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BIRCHBOX - October: Days Like These...

Hello and welcome to Birchbox time! This little beauty box presented in a pretty floral box containing so many great products to help you welcome to changing seasons with this 'Days Like These...' beauty box. I have to say that I really love the style of the box, the whole theme with this month's box is officially saying goodbye to the hectic summer and saying hello to the new season. I am so ready for Autumn. As I sit here writing this post I was very comfy on the sofa, with a cup of tea in a very warm mustard sweatshirt. It's all about moments like this. There’s a good mix of products this month, although they’re all pretty small, but the lead product is the Beauty Pro Thermotherapy Warming Gold Foil Mask which definitely adds some strength to the contents. I did receive a Beauty Pro mask in another box and I have to say that I really love how it made my face feel, so I was more than excited for this warming mask. 

If you're new to Birchbox they are one of the main leaders in the beauty box subscription game. Each month you will receive five deluxe samples and travel sized samples and these will be with makeup, skin care, body care or hair care. It's a great way to discover new products that you wouldn't normally come across if it wasn't for this little beauty subscription. So without further ado let's take a closer look.

BeautyPro. Thermotherapy Warming Gold Foil Mask. RRP | £5.95

After trying Detoxifying Bubbling Mask with Activated Charcoal I can pretty much say I am a BeautyPro convert. My last mask left my skin feeling good and super refreshed. So I couldn't wait to try this warming gold foil mask which creates a seal against the surface of the face, allowing my natural body temperature to warm the mask and accelerate the penetration of ingredients into the skin. This Warming Gold Mask is designed to restore and moisturise skin, providing intense hydration for fatigued skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Hello I have a four year old who wakes up too early and is having night terrors! I need this.

Gallinée. Hydrating Face Cream. RRP | £34.90

Treat your complexion to the Gallinée La Culture Hydrating Face Cream; a deeply nourishing formula that promises to moisturise, soften and rejuvenate even sensitive skin types. Jam packed full of probiotics that can do wonders for your complexion by helping promote healthy skin function. The moisturiser is supposed to be for both morning and evening, so I was a little surprised when I first used it finding that it was quite a light, creamy texture. I much prefer using something a little thicker at night as it feels more moisturising. But I couldn’t have been more wrong with this one. It is probably one of the most hydrating facial moisturisers I have ever used. I used to get lots of dry patches on my skin, but with this one I haven’t experienced any. It's such a shame how small the sample was though, it's like they are getting smaller. 

Winky Lux. Disco Gloss in Far Out. RRP | £13

OOOOH all the sparkles! I like this one and it's perfect for the sparkle season. Packed with cosmic glitter that’s always pretty, never gritty, this colour-changing gloss transforms before your eyes, from clear to a perfect-for-you-pink. Get your Disco on! Now I do have to make a confession aside from the sparkles I thought that the gloss looked a little cheap. But I was pleasantly surprised it had a nice colour to it and the glitter wasn’t to over the top it felt very great on my lips. The shine did rub off but it left a stain on my lips. Over all I liked it and would definitely use it again.

Daily Concepts. Multi-Functional Charcoal Soap Sponge. RRP | £6

This soap is unique and have not seen it before, let alone used. The Daily Concept Charcoal Soap Sponge is an innovative and multi-functional product. The charcoal soap sponge contains soap on the outside and a sponge on the inside. Especially in these times we love convenience and multi-functional products that make it all a little easier for us. The sponge is dipped in detoxifying charcoal soap that removes impurities from the skin and improves the balance of the skin and restored. You can use this soap sponge for your entire body. You apply it to moist skin and the result is a soft and deeply cleansed body. Besides that you can use the soap sponge well you can also use it in the bath.

Number 4. Lumiere d'Hiver Super Comb Prep & Protect. RRP | £26.25

I've tried other brands of this type of product which often left my hair feeling heavy and dull. This Number 4 Lumiere d'Hiver Super Comb Prep & Protect makes my hair feel soft, manageable and less fly away. I really suffer with my hair.  I have really greasy roots and then my ends are so dry. I really wish I had a mixture of the two all over so I'm always looking for a great conditioner that can tackle the dry ends without adding to the oily top. Normally I just condition the bottom but when you are rushing in the morning for the school run sometimes it is just easier not too. So a leave in conditioner is the way forward. This one certainly packs a punch and left my hair feeling fresh, clean, no oily feeling and nourished. Perfect. 

