20210204

THE CHRISTMAS HAUL & REVIEW

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Today, a little later than usual, I'm doing a roundup of what I got for Christmas 2020. This was mainly because it was Affordable Beauty Month all of January here, and a lot of this isn't beauty and not all of it's affordable. But, the flipside is that I can give more of a review on what I've got. Obviously, thank you again to my partner and family for the gifts, though I've obviously told them all personally! I'm wondering at what age I'll just stop getting many presents; at 27, it can't be far off... Anyway, let's dive in.

- BOOKS -

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I'm a massive foodie, and I go not one... not two, but three recipe books to sink my teeth into! The first one is Be More Vegan by Nikki Webster, which contains both recipes and lifestyle tips for incorporating veganism into your everyday life. I've been a pescetarian for 18 years, but realistically; my partner is plant-based, I very occasionally have some cheese and I don't really eat fish any more (I actually only would have it with my family if they wanted to cook one meal for everyone). I've followed @rebelrecipes on Instagram for a while, so I wanted to pick this one up for the food, but I also found this a really nice introduction to veganism. It's accessible, realistic and non-judgemental to those who maybe aren't entirely plant-based and want to make some changes or a transition without feeling like they're being inducted into a cult! I also got Speedy Bosh by Henry Firth & Ian Theasby. I love the Bosh books, though the original one has quite a lot of technical, more complex recipes. Their latest offering is filled with quick options, and I'm really loving it for weeknights. If you want to eat healthy plant-based food but don't have a ton of time to do anything fussy; definitely check this out. Finally, for food, I also got Green: Veggie & Vegan Meals by Elly Pear. This is absolutely lush! There are some really original recipes in here and the imagery is gorgeous. Some of them are a little advanced for me, but maybe I'll graduate to them eventually...

The other book I've got is in the beauty category, though I haven't started it yet. It's Glow from Within by Joanna Vargas, the legendary celebrity aesthetician. I do have on of her products in my 'to try' tub, so this has reminded me to dig it out and give it a go! I'm really looking forward to finding out what nuggets of wisdom Joanna has to share; I'll keep you posted.

CANDLES -

My mum got me two beautiful candles for Christmas too. The first is Boy Smells Hypernature Agua de Jardin. This is gorgeous! Looking at the website, apparently it's limited edition, so I'll have to use it sparingly. It's both sweet and refreshing and reminds me of lush green fields and fruit. Its notes include wild fig, coconut, macadamia nuts, ivy leaves, pimento berry, jasmine and ivy leaves. Lush! And the scent is so strong; this is my first Boy Smells candle and I'm impressed. I also got a mini of the Diptyque Roi Majeste Candle | which is actually still available at Space NK despite being a Christmas special. It's a warm winter scent of rose, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. As I've come to expect from Diptque candles; even with a tiny pot like this, the scent fills the room and it's like melted down perfume radiating around.

- LIFESTYLE -

I was in much need of some new slippers, so my boyfriend's family got me these lovely handmade sequined ones that are something prettier and more unique than your average slipper. The other more lifestyle kind of gift I got was from my mum and I'm obsessed with it! It's called Sacred Roots Healing Chocolate, and it's like a healthier alternative to hot chocolate. There's no dairy in there, so you can mix it with a warm plant milk (and a little coconut sugar, if you like, because this isn't particularly sweet due to it not containing added sugar) to make it vegan. It's formulated with antioxidant-rich reishi and chaga mushrooms, though you obviously can't taste mushroom in the formula! It's my favourite relaxing, not-too-naughty treat. 

- BEAUTY -

The biggest single present I got was from my boyfriend and it's the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer (mine is the copper gift edition). Didn't he do well?! It's one of those things I've always kind of wanted but I wasn't going to splash out and buy it for myself. I won't get too into it all here, because I have actually already penciled in a full 'is it worth it?' style review in a few weeks, however I can tell you now that my life has truly been upgraded...

My mum got me some gorgeous silk scrunchies from Slip; both their Rose Gold Holiday Bauble and their Skinny Silk Scrunchies in Gold, Black & Leopard. These have become my absolute must-haves for me! They're so much less clumsy than larger scrunchies, they prevent hair breakage and they're so pretty. I think these are what I'll be using exclusively going forwards.

In terms of skincare, I must admit that I haven't tried these yet, because I've been really taking most of my time up with testing serums for reviews I already have pencilled in. I got the cult favourite Some by Mi AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Serum and the Jumiso All Day Vitamin Brightening & Balancing Facial Serum. The Some by Mi serum is an exfoliating option; I love that it contains a blend of different acids to get that exfoliation to every level of the skin (both at the surface and deep within the pores). The Jumiso is more of a calming, hydrating option with chamomile, centella and hyaluronic acid. I'll definitely update you on these in my planned K-beauty posts for the coming months.

My mum got me the Coco and Eve Super-Nourishing Fig & Coconut Hair Masque, which is a product I've used up entirely before and absolutely loved, so I'm very happy to have it back in my life! It's a nourishing, softening hair mask that gives that deep moisture that leaves the hair feeling healthier without weighing it down. Plus it smells dreamy!

I also got a few makeup bits from my family, the first of which is the Kosas Colour + Light Creme in Tropic Equinox Intense. I absolutely love these Kosas duos; they're long-wearing but have this emollient formula you can dab on with your fingers. This is my first shade from the Intense line, which is deeper and more pigmented, so great for darker skin tones. The highlight in here is a rich gold (that I can just about get away with!) and there's a deep warm brown-tan blusher in there. This is beautiful and has been my go-to for those deeper, more vampy makeup looks. I also got the new Ilia Beauty Liquid Powder Chromatic Eye Tint in Sheen. This is a really long-wearing liquid-cream eyeshadow in a warm bronze colour. It's really easy to dab on and blend out with your fingers or a synthetic brush; you get some play time before it sets down. The only thing I would note is that it does dry down to a less metallic finish than it looks in my swatch. Lastly, I got the Victoria Beckham Beauty Posh Lipstick in Fringe, which I've already fallen for! I love this formula; it's not matte, but it is long-wearing, it feels moisturising but it isn't glossy. This is a really unique deep brown colour that I can see being a go-to one for evening wear when we do things in the evening again!

- STYLE -

I also got a few style bits and bobs, the first of which is this beautiful Crabtree & Evelyn Bali Printed Knot Headband. 100% of the sales of this product is going towards the WAS Foundation, an anti-poverty organisation founded in Bali, which is great. Plus; this is beautiful! It will definitely be making an appearance in some skincare routines soon... 

I also got a lovely surprise from my mum in the Missoma Lucy Williams Mini Beaded Coin Necklace. This looks absolutely beautiful when layered with the longer double-horn necklace I got last Christmas from her, which is also a Missoma piece. This is really cute and I love it!

That's a brief overview and my initial thoughts on this little haul I got for Christmas - please let me know if there's anything you'd like to see in terms of makeup Reels on Instagram or reviews. The Dyson one is already in the works! And, if you're into food like me; be sure to follow me on Instagram, because I've been known to show my creations on Stories.

Have you tried any of these products or brands? 


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