Review: Degustabox Monthly Subscription Food Box – The March Box

It’s been a while since I reviewed Degustabox, the monthly subscription food box service but they sent me a lovely Easter surprise of their March box.

Each Degustabox contains between 9 and 14 products from well known and / or up-and-coming brands.

It’s a fun way to discover new brands and to try food and drink products you may not otherwise discover or add to your supermarket trolley.

So what was in the March box?

Contents of the March Degustabox - Food Subscription Boxes - motherdistracted.co.uk
The contents of the March Degustabox

Each box costs £12.99 including delivery and the value of the box contents is promised to be far greater than this, based on what you would expect to pay if you bought the items in the shops.

Once you have received your box, you are encouraged to review the products and let the brands know what you thought – whether you liked the item or not.

The March box contained, as per the previous boxes, a lovely mix of sweet and savoury treats. There is a selected list of products for each month published on the website but not everyone receives the same combination. The element of surprise adds to the fun.

Once again, there was a mixture of brands I already knew but quite a few I’d heard of but not got round to trying – which is really the point of Degustabox.

There were 10 products from January’s selection and 1 from a selection which Degustabox call their “Db’s Discoveries”.

This time, instead of Degustabox’s products of the month we have two products just right for the breakfast table.

Brioche Pasquier, Weetabix On The Go & Good Hemp Original

Brioche Pasquier Pains Au Chocolat, Weetabix On The Go - Food Subscription Boxes - motherdistracted.co.uk
The Breakfast Table Products

We are already big fans of Brioche Pasquier and these are new to the range – Pains au Chocolat (£1.40) filled with creme patissiere.  They are individually wrapped and the Husband often grabs a couple to pop in his briefcase on his way out of the door to the station.  You can spend a small fortune on a coffee and a pastry at those station shops, can’t you?


Weetabix On The Go (2 x £1.50) is a breakfast drink with extra protein which contains all the energy and fibre of a Weetabix cereal with milk in a smooth, tasty drink.  The Husband has also claimed these for his next trip to London.

Good Hemp Original Dairy Free Milk - Food Subscription Boxes - motherdistracted.co.uk
Good Hemp Original – a dairy free alternative to milk

Good Hemp Original (£1.49) is a dairy free alternative to milk made from hemp seeds.  Hemp seeds are a natural source of Omega 3 and are completely allergen free.

Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn – Cinema Sweet (£1.50) and Pipers Crisps – Cheddar & Onion (£2.00)

Metcalfe's Skinny Popcorn in Cinema Sweet, Pipers Cheddar & Onion Crisps - food subscription boxes - motherdistracted.co.uk
Ideal movie watching fare!

Cinema Sweet is the newest addition to the Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn family and it is sweetened with natural stevia leaf extract.  The popcorn has 67% less sugar than all the other sweet varieties on the market and has 97 calories per serving.

Pipers Crisps have won 23 Gold Great Taste Awards and are made from locally sourced potatos cooked in sunflower oil.  I wish I could tell you what these tasted like but the Husband and Ieuan got there first.

Karyatis Meze To Go & Kent’s Kitchen Stuffing in Apricot, Apple & Ginger

Karyatis Meze To Go & Kent's Kitchen Stuffing - food subscription boxes - motherdistracted.co.uk
Two quirky new finds

Karyatis Meze To Go (£1.99) is a Mediterranean inspired snack containing a sweet and smokey roasted red pepper and feta dip with crunchy rosemary crackers in an easy to carry box.

Kent’s Kitchen Apricot, Apple & Ginger Stuffing (£1.85) is designed to spice up your roast dinner. It’s made from all natural ingredients with chunky pieces of fruit, herbs and spices. All you have to do is add water, stir and bake.  Each pot serves four.

Parle Hide & Seek and Monaco Biscuits

Parle Hide & Seek and Monaco Biscuits - food subscription boxes - motherdistracted.co.uk
Sweet & Savoury Biscuits

Parle Hide & Seek biscuits (£0.59) are India’s best moulded chocolate chip biscuits.  The jury’s out on whether they are, as they claim, the World’s best moulded chocolate biscuits.  I have quite a bit of research ahead of me.

Parle Monaco biscuits (£0.39p) are tasty, crispy biscuits sprinkled with salt.

Kallo Quinoa and Seeds Multigrain Cakes & Kallo Milk Chocolate Rice Cake Rounds

Kallo Multigrain & Kallo Milk Chocolate Rice Cakes - food subscription boxes - motherdistracted.co.uk
Kallo  Multigrain and Chocolate Rice Cakes

Kallo Quinoa and Seeds Multigrain Cakes (£1.89) contain sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds whilst Kallo Milk Chocolate Rice Cake Rounds (£1.00) are a combination of  Belgian Chocolate and puffed wholegrain rice with only 78 calories per cake.

Lindt White Chocolate Gold Bunny & Chewits Sweets

Lindt White Chocolate Gold Bunny & Chewits Sweets - food subscription boxes - motherdistracted.co.uk
My favourite combo!

Two more products from this month’s box which have strangely vanished before I could sample them.

Lindt White Chocolate Gold Bunny (£2.99) – you know Easter’s arrived when these little fellas start to appear.  They certainly make a regular appearance in our house.

