Birchbox First Impressions and Favourites

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.

Not only is Birchbox my first beauty box subscription, but it is also my first ever paid subscription to anything other than your basic streaming service. It’s not that the idea never appealed to me, but it is just an unfamiliar way of shopping for me. I have always been the sort of person who knows what I want, and if I want it enough, I will buy it. It is as simple as that.

However, for a while now, my friends and I will film hauls of items we have recently tried or purchased for each other and almost review them, I guess. (If you don’t already do this with your friends, definitely do.) It is so much fun and it can lead to the discovery of some great new products that you may not have heard about elsewhere. That is how I came across Birchbox.

A couple of my friends had subscribed to it, and they started doing monthly haul to show us what they had got. I won’t lie and say that it appealed massively to me in the beginning, but as we were limited on things we could do and spending a lot of time indoors, online shopping became my dose of excitement. Thus, the idea of receiving a box every month with five completely surprise products became quite enticing, and so I bit the bullet and subscribed to Birchbox. I guess you could say this is my review of the brand and the products they include from what I have received so far!

Pricing:

I want to make sure that I look at every single aspect of the brand and not just the products because it’s all equally important in my eyes. So, let’s start with the price! I think it is only fair to note that the original price for a Birchbox subscription is £12.95 per box and I only paid £19.42 for a three-month subscription as there happened to be a deal on at the time. I personally remember the price drop being the main reason I decided to subscribe to this box, and If I am being honest, I don’t think I would have subscribed if it weren’t for the deal I received at the time.

However, since receiving all three boxes worth of products, I have done some research and found that most of the products are quite high end and, in many cases, are worth more than the full price of the box, so in that sense you are getting your money’s worth. Equally, it’s the experience you’re paying for as well as the products! It is an exciting and fun way to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, something that you may not necessarily reach for usually which is always a plus.

Packaging and Delivery:

I would be lying if I said it was all smooth sailing when it came to the delivery or packaging of the boxes that I have received. My October box arrived before my September one did, and so I had to contact the customer support team to have a new one sent out. However, the customer support service was quick and speedy with a polite and apologetic response. As well as this, the delivery of my lost box was very quick and efficient after I had queried its whereabouts. When I did receive it, it was packed in a simple but lovely pink recyclable cardboard box and I was overly excited to try the products I had received!

The October box that I received prior to this arrived in much less intact packaging. It was in a plain brown cardboard box that has been crushed somewhere along the way and dumped on my doorstep. I do just want to point out that this is something that was clearly down to the delivery service and not the company itself, but I’m trying to be as honest as I possibly can. I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of disappointment as it was the first box I’d ever received. As you can imagine, first impressions were not great, but we can blame the delivery service for that.

The Products:

Okay so here is the thing… I for some reason just didn’t clock that these products weren’t going to be full size, and that most of them were tester sized. So, I’ll admit I was a bit shocked upon first look, but once I’d come to terms with it and thought about it properly, I started to realise how naïve I was to think I’d be getting all these full-sized products for the price I was paying. I would argue that the box is still worth the money for what you receive, but just be aware that a lot of the products are tester sized, because I was not.

In terms of variety, Birchbox do pretty well to make sure that you get a little bit of everything. In only three months’ worth of boxes, I’ve received products for hair, skin, lips, eyes and even wellbeing so I’m more than content with the range of different things I’m going to be able to try with this subscription.

I will hold my hands up and say that I haven’t tried every single product yet. There are so many and we’re barely going out at the moment, so I have less opportunity to make use of them. However, I thought it would be a fun idea to give a little shoutout to one product from each box that I am loving and would recommend to you guys!

The first of these being…

Balance Me Beauty Sleep Hydraulic Mist:


This product came in a 10ml tester bottle but can be purchased in a 45ml bottle here: https://cutt.ly/IhP0kEd

So, this is a mist that is essentially supposed to help make you feel more relaxed and ready for a better night’s sleep. The key ingredients that achieve this include Hydraulic Acid, Chamomile, Lavender and CBD oil. I am a massive fan of all these ingredients, so this immediately intrigued me, and I was looking forward to giving it a try.

