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In Bloom | April Birchbox

This month's Birchbox was Spring-themed and titled 'In Bloom' and included a blossom tree on the front of its glossy magazine. To me, Birchbox is by far the most aesthetically pleasing box out there - however, I do have a gripe with it. After watching numerous Birchbox videos on YouTube over the past few years, I've come to notice that although seemingly identical, the US Birchbox design is far superior to our UK boxes. Aside from the missing pink border, the lids on the US boxes are more shallow and therefore easier to take off. I have been struggling with the lids on our UK boxes and feel this should be looked into as I have resorted to shaking the box incessantly which may potentially damage the products inside. Better yet, have the boxes designed like the men's drawer-pull Birchboxes. That way, they can be glued on top of each other and used as storage drawers.

The magazine is great as always, it's packed full of information on the products in your box as well as other complimenting products that you can buy from the Birchbox website. It also comes with helpful tips and tricks. I find that the magazine usually fits the theme of the box more than the items itself. I particularly like this month's magazine as it features the handsome Ryan Gosling (who I am currently obsessing over) and Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones.

Products In Box
S Gerda Spillmann - Renaissance Age Serum
F La Societe Parisienne De Savons - Soap
F Mirenesse - Glossy Kiss
S Weleda - Skin Food
S Green & Spring - Relaxing Shampoo

Lifestyle Extra
F Birchbox Paname Paris - Mirror

The Gerda Spillmann Renaissance Age Serum, I was very disappointed with. While 20 is the age you begin your lifelong battle with ageing, I assume that this minuscule sample is less than enough to show any visible improvement. It has a slight nutty scent which I find very nice and its watery gel consistency means that it sinks into the skin immediately which is exactly what you want from an anti-ageing serum.

As for the soap, again I was disappointed. Firstly, I assumed it to be a pressed powder, with the box almost resembling Benefit but I was sorely mistaken, for it was only soap. I am not a fan of bar soap as it is and hoped the scent would at least be enticing enough to excite me but alas, it just smelt like any regular soap. The brand is La Societe Parisienne Des La Savons and this particular soap is called Savonia.

The Mirenesse Glossy Kiss is by far the product I most enjoy. Similar to the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains, the Clinique Chubby Sticks and the Barry M Lip Lacquers, the concept is not unique but safe. The colour is a deep pink with a peach undertone and gold shimmer. I can only describe this as NARS Orgasm in lipstick form. It's very soft and glides on beautifully. It's very pigmented and evenly distributed. The only problem I find is that you can't twist the product up and although the Birchbox card says to sharpen the crayon, I find this is near impossible as the crayon packaging itself is hard plastic.

I'm always happy to receive lotions and moisturisers as I feel you can never have too much. I've never tried anything by Weleda but have heard very good reviews of their products. Reading that Victoria Beckham uses their products is comforting to know too. The cream is very thick and does require some working in for it to sink into the skin. It has a lemon grass smell which I really like and comes in a sealed metal tube.

The Green & Spring Relaxing Shampoo however is very pungent and very floral; too floral. It almost stings my sinuses and I don't have a sensitive nose. The combination of lavender and rosemary amongst many other smells makes it very offensive to the nose and overpowering. I keep smelling it in hope that perhaps I had put too much to close to my nose but every time I open it I make a really un-sexy face.

The lifestyle extra was the Birchbox/Paname Paris collaboration mirror which I found to be a nice touch but merely that. This is not be the type of mirror I would carry in my bag as the mirror is exposed and is prone to damage and dirt. I also find that it is too small to be used as a dressing table mirror so I will probably gift this to a friend.

Now, because I am a nerd, I created this chart on Excel that is to be filled in for each box received. I don't trust that the RRP's on the card are 100% accurate 100% of the time so I decided to work out the value of the box per single unit in accordance the the actual RRP. In terms of researching RRP, I do not use sites like Amazon or eBay where the item may be found discounted, I will look either on the product's official website or through an official online stockist.


Gerda Spillmann Renaissance Age Serum - This is a sample size of 3ml with the full size working out to be around 30ml. The Birchbox RRP is £69 making the 3ml worth £6.99. I actually found the RRP to be much higher at $129 which makes the 3ml sample worth £13.07. However, I do believe the value has been lost in translation as this is a US product.