Chewits chewy sweets (4 x £0.35) were a part of my childhood and are an iconic British confectionery brand now loved by my kids as well.

The total retail value of the box is £21.59, good value given the cost of the box was £12.99.

If you like the excitement of a monthly present and enjoy trying out new brands, I think Degustabox is a great scheme. I’d place it firmly in the ‘treat’ category but the price is low enough to make it attractive. A Degustabox subscription would also make a great gift. You can cancel at any time, as long as you give them sufficient notice to stop next month’s box.

Please note, though that Degustabox can only deliver to Mainland UK and not to Northern Ireland, the Scottish Highlands and Islands and you must be over 18 to order.

I also have a discount code for £6 off your first box.  Simply enter BLDEG15 at the checkout.

Further information is available at the Degustabox UK website, or you can talk to them on Facebook or on Twitter

Review: December Degustabox – Full of Foodie Treats

GIFTED: I’ve just received my December Degustabox.  As you might remember from my last post, Degustabox is a monthly subscription food box service with each box containing between 9 and 14 products from well known and/or up-and-coming brands.

It’s a fun way to discover new brands and to try food and drink products you may not otherwise discover or add to your supermarket trolley.  We all tend to buy the same things week in, week out, don’t we?

So what was in the December Degustabox?

Contents of January Degustabox - Food Subscription Boxes - motherdistracted.co.uk
The contents of the Degustabox

Each box costs £12.99 including delivery and the value of the box contents is promised to be far greater than this, based on what you would expect to pay if you bought the items in the shops.

Once you have received your box, you are encouraged to review the products and let the brands know what you thought – whether you liked the item or not.

Treats in the December Degustabox

The December box contained, as per the previous boxes, a lovely mix of sweet and savoury treats. There is a selected list of products for each month published on the website but not everyone receives the same combination. The element of surprise adds to the fun.

Once again, there was a mixture of brands I already knew but quite a few I’d heard of but not got round to trying – which is really the point of Degustabox.

There were 10 products from January’s selection and 1 from a selection which Degustabox call their “Db’s Discoveries”.

Degustabox’s products of the month are Barilla Mediterranean Vegetables Sauce (£2.00) and Barilla Whole-Wheat Fusilli (£1.50).

Barilla Mediterranean Vegetable Sauce & Whole Wheat Fusilli - Degustabox review - motherdistracted.co.uk
Barilla Mediterranean Vegetable Sauce & Whole Wheat Fusilli

The theme of this month’s box is “Healthy New Year” and these two items form a mainstay in lots of healthy tea-time suppers.  Pasta is so easy to feed to children.  Even Ieuan eats it!  Whole wheat is much better for us than white too, with one serving giving you 20% of your daily fibre needs.

Hip Pops Soya & Potato Snacks (£1.00 x 2)

Healthier than fried or baked snacks, these contain 50% less fat than standard potato crisps. They come in 6 flavours, 4 of which are gluten free.  The product contains less than 11% fat and is low in saturates.  I received the Barbecue and the Salt & Vinegar flavours. Hip Pops contain around 99 calories per 25g serving.

Hip Pops Soya & Potato Snacks - Degustabox Review - motherdistracted.co.uk
Hip Pops Soya & Potato Snacks

Betavivo Oat Cereal (£1.00 x 2)

Betavivo Oat Cereal - Degustabox review - motherdistracted.co.uk
Betavivo Oat Cereal

Betavivo is a crispy oat heart cereal which is proven to lower your cholesterol and blood glucose. One daily serving provides the 3g of beta-glucan from oats needed to reduce your blood cholesterol as well as helping to reduce the amount of blood glucose your body produces.

Nothing But Freeze Dried Fruit Slice Snacks (£1.69 x 2)

Nothing But Freeze Dried Fruit Slice Snacks - Degustabox review - motherdistracted.co.uk
Nothing But Freeze Dried Fruit Slice Snacks

Nothing But is a healthy freeze-dried fruit and vegetable snack with under 80 calories per bag.  Each packet also counts as 1 of your 5-a-day.  I had the yummy Pineapple & Grape and Strawberry & Banana varieties.

Fabulous Bakers Mango & Pineapple Bars (£1.80)

Fabulous Bakers Mango & Pineapple Bars - Degustabox Review - motherdistracted.co.uk
Fabulous Bakers Mango & Pineapple Bars

We are already big fans of Fabulous Bakers.  These snack bars are made with all natural ingredients and contain no ‘nasties’ or added sugar.  They are made with real fruit, slow release energy oats and are also high in fibre.

Koko Dairy Free Milk Alternative (£1.79)

Koko Original Dairy Free Milk Alternative - Degustabox review - motherdistracted.co.uk
Koko Dairy Free Original Milk Alternative

This is a unique alternative to cow’s milk as it’s made with freshly pressed coconut milk.  It contains fewer calories than skimmed milk, has 0% cholesterol and is 100% allergen free.  It tastes remarkably like cow’s milk on breakfast cereals and doesn’t curdle in your tea or coffee.