Joop! Wow! Woman Eau de Toilette. RRP | £39

This powerfully hypnotic fragrance brings out the femme fatale in every woman. The green, airy notes of rose and peony blend with woody spices to create an intense, seductive scent. This is the first time I have tried anything from Joop my husband loves the men’s fragrance and now I understand why he does it certainly a very seductive scent which is a scent I normally don’t steer towards but after smelling this I certainly was hooked right away and unlike some other fragrances after a while they disappeared. But this stayed on me most of the day .

So what did you think? Are you a Birchbox fan? If not, you should at least try a couple of boxes. A monthly Birchbox subscription, with no long-term commitment, costs just £10 (+ £2.95 P&P) per month. 

Don't forget to check out our previous Birchbox boxes...

First Act Discovery Ukulele and Giveaway

The back to school chaos is gearing up to a close for the first half term, can you believe it? With September so many children are excited about new milestones and new ventures that come with a new school year. After a few weeks trying and get back into the swing of things after school clubs and activities are now going around, so it’s the perfect to time to get organised and figure out priorities and determine what clubs or activities will suits your child.

Now, I don’t know about you but I have a little girl who is completely obsessed with signing, dancing and loves to put on a show. Seeing her little eyes light up at every opportunity has left me wondering whether we should put her confidence into performing into learning an instrument too. We live really close to my brother and my sisters children so it only seems natural that we make it a family affair and encourage them all to get creative and learn something new.

The start of the school year is the perfect time to start learning a new instrument. For one all the children heading back to school into new milestones are normally excited about starting new challenges and prepared to take on many more. It’s a good time for change, and learning a new instruments while the back to school vibes are still going around will help encourage them to head into a new learning experience with a positive outlook. By learning a new instrument can really help build self-confidence, encourage them to overcome challenges and develop new skills.

There are so many different instruments that are perfect for beginners. But for us one instrument that seemed the most appealing was the Ukulele as they are the perfect size for little hands. Not only that, it can be pretty easy to learn a few chords and play some familiar songs in a short amount of time. And with the help from First Act and their easy to follow program we are all getting to grips with the Ukulele. For those who are not aware of First Act they are a premier designer, marketer and supplier of musical products, instruments and accessories from cradle to college.

First Act Discovery is where the music begins. This discovery line is perfect for little ones as they include guitars, keyboards, and the ukuleles, available in various colorful designs and licensed brands. We were kindly gifted this Black Ukulele with Blue Stars and we loved the design, however this is one of many designs that are available so make sure that you keep your eyes peeled. This little Ukulele has guitar-style tuning gears let you tune up and stay in tune. Nylon strings for that traditional uke sound.

Are you ready to join the UKULELE CRAZE?

Why not enter our #Ukulele giveaway for a chance to win.

BThe winner will receive one of two designs of Ukulele picked at random; either black with blue stars or white with blue butterfly design. Why not kick start a new challenge and join us and learn the Ukulele? To enter all you need to do is click the link and follow the instructions.

#ExploringCheshire to Find A Forever Home

Being someone who has moved a few times you m say that I have learned a thing or two along the way, moving home can be overwhelming, both financially and emotionally. However on the other hand, moving to a new place brings the opportunity to meet new people, explore a different area, and have meaningful experiences. We brought our first home when my daughter was just seven months old, let me tell you, it was one of the most stressful times in our lives. Buying a home is such a huge decision and one that shouldn't be taking lightly. Becoming a home owner for the first time may seem like an exciting and daunting financial decision, but is it the right decision for you? Along with Laurus Homes New Builds we have been looking to looking for a forever home and some of the things you need to consider along the way. 

Is Buying Right for You?

Buying a home is the natural progression into adulthood, but before embarking on one of the biggest decisions in your life there are some things you take into consideration before signing on that dotted line. And I know that this one comes as no surprise, but the most important factor is of course cost. There are a lot of costs involved when purchasing your first home. Whilst the deposit is usually the largest expenditure, don’t forget about the extra fees involved with the actual purchase of the property. These could include mortgage arrangement and product fees, valuation fees, stamp duty, solicitors’ fees, and removal costs. And that's before you've even moved in. 

Before buying our home we decided to begin saving. Fortunately for us we moved from our flat when we had a daughter and moved into my husband's parents so we could save as much as we could. So with a lot of hard work and practically no social life we managed to save enough for a deposit on a house. As soon as we saved enough we went to an estate agents so we could talk through our options and they were very helpful and offered us some fantastic advice for the process. And the one piece of advice that really stuck with me was him saying that we need to make sure we do our research and look at house prices, and figure out the right time to buy so it can be a beneficial investment. 