If you have read my recent blog post on anxiety, you’ll know that it has severely affected my sleep pattern in the past, so any product that is meant to help in that area is welcome, especially as I know it contains ingredients that I already use and love. For instance, I use a CBD oil paste nightly and both myself and my partner will often put lavender oil on our pillows to help with our sleep.

Thankfully, the product has lived up to my expectations, and has definitely made me feel a lot more relaxed when I use it. I simply just spray it on my pillow, wrists and neck before I go to bed and it instantly soothes me. Of course, I cannot guarantee that this will work for everyone, especially as I already associate the scent of lavender with comfort and relaxation. However, if you’re someone who struggles with sleep or even just stress, this could be something worth investing in. From my own personal experience, id rate this product a 9 of 10.

Nuxe Paris Moisturiser:


This product came in a 13ml tester tube but a 50ml version is available to buy here: https://cutt.ly/thP19Vu

I’ve recently run out of my go to moisturiser and had to restrain myself from purchasing a new one because I was certain I’d get one to try with this subscription, and I am so glad that I did wait it out, because low and behold, I received this product!

This Nuxe bio-organic moisturiser contains a combination of brown Algae extracts and Hydraulic Acid. It is honestly the most perfect consistency and density if you’re like me and have quite demanding skin. Unfortunately, I was not blessed with clear skin and so a product with the slightest amount of too much or too little of something will cause me to break out or enhance my blemishes.

As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, I’ve also found my skin either be too oily or too dry. There is no in-between. I didn’t quite realise it was possible to have both, but here we are. It gets particularly dry after I’ve washed it, until I apply a moisturiser which then results in it feeling too oily and a little too heavy on my face. I just can’t win. Does anybody else have this struggle? I’d honestly love to know.

Anyway, back to my point, this moisturiser is so light that is doesn’t create that overwhelming sticky feeling on my face, but it still has enough moisture to prevent my skin from wrinkling up like a deflated balloon.

It has been a genuine challenge to find a moisturiser that really works cohesively with my skin type, but I think I may have finally got there. The only thing I would love more, would be if the moisturiser contained SPF. I can’t stress enough the importance of wearing SPF daily to keep your skin healthy and protected. It’s so simple yet makes such a significant difference to both your appearance and your skins health.

All in all, I really do love the moisturiser and the way it makes my skin look and feel. I have seen a genuine significant improvement and a lack of breakouts since using it. However, I am still keen to find one that does all these things but also protects my skin from UV rays. If you know of any that might be worth trying, please comment below! Overall, I would rate this moisturiser an 8 out of 10 for that reason.

Vitamasques Super Blossom Hydrating Facial:

Let’s be honest, we all love a facemask, and with the world being put on hold, it’s the perfect time to have pampering sessions. As I mentioned above, my skin can be difficult, to say the least. Thus, I must be incredibly careful with what facemasks I use because some will result in my skin being worse off than it was before applying the product. I have learnt from experience, that most peel off facemasks that must be left to dry on the skin tend to dry my skin out way too much. In turn, I end up with itchy skin a lot of blemishes/rashes for a short period of time.

The reason I loved this one so much is because it’s a hydrating mask, so It doesn’t need to be left to set. Therefore, my skin didn’t suffer from any dryness, in fact it was the total opposite. It felt very refreshed and hydrated. The product itself contains ingredients like Hydraulic Acid, Electrolytes and flower and fruit extracts.

Another great thing about the mask, which differentiates it from your average facemask, is that it’s a hattrick product. It includes a face scrub, a biodegradable sheet mask and a moisturiser to finish. Not only does this give you the fall pamper experience in one product, but it also provides a moisturiser to finish off which I feel is quite rare. If your skin is anything like mine, you’ll understand the importance of applying a moisturiser after a facemask. For that reason, I would rate this product a 7 out of 10. The only reason it is not a 10 is because it hasn’t made a significant difference to my skin long term, but then again not many facemasks do.