Crabbies Light (£1.49) & Red Square Toffee Mini Vodka (£1.99)

Crabbies Alcoholic Light Ginger Beer & Red Square Toffee Mini Vodka - Degustabox review - motherdistracted.co.uk
Crabbies Alcoholic Light Ginger Beer & Red Square Toffee Mini Vodka

Now I’m not entirely sure these two can be classed as ‘healthy’, especially given the new alcohol guidelines which cheerful state that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. But, on the basis that a little of what you fancy must still surely do you some good, I’m prepare to suspend any disbelief.

Crabbies Alcoholic Light Ginger Beer has half the ginger of the original for a lighter taste and 2.8% vol per 330ml of the beverage.

Red Square Toffee Vodka is made with 7 times distilled and 100% pure vodka and Degustabox have helpfully given a recipe for a pick-me-up cocktail on the reverse of their information leaflet.  To make a “Crabbie’s Toffee Mule”, simply combine 25ml of Red Square Toffee with 330ml of Crabbies and add some ice.  Simples.

Complete Energy (£1.99), Drink Me Chai (free gift) & Happy Monkey Smoothies (£1.00)

Complete Energy, Drink Me Chai & Happy Monkey Smoothie - Degustabox review - motherdistracted.co.uk
Complete Energy, Drink Me Chai & Happy Monkey Smoothie

Complete Energy Bites (£1.99)

These are low-calorie chocolates infused with caffeine.  In fact, 1 bite is the equivalent of a large premium coffee.  They provide an instant energy boost to help improve your alertness, endurance and physical energy.  The Husband has tried them as an energy boost on an early morning sprint from Cardiff to London and says they certainly do the trick.  Just be careful not to take too many – it is caffeine after all, and there’s an advisory note on the box.

Happy Monkey Smoothies (£1.00) – DB Discovery

These smoothies have no added bits and give children 1 of their 5-a-day.  They come in 3 flavours, Strawberry & Banana, Orange & Mango and Apple & Blackcurrant.  They are made from 100% pure fruit and are free from sweeteners and preservatives.  They come in boxes of four and are ideal for lunchboxes.

Drink Me Chai (free gift)

Chai seems to be growing in popularity but I must confess I’m not a particular fan.  This one is spiced with a hint of clove and has only 42 calories per cup.  It’s available to buy in Waitrose, Sainsbury and Ocado.

The total retail value of the box is £19.94, good value given the cost of the box was £12.99. If you like the excitement of a monthly present and enjoy trying out new brands, I think Degustabox is a great scheme. I’d place it firmly in the ‘treat’ category but the price is low enough to make it attractive. A Degustabox subscription would also make a great gift. You can cancel at any time, as long as you give them sufficient notice to stop next month’s box.

Please note, though that Degustabox can only deliver to Mainland UK and not to Northern Ireland, the Scottish Highlands and Islands and you must be over 18 to order.

Further information is available at the Degustabox UK website.

What did you think of the December Degustabox?

 *PR Samples were received for this post

Win A Degustabox Of Foodie Treats

Degustabox is a monthly subscription food box service with each box containing between 9 and 14 products from well known and / or up-and-coming brands. Each box costs £12.99 including delivery and the value of the box contents is promised to be far greater than this, based on what you would expect to pay if you bought the items in the shops.

Once you have received your box, you are encouraged to review the products and let the brands know what you thought – whether you liked the item or not.

As with all monthly box subscription services (as you know I have regularly reviewed Glossybox, the monthly beauty box subscription service), the thrill is in the surprise of the contents and the anticipation of receiving a present just for you.  Yes I know you are supposed to share it but we mothers have to, er, vet the contents thoroughly, don’t we?

I was sent the September box to try and it contains a lovely mix of sweet and even boozy treats. There is a selected list of products for each month published on the website but not everyone receives the same combination.

Here’s what was in mine.

There was a mixture of brands I already knew but quite a few I’d heard of but not got round to trying. Actually, I think this box was designed specifically for me.

There were 8 products from September’s selection and 2 which Degustabox call their “Db’s Discoveries”.

UP & GO Breakfast Drink & Complete® Energy Bites

Up & Go is a nutritious breakfast drink from Australia intended to replace a bowl of cereal and milk when you are rushing out of the door in the morning.  Complete® Energy Bites are low calorie chocolates infused with caffeine.  They say that 1 energy bite is the equivalent of a 1 large premium coffee.  I won’t be trying these in the evening but they might be ideal for the mid afternoon, pre-school run slump!

Maynards Wine Gums, Bassets Jelly Babies, Mallow & Marsh Marshmallows and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

I have to say that, although I am prepared to relinquish custody of the wine gums to the Husband, everything else in the above picture is mine – and if you haven’t tried a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, you really need to.

There was a pack of Maynards Red & Black Wine Gums, a pack of Bassets Jelly Babies in “Berry Mix”, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (peanut butter covered in Hershey’s chocolate) and a raspberry marshmallow mini box from Mallow & Marsh.

The Good Cider of San Sebastian & Sweet Sally Tea

Lastly, there were two bottles of cider (1 apple, 1 pear) from Spanish cider producer The Good Cider of San Sebastian and a bottle of Sweet Sallly Tea, Ceylon black tea with Spanish oranges, Sicilian lemons, suger and a blend of cinnamon and cloves.  Both brands are new to me.