Location is Everything. 

For us location was so important. Wherever you decide to live, you’re going to be commuting from that place to work. That commute is going to have a cost in the form of both money and time, a cost that is going to be repeated for as long as you have that job. It was also important for us to choose a location that was has good schools, a local town and close to a hospital. When it comes to choosing a forever home I knew that I wouldn't like the idea of setting up a home in the hustle and bustle of a lively city, we knew it was going to be somewhere in the countryside. As you may know we set up our forever home in the beautiful countryside of Norfolk. We wanted to choose a location that was equipped with beautiful tranquil surroundings, the seaside with an abundance of woodland walks. There is nothing quite like the English countryside to set up your forever home with many different locations that offer the similar qualities as Norfolk, places such as Hampshire, Dorset, Yorkshire and even Cheshire. 


Cheshire seems to be the place to buy a house. With housing developments going on and price rises, it could be a good investment. Not only that, but Cheshire has also got a lot to offer adults and families. Rural and bursting at the seams with history and heritage, the county of Cheshire is home to a whole raft of unspoilt towns and villages. But with the energetic city of Chester sitting at the heart of the county too, looking for a forever home you will be sure to find a pace of life that suits everyone. At the moment #ExploringCheshire couldn't be easier with Laurus Homes new builds who are currently developing houses in these areas: Winsford, Daresbury, Delamere and Congleton. They develop all sorts of houses from multi-million pounds home to affordable homes. There is also future planning for Haslington, Wincham and Chester too. So what's not to love?

If you’re keen to get in with the Cheshire set and have bags of money, look for a homes in the Golden Triangle. The three points are predominantly marked out by Wilmslow, Prestbury and Alderley Edge although Knutsford is often thrown in too. So if you want to live the lavish lifestyle of the real housewives of Cheshire get yourself into the Golden Triangle. However, for most of us getting onto the property market doesn't start with a stately homes. Perhaps a property on the other side of the county, Cheshire West is much more realistically priced. You’ll find spacious family homes here at less than a third of the cost in Cheshire East. If you’re looking for your perfect home in the Cheshire area, Laurus Homes offer a variety of stunning, high quality developments right across this desirable part of the North West.


The county of Cheshire offers plenty of country villages, towns and it without a doubt has it's fair share of local attractions. So of course when you are looking for a home, always look around to see what's in the area. Cheshire offers so many different things all depending on what you are seeking, whether you're seeking great shopping, a good restaurant or a great day out with the family. There's something for everyone. For the family adventures you can go to places like Chester Zoo, GoApe!, Gullivers World, Botanic Garden and much more. If you fancy a bit of shopping, you can find Cheshire Oaks which has a lot of different shops or even Grosvenor Shopping Centre. There’s so much history to absorb too. Country houses like Tatton Park or Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse are great for discovering how people lived in Cheshire through the ages. And you can always wander around the Roman walls and Garden, or the Dewa Roman Experience attraction.

Perhaps you're a foodie? Cheshire cheese is widely available all over the county. If you want to explore local delicacies in more depth, head to Nantwich Food Festival. This annual event is a great opportunity to try EVERYTHING from cheese to chutneys and ales. Great wine bars, country pubs and restaurants are in abundance. From rustic locals with comforting food and the perfect pint to stylish places to spend an afternoon, or night, Cheshire has a tempting choice of countryside pubs

So in a nutshell, Cheshire has a lot of offer someone who is getting onto the property ladders. Cheshire is a large county and so if you were looking to make a big relocation or set up a forever home in tranquil settings, there is so much to consider as property varies enormously. If you're lucky enough and money is no object you could live the life of a glamorous millionaire and set up home in the Golden Triangle to much more affordable neighbourhoods. In Cheshire you will find gorgeous cottages as well as some of the most beautiful period townhouses to some modern new builds. Laurus Homes are creating brand new developments in desirable locations around Cheshire and they have come up with this #ExploringCheshire infographic to highlight some of the best bits about the area.

So what do you think of Cheshire? Would you relocate?

Shea Treats From The Body Shop

I'm pretty sure you know by now that I'm a big fan of using aloe in my hair, in my skincare routine and have even used an aloe based toothpaste. Aloe is known as a miracle plants that has helped battle many different issues in our daily lives, and has amazing qualities as a moisturiser. However, another all natural moisturiser that I'm becoming slightly obsessed with is shea butter, and you'll be surprised with all the amazing nutrients it provides. 