La Societe Parisienne De Savon Soap - The Birchbox flyer assumes that this too is a sample size as it has stated the full size costing £8.50 which is true for the 100g. But this is a 50g soap which is also a full size item on the official La Societe Parisienne De Savon website stating that is costs 5 Euros which is roughly £4.31 which is half the RRP stated on the flyer.

Mirenesse Glossy Kiss - This is another tricky one too as it is a 4g product yet the official website states the full size is 3g. At first I thought that grams may be different in different countries much like fluid ounces but this turns out not to be true. With this aside, I worked out the value per unit and found that the 4g product is worth £19.64 as opposed to £17.50 stated on the card.

Weleda Skin Food - The RRP for this product is spot on. Per gram, this sample is worth £1.19.

Green & Spring Relaxing Shampoo - Again, the RRP for this is correct. Per gram, this sample is worth £2.66.

Birchbox Paname Mirror - This is a full size product and estimated at £7.50. This is 10 Euros and I have worked it out to be £8.66 so not far off the stated RRP.

In total, there are 3 samples and 3 full size items. The card states the box's worth to be £40.09. I have actually calculated the box to be worth more at £49.48 according to current conversion rates. The previous month, I worked out the box to be worth a lot less than it's perceived and stated value so it must vary between boxes.


Overall, I'm content with this box. There are six items altogether and there is an even and balanced number of samples and full sized products. Although there are a few products I wont use, I am happy with the majority of items. However, I would have liked a more interesting variety of products in my box other than shampoo, moisturiser and soap. I think I would've preferred the Natio products that other people received. The box doesn't particularly fit in with the theme but the magazine does have some Spring-themed topics.


MAC Prize Release Birthday Giveaway

Much to my joy/dismay (my mood will oscillate throughout the day), today celebrates the final year of being able to fall into the 18 - 24 age bracket. While I panic about my lack of achievements, you'll be glad to hear that a by-product of this comeuppance is a giveaway with a twist. In total, there are three prizes to be won, but only two prizes are immediately available to win with the third (and admittedly, the most desirable) being released after a whopping 1000 entries, so get tweeting! The giveaway will run for 24 days, a day for each year :)

March Birchbox: Great if you're considering subscribing to a sample box, changing existing boxes or just want an opportunity to try out more luxury samples. If you already have the March Birchbox, you may discover products that weren't included in your particular box.

The Science of Happy Sample Box:  I have compiled an one-off exclusive The Science of Happy sample box containing an array of products for you to enjoy including sachet samples and a few full size products.


Prize Release
MAC Guilty Passions Warm Crushed Metallic Pigments: From one of the more recent collections, this is a brand new limited edition MAC Guilty Passions pigment set containing Silky Stocking, Darling Coquette, Ever Elegant and Rose Light, beautifully packaged in a circular mint and black chevron-patterened box and decorated with an adorable black acrylic bow.

This is an international giveaway.
Giveaway ends on the 6th May 2013.
I am not responsible for any damages caused in transit but will do my utmost to ensure the protection of prizes.
I am not responsible for any additional charges incurred (customs charge etc) so be sure to double-check your country can receive these prizes.
All prizes are sent via UK Recorded Delivery or Airmail.
All winners will be notified within 24 hours from the end of the giveaway.
Any winners who fail to reply with an address after a week will lose the prize and it will be awarded to someone else.
Etc etc...
This is boring.
Mario was actually a carpenter before he became a plumber!


Guilty Passions [Giveaway Sneak Peak]

Amongst talks of a Stateside trip later on in the year, I have mainly been bargain hunting with friends and exercising. Now I'm no fitness freak, I'm far from it but after 23 years of gorging on anything that looked remotely edible, I decided that by taking advantage of my high metabolism, I was also programming into my brain a diet that would turn around and bite me on the ass later on in life. In terms of bargain hunting, I visited a nearby charity shop on a whim and picked up a brand new scarf, brand new heels, a top and a DVD that I'd been looking for, for £11.50!