The 2 “DB’s Discoveries” this month were Portlebay Popcorn (in cappuccino and sweet & salty flavours) and TG Green Tea (with Ginseng, and with Mandarin & Ginseng).

Portlebay Popcorn & TG Green Tea

Portlebay Popcorn is actually handmade in Devon using totally natural seasonings.  TG Green Teas are natural energy infusions which are low in sugar and contain ‘good-for-you’ ingredients.

Degustabox also include a cheat sheet detailing all the brands and what you could expect to pay for them in the supermarket and a couple of handy recipes to try out the contents of the box.

My only quibble is that my recipes were for soups – lovely but nothing in the box to make them with. One of the other listed products for September was a Greek olive oil from The Olive Shop which would have been used in both recipes so I’m not sure I got the right leaflet.

The total retail value of the box is £24.97, good value given the cost of the box was £12.99.  If you like the excitement of a monthly present and enjoy trying out new brands, I think Degustabox is a great scheme.  I’d place it firmly in the ‘treat’ category but the price is low enough to make it attractive.  Currently, if the four of us go for a coffee and a bun, for example, we usually end up paying around the £15 mark.  (Yes I know, find the thermos!).  A Degustabox subscription would also make a great gift.  You can cancel at any time, as long as you give them sufficient notice to stop next month’s box.

Please note, though that Degustabox can only deliver to Mainland UK and not to Northern Ireland, the Scottish Highlands and Islands and you must be over 18 to order.

I have an October Degustabox to give away to one lucky winner and no, I can’t tell you the contents because it will be a surprise.  Simply enter via the Rafflecopter below.  Sorry, but Mainland UK entrants only.  The giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on Friday 2nd October 2015.

If you don’t win but would like to give Degustabox a try, I also have a discount code for first time subscribers for a very generous £6 off your first box. Simply enter BLDEG15 at checkout.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reminder: all entrants need to be
resident in mainland UK (excluding Northern Ireland and Scottish Highlands and
Islands) and over 18.

Further information is available at the Degustabox UK website,  or you can talk to them on Facebook or on Twitter.

Glossybox Vive La France – July Edition

This is the last box of my six month subscription to Glossybox.

For those of you not aware of the concept, Glossybox is a monthly beauty subscription box containing 5 hand picked beauty samples wrapped in a signature pink box.

Some of these samples may actually be full size products.

This month Glossybox is a collector’s edition inspired by “all things French” and claims to be a “tour de force of our favourite French finds that contain ingredients that really work”.

The box is curated by Jamie Lee Reardin who is France’s “it” artist of the moment who has put pencil to paper for Chanel, Givenchy and Christian Dior and created “Mademoiselle Glossy”, who features both on the box and on the cute little travel pouch which is the centrepiece of this month’s box.

You can find out more about Jamie on Instagram at @JamieLeeReardin.

Frankly I would have preferred a ‘Madame Glossy’ but clearly Glossybox is targeting a younger audience who are perhaps more likely to immerse themselves in a wider variety of brands and are less brand loyal than older subscribers.  (Remember the tattoos from last month?!).

Actually, the whole beauty box concept needs a bit of a shake-up I think – where are the boxes targeting the 40+s?

I have written before about the fact that this age group (and higher) is actually where the most disposable income is but, as usual, the beauty industry has not yet worked out what to do with us, nor (with the possible exception of L’Oréal) how to market to us.

I still don’t think Glossybox is using the information it collects from its subscribers to maximum effect.  It’s still a one-size-fits-all box.

But I digress.  Let’s dive in to this month’s contents.

There’s an interesting mix of products in this box and, yes, they’re French.

The strange thing about French skincare products is that they often manage to be very effective whilst at the same time being unremittingly dull and unengaging, lost in a sea of meaningless beauty marketing speak.

The value of this box is a little questionable too.

Aside from Glossybox’s own travel pouch (which is valued at £3.99), there is just one full size product in the box and, you’ve guessed it, it’s a lip balm – Lollipops Balm Délicieuse at £4.15.

There is no way of valuing the sample products which are 25 ml, 15ml and 2 x 3 ml.

That makes this box the worst of the six in terms of value.

The move into its own products is an interesting one but a bit of a shame if this is the route Glossybox is going down.

The whole point of a beauty box subscription is to try other brands and to provide a platform for those brands who would otherwise not reach a wider audience.

You can only imagine how difficult it must be to win a spot on the shelves in Boots or Superdrug.

Although perfectly understandable from a business point of view, there’s something a little cynical about passing off ‘Glossybox’ own products as a bona fide item in a beauty subscription box.

Mademoiselle Glossy Travel Pouch – £3.99

So this is centrepiece of the box, the travel pouch designed by Jamie Lee Reardin.

This is a zip-lock pouch to keep your beauty essentials safe through security or for use as an everyday make-up bag.

noxidoxi Enhancing Serum Base Sample Size – 25 ml (Full Size £33.46)

This serum is from Bordeaux brand noxidoxi and has a “CRC6 moisturising complex” (see what I mean about jargon!) to hydrate the skin’s surface as well as the deeper layers and includes “a cocktail of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to protect the skin”.

It is to be worn under moisturiser.

Teoxane Cosmeceuticals Perfect Skin Refiner – Sample Size 15ml (Full Size £70)

This is Perfect Skin Refiner for night from Teoxane Cosmeceuticals.