I could not find this product anywhere! A similar face mask, from the same brand can be purchased here: https://cutt.ly/3hP0dt1

To conclude my review…

I would say that overall, I have really enjoyed the experience of receiving these products and trying them out. Of the many that I have got round to using, I would say that I liked 90% of them, and the ones I didn’t I gave out to friends, which has been nice to do as well.

There are a few products that I have been introduced to that I will continue to purchase from the brands themselves. I would argue that this is the best thing about having a subscription like this. Yes, it allows you to experiment with lots of different products, but it also supports and promotes a variety of different beauty brands and I really love that idea.

For that reason, I would be up for trying a couple of other boxes like this and making a bit of a series out of it. If this is something that you want to see, or if you feel it could be informative for you, then please do let me know in the comments, and if there are any boxes that you would recommend, I’d also love to hear them!

Thank you for reading. It is greatly appreciated, as always x

My Outfit Staples for Autumn/Winter

I just want to preface this post by saying that I really debated discussing my ideas about fashion on this blog. It was one category that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to ‘do justice’ because I’m no style icon. I’m by no means a big spender on designer shoes or bags, I actually hate shopping, like a lot. (In real life, online shopping is the dream!) I own one pair of GUESS jeans. I found them in a sale at Topshop for £99, and have probably worn them four times in the last three years. That is as spenny as it gets for me.

So, fashion is not something I’m ‘good’ at, but I like the way I dress and I like the way clothes and accessories can make me feel like a completely different person. If I am feeling extra confident and sassy, I can style myself to match my mood or if I’m not having the best day, I can style myself to lift my mood. There really isn’t any limit to what you can do, that’s the reason I enjoy it so much. Fashion and beauty are a type of therapy for me. During the UK lockdown I would constantly sit at my desk, style my hair, have fun with makeup, get dressed up, just to feel like I was  doing something, and that really worked for me.

I also just love how subjective fashion is. What looks good to me may look awful to others and what looks good to someone else might not by my cup of tea.  However, when you begin to say to yourself, who cares? that is when it becomes the most fun. If you like your style and it makes you feel good, then just do you. Equally, if you like someone else’s style don’t be afraid to experiment and make it your own. Most importantly, don’t let yourself feel confined to one style or trend, be a baggy clothed hipster by day and then throw on an elegant heel by night if that’s what you’re into.

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my favourite pieces that I reach for most during the colder seasons. For me autumn/winter fashion is the best kind. I cannot speak for everyone, but being able to get dressed,  feel productive and retain that sense of cosiness is what does it for me. 

And that leads me to…

The Corduroys:

Find a similar pair here: https://bit.ly/3kwcjkX

I am in love with my cream corduroy jeans which I purchased from a lovely seller on Depop second hand. I was looking for a pair of jeans that had an edge, something a bit different and then I came across these, they really caught my eye, so I instantly purchased them. I purchased them during the summer, which was not a great idea because I barely got any wear out of them. Unfortunately, they’re just too thick to wear in the warmer weather.   

However, they have been my go to bottoms for the last couple of months for so many reasons. Firstly, they’re just so comfortable and warm because they’re not a classic denim material. I think most will agree that there is nothing worse than putting on denim jeans when it is cold, because the jeans themselves take time to warm up once you’ve put them on. These, however, literally feel like you are putting on a pair of jogging bottoms and I am here for that.

Also, the fit… they are slightly stretchy which means they are more roomy when you first put them on and allow for a hefty meal. None of that suffocating your legs and waste in the way that a pair of skinny jeans sometimes do. Equally, with a stature of 5’2 it’s hard for me to find a pair of jeans that don’t need to be rolled up two or three times at the bottom, these jeans fit my legs perfectly. I bought these with no real expectations, but they have seriously impressed me, so much so that I would say they’re my favourite pair of jeans for this time of year.

I would highly recommend a pair of corduroy jeans if you’re looking for something a little cosier than your basic pair of jeans this winter.

Classic Black Bodysuit:

Find a similar bodysuit here: https://www.zara.com/uk/en/ribbed-bodysuit-p00858056.html?v1=70961983

This on its own is not a showstopper. I’m sure most people have one in their wardrobe and that is because a long-sleeved black bodysuit is a great staple item for when it starts to get colder. Mine is from Primark and so very affordable but the quality is still pretty good. It’s a comfortable base layer and has held together well thus far, considering how much I’ve worn it.

