom.

When you wet the konjac sponge it absorbs so much water and becomes this fluffy, light, super soft sponge – the exact opposite of how it feels when it’s dry!

I started using it and it cleans my skin SO well. Quite often in the evening I won’t always feel like my face is fully clean unless I’ve had a shower, especially when I’ve worn heavy makeup. The sponge gives a really gentle exfoliation but I still personally wouldn’t use it more than once a day because I don’t like to over exfoliate. It has certainly helped give my skin a deeper (much needed) cleanse in the evenings and my skin looks far healthier and fresher since I’ve started using it. I feel a lot more naturally glowy!

I use it with a little blob of a gel cleanser and it lives up to the claim of making cleanser stretch further. It’s so soft and makes little bubbles all over the skin. It doesn’t leave too much cleanser on the skin either, so it’s easier to rinse away any remaining cleanser – saving water! You can also use it without cleanser and I feel like it would work with a cream cleanser too. Using the sponge also leaves my skin completely ready for serum, it sinks in so beautifully afterwards.

It feels a bit strange to recommend a sponge of all things but I LOVE this one! I will definitely be repurchasing when mine gets older (they’re supposed to last about 2-3 months). They also do ones for bath and body which I want to try instead of a plastic bath puff – I think it’d be an easy way to cut down on my plastic use whilst also using something that I can imagine feels so much nicer!

Have you tried a konjac sponge? Do you like using a tool to help you cleanse?

xo Fleur xo

Reading goals

So at the end of March, I reached my reading goal for the year of 75 books. I genuinely thought 75 books would be a good goal that would be achievable within the year – not three months! I’ve included some of the awesome (at least I think they are) infographics that Goodreads creates when you look at your reading challenge! So this is how ridiculous my reading has been this year.

So I’ve changed my overall goal to read 150 books in the year but I want to add in some other goals as well! Potentially to slow the rate I’m reading down a little… So, here they are:

1. To re-read Lord of the Rings. It’s probably been about 15 years now since I read them and it’s such a good story.

2. To finally read the whole of the Wheel of Time series! I probably got to book 11 before I kind of stopped reading. However, I definitely can’t remember everything that happened, or where exactly I got to – so I need to re-read from the start. I don’t think I have the energy to read them all back-to-back, so to read all 15 books I’m going to try reading two of the books a month!

3. To read all the books I currently own and haven’t read! I have WAY too many books on my bookshelf and on my kindle that I haven’t read. Okay, maybe not every single one because there are quite a few I inherited from my mum that I don’t know if I really want to read… but maybe I can get rid of those ones if I do decide I don’t want to read them.

4. To read more books that aren’t YA fantasy. So, this will be hard because I love YA fantasy but I’m trying to branch out a little more. We’ll see how I get on…

5. To read more books based around mythology. Namely Circe by Madeline Miller and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I think I also need to read the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan!

6. To re-read The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse. For the longest time I said this was my favourite book but I can’t truly remember what happens in it any more because it has been so long since I read it. So it’s about time I changed that.

7. To write more reviews on Goodreads. I want to learn to write better reviews and for me the only way I get better at anything, is by doing that thing!

8. To potentially make an excel document with all the books I’ve read in it to categorise my reading! I’ve seen several people now producing infographics about the books they’ve read every month or year and I find them so interesting. For example seeing the proportion of male to female authors read or the length of the books. I think it could also be a good way to make my reading more diverse.

Do you have reading goals for the year? If you do, how are you getting on with them?

xo Fleur xo