It has hyaluronic acid “to plump and hydrate skin” and 10% glycolic acid to “help resurface the skin”. You are advised to use it every other night because you might feel a ‘mild tingling’ at first.

You’re also advised to wear a high SPF during the day.

I can confirm you certainly DO feel a tingling (I’d call it stinging) and if you have sensitive skin I’d be tempted to leave this one in the box.

Vichy Ideal Soleil Tinted Velvety BB Cream, 2 x 3ml (Full Size £15.50)

Then we have two 3 ml samples of Vichy’s Ideal Soleil Tinted Velvety BB Cream.

I always find Vichy’s products to be very good quality and this BB cream, although quite dark when applied, blends to a really nice finish with a subtle hint of colour.

I’m not sure I needed Glossybox to introduce me to Vichy which you can pick up in Boots, even though it is a French brand in keeping with this month’s theme.

Surely there are loads of other French brands just waiting to be discovered.

Lollipops Lip Balm Délicieuse – Full Size £4.15

Lastly, we have yet another lip balm.

This is from Paris-based brand Lollipops – Lollipops Lip Balm Délicieuse, which is described as containing antioxidants and vitamin E.  It’s colourless and has a strange sweet taste.

Am I happy?

I would have preferred less art and more product in this box.

A beauty subscription box should be about the products and not the box – and this is the third ‘collectors’ box I’ve had out of 6.

Let’s not forget that, even though the cost of the box is anywhere from £8.50 to £10, depending on the length of your subscription, the postage is a static £3.25 irrespective of the weight of the box.

Glossybox claims that the minimum value of this box is £52.

I don’t think anyone really considers the value of sample sizes in their box because the whole point of a sample is that it is given away FREE at point of sale to encourage sales of the full size product.

So no, I really don’t think this month’s box is worth a fraction of that.

I have enjoyed receiving my Glossybox each month but most of the products are still sitting in them waiting to be used or, more likely given away.

I may subscribe to another beauty box to see if any of them get the balance right between value of product and the brands they contain.

But for around £14 each month, I may just be better off going to my local highstreet drugstore.

Glossybox can be contacted at www.glossybox.co.uk, on Twitter at @glossyboxuk and on Facebook as www.facebook.com/GlossyBox.co.uk.

*This is a completely independent review based on my own Glossybox purchase.

Glossybox June Edition – The Festival Edit

This is box five of a six-month subscription to Glossybox. For those of you not aware of the concept, Glossybox is a monthly beauty subscription box containing 5 hand picked beauty samples wrapped in a signature pink box. Some of these samples may actually be full-size products.

 

This month Glossybox is all about “revelling in festival season or hitting a sun-drenched beach” and contains “exclusively designed faux tattoos… to the quick fixes that keep the skin fresh and flawless in the heat”.  To be honest this box looks like an idea which made sense when it was conceived but falls a bit flat in the execution.  For a start, how many of us actually go to a festival?  And the last time I wore a temporary tattoo I was about Caitlin’s age.

The mix of products is a little odd too, even though there are three full-size products in this month’s box (although one of these is a sheet of tattoos).  In amongst the nail varnish and facial mist are an anticellulite boost and a packet of facial wipes.

The box contains 3 full sized products worth £22.76 together and two sample products, one of which is £1.20 and the value of the other not listed. The cost of each box is £10 plus packaging (£3.25), so, again, I have received more than I paid for.

The first full-size product in the box is a sheet of Glossybox’s Flash Tattoos (£6.50). There are 12 tattoos and frankly, I’m not sure the sheet is worth the rather notional price Glossybox has given it. Application is by a damp cloth and the tattoos will apparently last a week.  I might try one later to convince the Husband I’ve had a moment of madness whilst out shopping but they hardly look convincing.  Rather more Art Deco bookbinding than festival tattoo craziness I’m thinking.

 

The second full-size product is the Anticellulite Booster from Spanish company Kueshi (£14.55) which is a lightweight cream with “a hard-hitting mix of natural ingredients and antioxidants to stimulate blood circulation, in turn toning your skin and fighting off any dimples.  I don’t actually have any cellulite but the cream is pleasant enough, although somewhat sticky.  The natural ingredients include Astralagus, Butchers Broom, Lemon Peel and Goldenrod Flowers.  The website www.kueshi.com is pretty spartan and I can find no obvious way of purchasing the product which is a little odd.

The final full-size product is a “The Gel Nail Polish” in “I Don’t Care” from Essence (£1.71). You don’t need a lamp but you do need a base coat and a top coat so supplying one out of the three products needed to test the product doesn’t make sense to me.  I also find it hard to get excited about a product that costs the princely total of £1.71. The polish is described as “having a long-lasting gel formula for an amazingly shiny manicure that endures all week”. The products seem to be ready to buy from your local branch of Wilko.

The first sample product is Monu Spa’s Rosewood Reviving Mist (full size £11.95) which contains a ‘zesty blend of essential oils including lemon, rosewood and geranium’ which you mist over your face to refresh and set make-up.  You could also spray all over to hydrate skin after a bath, shower or swim (which seems like a very expensive way to use the product to me).  Readers of this blog know I’m not a fan of facial mists (I really can’t see the point) but this one smells pleasant enough, although I can find no mention of whether it is suitable for sensitive skins and, just because it contains essential oils, does not mean it is necessarily that gentle.