I reach for this so often because I can style it in so many ways. The diversity of a basic bodysuit is what makes it one of my favourites. I could wear it on its own with a pair of jeans and trainers or dress it up by chucking on a skirt and tights if I was going for dinner or drinks, already I have two completely different looks. If I want to, I can even chuck a strappy vest top over it to modify the look once again. 

And on top of all that. Layering. (No pun intended). This top is the one for layering. I’m one for adding a baggy t-shirt over it to achieve a grungy casual look. Sometimes, I’ll just wear it with a jumper over it, that way I can still keep warm but not have to wear a huge coat out. All in all, I’m warmer than I would be without it and it gets ridiculously cold in the UK, so warmth is always welcome.

 A bodysuit or similar long-sleeved black top is a great staple to include in your wardrobe, it keeps you warm and provides a good foundation to experiment with  different styles.

Black Biker Boots:

Find a similar pair here: https://www.boohoo.com/croc-lace-up-chunky-hiker-boots/FZZ50680.html?color=105

I bought these boots in winter last year and I wore them constantly. They are just amazingly comfortable and ideal for warmth. I didn’t reach for these as much throughout summer, but only because the opportunity just didn’t really arise with festival season being cut out this year. I love them so much so that I’ve purchased another pair in a similar style recently.

I spend a lot of time wearing trainers, so these boots are a fun change. I’d say that my favourite thing about these is how surprisingly versatile I found them to be. They can be paired with so many different pieces and not look mismatched in my opinion. I have worn these with skinny and straight legged jeans, and with skirts and dresses of differing lengths, they always pair so well. The list is endless.

I also just want to point out that although I don’t quite remember where they were purchased from, I do remember them being no more than £30. I can confirm that you do not need to spend an extortionate amount of money to get a pair of biker boots that don’t break their shape or fit right. These fit perfectly and they have lasted very well.

Biker boots are great if you want a shoe that is a little bit more out there but still subtle, giving your outfit a bit more edge.

Reversible Parker:

Find a similar coat here: https://bit.ly/32NkhQK

I went on a mission this autumn to find an affordable but good quality parker. It had to look good, feel good, keep me warm and dry. For some reason, this task is always harder than it seems. For that reason, I hate coat shopping more than anything. Every year I throw a tantrum and settle for something that isn’t really doing it for me because I can’t find one that meets all my needs.   

I will admit this may be because I am not prepared to invest a lot into a coat. I always feel there are more exciting things I could spend my money on and that is just me to a T. Essentials are never my priority. Nevertheless, I walked into Primark dreading what was about to come and low and behold I saw a coat instantly that from a distance looked like exactly what I was after. As you can imagine my eyes lit up and I grabbed it as if it were the last one in stock, even though there were at least ten more in my size.

Long story short, this coat met all my requirements. It was under £30, not a lot I know, but to my point above. It felt weighty and good quality but not too heavy, so this was an instant steal for me anyway… THEN, to add to my already excited state, I realised it was also reversible. On one side it has that cool sort of wax effect and then just pure fluff (faux ofc) on the other and I fell in love with it.  I love a fluffy coat but they’re just such a chore when it rains but this is revolutionary. Imagine wearing a cute black fluffy coat on a winter evening out and at the end of the night it starts inevitably pouring down, well now I can just reverse it to become something more suitable for the weather. This way it doesn’t leave you looking like a drowned rat. I think it is also worth noting, it has pockets on both sides, needless to say  I am so impressed with this coat and I know it’ll be worn a lot.

So, if you’re looking for a good quality coat on a low budget for the coming winter, I would recommend looking in Primark.

 These may not be the most exciting of pieces, but they are my staples because they’re so easy to work with. I can pair all these pieces together or match them with other items in my wardrobe to create a whole different vibe,  that is my take on fashion. I like to get enough wear out of my clothes to ensure good value for money, but I also love to change up my style and these basics help me achieve that.