Since it's my birthday on Friday, I've decided to hold another giveaway for my followers to say thank you. While there are no booby prizes this time around, a bonus prize will be released after a certain number of entries has been reached. Overall, there are three prizes to be won. Luckily, I have the day off on my birthday so the giveaway will be gracing your blog feed on the 12th April. And since I'm a tease, here is a sneak peak of Friday's birthday giveaway...


Mailbox App Review

If you're an iPhone user and like to keep up with the latest apps, then you may have come across hype over new app, Mailbox by Orchestra. Although not terribly innovative, the appeal of the app is mainly generated by human impatience. When the app has been downloaded, you are put into a queue of thousands before being able to have full access of the service. This produces a build-up of excitement and an overpowering air of eagerness. You find yourself obsessing over your queue position on a frequent basis, for me this was when I woke up, during the day (when I remembered) and before bed.

If you are unfamiliar with what Mailbox is exactly, it is an iPhone email app for Gmail users. Nothing mind-blowing? Well, you may be correct but the appeal of the app is the speed of email management and its aesthetically pleasing, clean minimalistic layout. It may not be incredibly ground-breaking but it's fast. You can cross the road and delete, label, archive and read your new emails before you reach the other side.

This app is a lot like the existing Gmail app but much simpler and user-friendly. It's great for those who don't want to spend too much time sorting through emails while going about their day. You also get the added satisfaction of a beautiful daily graphic as a reward for sorting out all your new mail. However, as with any app, there are flaws and I have to say that after two weeks of patiently waiting in a virtual queue, I was a little underwhelmed when I finally got to use it.

  1. Clean minimalistic uncluttered layout means you can access and manage emails without being bombarded with too much information and/or too many graphics.
  2. Ease of use; different swipes represent different functions meaning you don't have to remember a bunch of instructions to use the app effectively.
  3. Can be used to manage multiple accounts. At the moment, I am using all my (4) Gmail accounts with Mailbox.
  4. You can change the settings for the app either via the app itself or through your iPhone settings to cater to your specific needs. I couldn't stand that I was being notified of every single email (relevant and spam) by an alert message and alert sound, so I simply turned it off.


  1. Mistakes are easily made when rushing with this app. Since different swipes represent different actions, you have to be incredibly careful to swipe from the right point and at the right length to perform the right action.
  2. The app doesn't take into account your existing Gmail labels. I could not archive read emails in their relevant labels through this app. Those that need to be labelled, I simply don't read through the app and wait until I'm able to access my emails on a desktop, which defeats the whole purpose of the app.
  3. You can't mark messages as 'unread'. I like to read emails then mark them as unread when I need to refer to it later on. Granted, you can mark emails on Mailbox to 'read later' but the email disappears entirely until whenever 'later' is. I like to re-read emails whenever I next have access to them, which could be any time. You can mark emails on Mailbox to read later at a specific time and date, but to do this for every email you want to re-read is time consuming which again, defeats the point of the app. 
  4. Using the app completely changes your desktop email. This is what I found most infuriating. The main section of your desktop Gmail centres around this app, with your main inbox now only showing emails received since you first began using the app. It may seem like all your emails have been erased at first, but don't fret (or do, I did both) as they are all stored in a separate section called 'All Mail' which requires a lot more effort to get to. I found this particularly frustrating when performing searches as I like to search through my emails frequently. I found the whole process a lot more daunting as I knew I would have to hover my mouse over the line in the side menu, wait for the second section to reveal itself before clicking 'More', in order to locate 'All Mail' which would then grant me access to my actual inbox. 

Overall, it's a great app, but it's nothing special and although more aesthetically pleasing, it's probably less useful than my Gmail app which has lead me to choose the former over the latter. I would say that if you're looking for an app in which you can quickly and easily read, delete and archive emails without needing to use labels then this is the app for you but if you enjoy a more organised service like me, then this app is not worth the hype.

Also, it's been said that the reasoning behind the queue-based roll-out is to avoid service crashes but to me, it seems more of a marketing ploy. It's not exactly a unique app that everyone was going to rush out and download in haste, so I personally can't see the queueing being anything other than a marketing strategy. For me, Mailbox is just one app too many cluttering my iPhone...ironic no?