The last of this month’s treats is a sample size of Halo Fragrance-Free Facial Wipes (10 wipes, suitable for sensitive skin) which have gone straight into my handbag for emergencies.  I have heard of Halo and I can see the logic of their inclusion in the “Festival Edit” but I’m not sure it fits into the overall Glossybox ethos of introducing new and slightly higher end or different beauty brands.

So there you have it.  The “Festival Edit”.  To be honest I’m not sure the rest of us are as in love with “festival experience chic” as the glossy magazine editors seem to be.  My own ‘edit’ would have included antibacterial hand-gel, a plastic rain hood and some paracetamol.  Best not let me loose on editing the next box then, although I might also have included some chocolate.

Am I happy? This is definitely not the best box I have had but I can’t quibble about the value of the products.  I have one more box in my 6-month subscription to go in July (with a promised French theme) after which I will be deciding whether to stick with Glossybox or, as is more likely, to try one of the many other beauty boxes out there.

I’d love to know which ones you think I should try.  Or are you a die-hard fan of Glossybox?

Disclosure: This is a completely independent review; The Glossybox subscription is my own purchase.

Glossybox can be contacted at www.glossybox.co.uk.

Glossybox – May Edition – Summer’s Calling

This is box four of a six month subscription to Glossybox. For those of you not aware of the concept, Glossybox is a monthly beauty subscription box containing 5 hand picked beauty samples wrapped in a signature pink box. Some of these samples may actually be full size products.

This month Glossybox is all about getting ready for summer – beautifully. It contains “all the essentials you need to prep for the balmy days ahead”.

I was ready for a change of products and was pleased to find Glossybox had mixed it up a bit this month. I’m not sure I could have coped with yet another lip balm. Unlike last month’s box, which looked a bit spartan, this one looks good value as soon as you take the lid off. Funnily though, the actual value of this month’s box is hard to gauge. It contains two full sized products worth £22.88 together and three sample products, one of which is £3.99 and the value of the other two aren’t listed. The cost of each box is £10 plus packaging (£3.25), so I have still received more than I paid for.

The box contained:-

The star product in this month’s box is the MeMeMe Enchanted Eyes Dual Ended Eye Wand which has two blue tones. The shadows are beautifully soft and do not drag on the skin – always a pet hate of mine. The full size product costs £6.95 but MeMeMe are offering 25% off all orders made on their website by the end of May using the special Glossy code.

The second full size product in this month’s box is the Aloe Vera Ultra Moisturising Gel by Etre Belle. This product is designed as an instant rescue product, being a cooling gel which is claimed to deliver moisture “deep below the surface” and help post sun skin. I am always suspicious about claims that a product can penetrate the dermis (deeper layers of the skin) but this gel does offer a cooling effect (albeit fleeting) and absorbs quickly. I did find it rather sticky but you would need this to help the product to last long enough to soothe sun sore skin. The Etre Belle Aloe Vera Ultra Moisturising Gel costs £15.93 and is available from their website at www.etre-belle.co.

The first sample product is Zerreau’s Towel Off Shampoo Foam in a 70ml size which retails at £3.99. This is the next generation of dry shampoo, say Glossybox. It has a towel off foam formula which allows you to wash your hair without water. You apply, massage it in and towel it off. This product is infused with a delicate apple scent so your hair smells fresh. The full size product (180ml) retails at £7.95.

The second sample and fourth product in the box is coincidentally from a range I had already heard about. SASS is a new range which claims to maintain your ‘intimate harmony and help to prevent unwanted smells, has products which are dermatologically tested and gynaecologist approved and are not tested on animals. The range includes cleansers, freshness mists and gels and an anti-dryness product.

The one in the box is SASS Intimate Perfect Skin Concentrate which is meant to soothe the skin and reduce hair growth post-shave. It has exfoliating ingredients including salicylic acid and fruit enzymes which, SASS say, “delicately exfoliate to ensure ingrown hairs are a thing of the past”. The product retails at £12 for the full size. There is a sample of 30 ml in the box. Time will tell with this one. I have not tried it but the mention of salicylic acid makes me a bit wary. The SASS range is exclusively available at www.boots.com.

The last of this month’s treats is a sample size of Philosophy’s renewed hope in a jar refreshing & refining moisturizer. Philosophy is a range I have heard of but never tried, finding their price point a little high, compared to the many lower priced excellent moisturizers out there. This product is said to be a favourite from “celebrities to top dermatologists”. It is said to work to “reduce the appearance of lines, discolouration and uneven texture”. I can see where it got its name from. Any fans out there? I’d love to hear if it’s worked for you. The full size product retails at £35.50 and is available from boots.com. If you want to try this product, you can get £7.50 off when you buy either the moisturizer or eye cream using the Glossy code before 23 June.

Am I happy? Again, yes. I must admit I do enjoy the arrival of my Glossybox each month. It’s like receiving an extra birthday present. Full marks to Glossybox so far.

Do you subscribe to a monthly beauty box? Which one is your favourite and are there others I should check out?