Shea butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea tree and that is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F. It offers UV protection and provides the skin with essential nutrients necessary for our day to day lifestyle. However, it needs to be said that shea butter does far more than just simply moisturising our skin, it also acts like an anti-inflammatory and has anti-aging components. By having one too many late nights with my daughter, this is something that I really need now. There are so many ways that you can use shea into your beauty routines, the rich buttery consistency makes it ideal for a natural eye cream, lip balms and of course it's amazing as a body butter. 

For first things first, shea butter has amazing qualities as a moisturiser with all the natural vitamins and fatty acids that make shea butter incredibly nourishing and moisturising for the skin. However, not only that it actually been proven to reduce inflammation and even potentially help avoid skin mutations. This also makes it beneficial for some people with acne. As I have said before shea butter is a great for natural collagen production and contains so many different vitamins and acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent it from drying. Shea is amazing and something that I need to introduce into my skincare routine. 

So now that you know all the amazing qualities that shea butter has I wanted to tell you all about my shea treat from the body shop that I cannot help but obsess over. I have to say that I'm pretty lucky that one of my friends is a body shop representative so I can get to try little treats like this. How perfect would this little box for Christmas, to say thank you or just because you want to treat yourself. This beauty cube with mini bathtime treats includes Shea Shower Cream, Shea Body Whip, and Taupe Mini Bath Lily enriched with Community Trade shea butter from Ghana, that leaves skin feeling softer and subtly scented.

Shea Shower Cream. RRP | £5.00

A rich moisturising soap-free shower cream that leaves your skin feeling nourished, softer and freshly cleansed. I really like the shower creams from the body shop as they don't dry out my dry skin and keep my skin feeling soft and moisturised. The scent isn't overpowering which I like as I don't like products that are overly scented. I have really sensitive skin and throughout the year I really suffer eczema and so this shower cream is perfect for my dry and sensitive skin. 

Shea Body Whip. RRP | £5.00

Lightweight yet incredibly hydrating, this lotion is sure to whip up your moisturising ritual. Your skin will feel smoother, nourished and silky-soft to the touch. This product is quite amazing, it smells great and feels great. It's not too pricey and is quite easy to find in different places. I love this size of the little collection as I am able to take them with us when we are exploring adventures, but more importantly this body whip has really helped to soften my skin.

So if you're looking for something a little indulgent for the perfect autumnal night in then look no further than these shea treats, you can't really go wrong. If you want a chance to win some then don't forget to enter our Autumn Giveaway on our Facebook page. 

We have a couple of autumn treats for you. If you’re interested and want to enter the giveaway then please comment with “I love autumn” to be within a chance. Not forgetting to give my Facebook page a like too and share to your hearts content. 

To enter all you need to do is:

1. MUST FOLLOW & LIKE this page.

2. Like the post

3. Tag friends and family in the comments below (do this as many times as you would like) just remember to tag family and friends under your entry comment.

Competition closes midnight on Tuesday 18th October 2018 23:59 UK time. Winner will be drawn at random and announced thereafter.

Explore The Adventure: Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo is pretty impressive. It has been on our bucket list for exploring the adventure for some time, but due to the fact that it's more than two hours away it has always taken a back seat. We have had many fun adventures at Banham Zoo so we needed to go and explore a different adventure. I have heard so many great things about Colchester Zoo, especially as it's one of the top ten list of zoos recommended visiting in the world. So we knew that we were in for a great day out. At Colchester Zoo we saw so many different species from around the world and even had the chance to see the animals being fed and watch a couple of training sessions too. As we walked around the zoo we saw many places to eat and even a great play area including an indoor soft play area Jungle Tumble with all new play equipment where my daughter unleashed her wild side. 

On our visit to Colchester we discovered some great enclosures with butterflies and Rainbow Lorikeets allowing us to get close to the animals and feeding them nectar. For us, one of the best experiences that we will probably ever have was getting the opportunity to feed the elephants. My daughter was ecstatic that she got to feed an elephant some cabbage. We also walked through an underwater tunnel watching the cheeky seals and other sea water animals was a wonderment. So as you can see already, it was a fun filled day full of adventures that we won't forget in a hurry.