Disclosure: This is a completely independent review; The Glossybox subscription is my own purchase.

Glossybox can be contacted at www.glossybox.co.uk, on Twitter at @glossyboxuk and on Facebook as www.facebook.com/GlossyBox.co.uk

Glossybox Monthly Beauty Box – The Iconic Edit

I recently took out a Glossybox monthly beauty box subscription for six months.  This is my review of the April 2015 box.

For those of you not aware of the concept, Glossybox is a monthly beauty subscription box containing 5 hand-picked beauty samples wrapped in a signature pink box.

Some of these samples may actually be full-size products.

This month Glossybox is paying homage to beauty and Hollywood royalty.

There are four collectors’ boxes featuring Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Rita Haywood and Marilyn Monroe.

Guess which one I had!

 

Lift the lid to reveal the cute pink ribbon and tissue paper
April goodies:  the box contained 3 full sized products and 2 sample products

I was a bit underwhelmed by the contents of this box which I was particularly looking forward to.

The problem is that the size of this month’s products don’t really fill the box, even though the actual value of the box is £20.60 plus the value of the two samples.

However, given that the cost of each box is £10 plus packaging (£3.25), I don’t think this box is as good value as the previous two I have received.

The box contained:-

Lord & Berry Lipstick Pencil in Kiss – full size £10

The star product in this month’s box is the Lord & Berry lipstick pencil in ‘Kiss’, which Glossybox describe as a classic pillar box red, ideal for Marilyn Monroe.

Long-lasting and softening, it has a matte finish. Lord & Berry are a boutique Italian fashion house based in Milan, whose philosophy is to turn make-up into a true fashion accessory.

They say their products are for women of all ages everywhere – without cultural or national borders.

POP Beauty Kajal Eyeliner Pen – Full Size £6.50

The second full-size product in this month’s box is the POP Beauty Kajal eyeliner pen which Glossybox say is ideal for creating Elizabeth Taylor’s iconic cat eye. (If only I could!).

The pencil has a smudger on the other end to help blend. POP has grown from having a cult following in London to having a worldwide fan base.

They aim to bring backstage secrets and make-up artistry to the street, bringing the essence of POP culture from the world of fashion, art and music.

Color Club Barely There Nail Polish, Full Size £4.10

The third and final full-size product this month is Color Club‘s Barely There Nail Polish, a nude shade which complements any skin tone.  Color Club is based in New York.  They over 250 shades and have recently been featured in InStyle and Vogue.

Darphin Exquisage Beauty Revealing Cream – Sample Size.  Full size £65 for 50 ml

The fourth product is a sample of  Darphin’s Exquisage Beauty Revealing Cream which aims to replenish skin, enhance firmness and boost luminosity for that ‘sought after red carpet glow’.  Darphin is a French brand specialising in skin care – specifically a range of potent moisturisers and serums.

Nougat London’s Soothing Bath Pearls – sample size – full size £6 for 35 ml

The last of this month’s treats is a mini bag of Nougat London’s Soothing Bath Pearls, an indulgent pre-event or party treat.  The pearls have a delicate fragrance and leave a subtle shimmer which stays on the skin and claims to create a ‘limb-lengthening sheen’. Nougat London was established as a fashion brand in London’s West End in the ’90s.  Their bath and body range was launched in 2000 and none of the ingredients is tested on animals.

One of Glossybox’s new strengths is that they include discount codes, make-up how to leaflets and video tutorials.

The April tutorial video is certainly worth a watch.

Am I happy?  Yes.

What the box lacks in content value is made up for by the support from Glossybox.

Everything arrived in pristine condition and was nicely packaged.

I’m looking forward to the May box and it will soon be time to decide whether to renew my subscription.

Do you subscribe to a monthly beauty box?

Which one is your favourite and are there others I should check out?

Fancy a Glossybox monthly beauty box subscription?  Find out more at www.glossybox.co.uk.

Review: Glossybox March 2015 Edition

This is box two of a six-month subscription to Glossybox.

For those of you not aware of the concept, Glossybox is a monthly beauty subscription box containing 5 hand-picked beauty samples wrapped in a signature pink box.

Some of these samples may actually be full-size products.

The pink Glossybox
Glossybox

 

Glossybox Interior
The excitement of opening the box

 

Inside the March Glossybox
Look what’s in the box

This box did not disappoint and contained 4 full sized products and 2 sample products.

I was pleased to see that some thought had been given to the age appropriateness of the box contents.

The box contained:-

Naobay Moisturizing Peeling
Naobay Moisturizing Peeling

Naobay Moisturizing Peeling (full size – £13.71) an organic peeling milk from Spain which uses particles from the acai tree to remove dull dead skin cells.

It has a lovely citrusy fragrance and although the milk is quite thin, buffs the skin nicely.

Naobay stands for Natural Organic Beauty And You and their products contain no artificial ingredients.

Lash Princess Volume Mascara
Lash Princess Volume Mascara

Lash Princess Volume Mascara (full size – £3.30).

The mascara has a cobra head shaped wand which grabs each lash to create length and ‘dramatic volume’.

Essence is Europe’s number 1 cosmetic brand (according to Euromonitor International in 2012).

They strongly disapprove of testing on animals and believe in total transparency when it comes to ingredients which are listed next to the product on the website.