As we drove into Colchester Zoo's car park I couldn't believe how big it was. There were clear rows and ways to work out where you parked meaning that you could easily locate your parked care after your zoo adventure. Walking to the entrance was an odd one, it looked like an airport and reception staff seemed like they wanted to get people through as quickly as possible. Thankfully we pre-booked our tickets online and our wait wasn't long at all and we were handed our tickets, leaflets and an explorers booklet, however my husband forgot to pick up a map and made his way back into the crowd to grab one. So when you go to Colchester Zoo make sure that you have everything you need to ensure you're not waiting too long or getting lost in the crowds to get a map!

Just a quick note if you're planning to grab lunch from your car, you’ll need to go to the gift shop and get a wristband to get back in, as your ticket won’t work. It’s also a long walk, so if you can take everything you need with you, then do. The zoo is accessible for all and has different coloured paths so those that may have difficulty tackling their slopes can take a more level route without missing all the animals. There are a range of eating outlets within Colchester Zoo including meal deals and healthier options, again these cater for all needs and high chairs are available. But we did find this a little more expensive that regular restaurants. Alternatively you can take your own pack up. Toilets are a plenty and they have baby changing and disabled toilets.

Exploring the Adventures with the Animals

There are so many animals at Colchester Zoo and surprisingly other experiences too. All we knew was that we wanted to try and see every animal in the zoo, but soon found out that is was quite the challenge. A lot of the zoo keepers told us that many families tend to come back to finish their adventures, as there is so much to see and do. But making sure that we kept to the map we managed to see every animal, went to a couple of the displays and even got to ride on The Lost Madagascar Express. There were so many favourite parts of the zoo for us but a couple enclosures really stood out for us. Our favourite exhibit by far was Kingdom of the Wild that had a range of different Asian species from giraffes, zebra, hippos, rhino and ostriches to lizards and tortoises. Many of the animals could be seen mixing together in the main paddock which was absolutely HUGE, they had so much space to move around in and it was very reflective of a Savannah environment.

Opposite was Elephant Kingdom which was equally impressive. There has much thought and design with the enclosure featuring everything from night stalls and bull elephant quarters to waterfalls and a pool area. They even had set times for elephant feeding. And one not to shy away from an opportunity we got into the queue straightaway, the zoo keepers gave us all a piece of cabbage to feed to the Elephants and it was so lovely to see them take the cabbage with their trunks. My daughter was so happy that she got to feed an elephant. 

Australian Rainbows was an enclosure that I have never experienced before. This enclosure has only been open for a few years and previously was the Wild About Animals Theatre where seating was removed and the roof replaced to give the correct 'tropical rainforest' atmosphere. It's an impressive enclosure giving guests a real opportunity to get up close and personal with the exotic aviary of lorikeets whilst feeding them a pot of golden nectar for an additional £1. Even my daughter had a go at feeding them some nectar, however our cheeky bird decided to take the pot too but thankfully daddy was quick enough to grab it from him quickly.

I love Chimpanzees and so I couldn't wait to go to Chimpanzee Lookout,  if I'm honest I could have stayed their for hours watching them, they have such funny characteristics. One of the chimps was being a cheeky chap by picking his nose and eating it, gross. But that aside watching them all play with one another and swing on the ropes was so wonderful. There are eight Chimpanzees in the enclosure, three males and five females. However these little Chimps were not the only primates we got to see at Colchester Zoo. We got to meet the very grumpy Orangutan, I literally couldn't believe how big this fella was, but boy was he a grumpy one. My daughter was amazed with how grumpy his face was and kept trying to copy his little face. 

My daughter loves the sea and going under one of the largest straight underwater tunnels in Europe was an an absolute must. Play Patagonia was a sight, that's for sure. The glass in the tunnel is 10cm thick and the enclosure holds a massive 500,000 gallons of water! It's quite impressive. The enclosure is currently home to our five females patagonian sealions named Atlanta, Milan, Winnipeg, Paris and Sydney. It was so cool walking under the tunnel trying to look out for all the sea life. 

No trip to Colchester zoo is complete without a ride on The Lost Madagascar Express. A little journey to discover countries and continents, led by a ranger guide before disembarking at Lost Madagascar, where the adventure will really began. On our trip on the Lost Madagascar Express there was so much to try and look out for and my daughter spotted a couple of wolves and after the train journey ended she wanted to make a bee line for the Wolves to get a closer look at them. We had a fantastic day at Colchester Zoo at the end of the day we were super tired and couldn't wait to make our way home. Before we even got out of the car park, our daughter was snoring her head off. We had such a lovely day there and we cannot wait to go back, it's definitely a firm favourite. 

Have you been to Colchester zoo? If you have what was your favourite enclosure?

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