Dove Youthful Vitality Shampoo
Dove Youth Vitality Shampoo

Dove Advanced Hair Series Youthful Vitality Shampoo & Conditioner (sample sizes of both.

Full sizes retail at £5.99 for 250ml).

I found the shampoo and conditioner very light compared with my usual shampoo and conditioner (Elvive Fibrology) but, sadly, not conditioning enough for my long hair.

Full marks though for popping in product samples suitable for older subscribers.

ncLA Nail Varnish in Santa Monica Shore Thing
ncLA Nail Varnish in Santa Monica Shore Thing

ncLA nail lacquer in “Santa Monica Shore Thing”, a neon pastel green (full-size £13 for 15ml).

The lacquer is free of toxins and quick dry but I have to say I’m really not sure about the colour.

ncLA, who is a high-end beauty brand based in Los Angeles, want to offer a “little bit of Californian love on your fingertips” and pride themselves on their collaborations with niche fashion labels and Glamour Magazine in 2012.

Carmex Lip Balm
Carmex Moisture Lip Balm in Berry Sheer Tint

Carmex Moisture Plus Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm (full size -£4.49 for 2g) – this is a sheer tint in Berry which contains “superfood” ingredients such as Vitamin E, aloe and shea butter.

Cult product it may be but this is the third lip product in two boxes (with the promise of a full size Lord & Berry Crayon Lipstick in the April box) and I wonder if Glossybox is in danger of focusing on lip balms to too great a degree.

This lip balm will be staying in its packaging for the time being.

I estimate the value of the box to be at least £35 which, again, is certainly good value given the £10 cost of the box.

Am I happy?

Aside from one or two niggles (I’m not sure Dove is a brand I would have expected to be included, good though it is and I’m not a fan of the nail colour), I’m still content.

Everything arrived in pristine condition and nicely packaged.  I’m looking forward to the April box.

Glossybox can be contacted at www.glossybox.co.uk.

*This is a completely independent review;  The Glossybox subscription is my own purchase.

Review: Glossybox February 2015 Reveal: The Love Edition

I first took out a subscription to Glossybox a couple of years ago when they launched in the UK.  

For those of you not aware of the concept, Glossybox is a monthly beauty subscription box containing 5 hand picked beauty samples wrapped in a signature pink box.  

Some of these samples may actually be full size products.

Glossybox February – The Love Edition

Lift the lid to reveal the cute pink ribbon and tissue paper

I think it’s fair to say, that in the beginning, there were a few issues with the safe delivery of the samples and the perceived value of the items in the box.  

I cancelled when the HD Brows compact in my box arrived smashed, having covered the remaining box contents in black brow powder! 

February goodies

That said,  Glossybox  has certainly built its profile on social media, together with a faithful following and the company now offers an ‘Beauty Unboxed’ tutorial video which shows you how to use the products you have received and a website which highlights trends and features new products. 

The price has remained pretty constant too – depending on your subscription plan, boxes cost around £10 per month plus delivery around the £3.25 mark.

The other previous gripe I recall is that, despite entering details of hair colour, eye colour, etc, early customers felt that the boxes were not sufficiently tailored but, in fairness to Glossybox, doing this would be a logistical nightmare and I think they would be better off concentrating less on individualising the boxes.  

I’m also interested to see how appropriate the samples may be across the age ranges, or whether the products are firmly aimed at the 20-30 age group.

So I have taken out a six month subscription to see if I can ‘feel the love’ again for Glossybox as I like the concept of the beauty box.

It’s a monthly treat at a relatively budget friendly price (speaking as someone who seems to be unable to leave Boots these days without having spent at least £30 just on basic toiletries).

So, what’s in the box? 

The box contains 3 full sized products and 2 sample products

– a Wilkinson Sword Hydro Silk (full size – £9.99) razor which has a water-activated bar of moisturising serum infused with marine extracts and shea butter.

– a Marsk mineral eyeshadow (full size – £14.49) in “Fifty Shades” (no prizes for guessing which movie this refers to), a highly pigmented, mineral, powder-based eye shadow which is 100% natural.

– a Royal Apothic Tinties lip balm (full size – $14 for 3.4g) – this is a Los Angeles brand allegedly favoured by Victoria Beckham.  

The balm contains shea butter and a trio of oils (argan, grape seed and almond) to nourish lips.

– a So Susan Rose Quartet Lip & Cheek Palette (sample size) in pinks or crimson

– Vichy Liftactiv Plus (sample size) – a cream that works to banish the signs of ageing as they appear.

I estimate the value of the box to be at least £30 which is certainly good value given the £10 cost of the box.

Am I happy?  

So far so good.  

Everything arrived in pristine condition and nicely packaged.  

I’m looking forward to this month’s tutorial video to give me some more information about these products.  

And the March box will contain a full sized Naobay moisturizing peeling, a facial milk which is said to gently peel skin with the natural properties of Acai and Gotu Kola (a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine).

My feelings towards Glossybox have certainly warmed up.

Glossybox can be contacted at www.glossybox.co.uk, on Twitter at @glossyboxuk and on Facebook as www.facebook.com/GlossyBox.co.uk.


*This is a completely independent review;  The Glossybox subscription is my own purchase.