Belgibeer Subscription Box | A Multi Guest Review

30 December 2015

I was approached by the lovely people from Belgibeer about their amazing subscription box. One that all my male companions were envious of. It's a Belgian beer subscription box, described as "A new Belgian beer experience." The beer box is a monthly subscription to 8 bottles of craft Belgian beer, complete with coasters, a magazine, a beer glass/chalice and complimenting snacks. The website explains how in Belgium, each brewery will make their own glassware which corresponds to the texture of the beer that is to be poured into it, so basically - it compliments the beer! While I am not a beer drinker, I appreciate many have a passion for all the varieties and textures of beer. The creators of Belgibeer often have themed or seasonal boxes, one of which was sent to me to try and I have to say the Xmas Box was a hit with my guest reviewers. 

Gulden Spoor Netebuk Winter by Mark
"The Netebuk Winter is a nice dark, slightly carbonated stout. With a coffee & chocolate aroma, it is very smooth on the palette,with spicy/warm notes initially and a very slight nutty/hoppy after-taste. With an abv of 8%, it doesn't taste too strong but has enough about it to keep it interesting. A very nice stout in general."

Gulden Spoor Quadrupel by Beverley
"The Gulden Spoor Quadrupel is a sweet strong ale with a slight hoppy and citrus after-taste. Deliciously dark amber in colour with a superb sweet honey taste. It is very light at first with the sweet, citrus taste masking the fact that this ale is a whopping 9%. Which is strong enough to get you smashed on 2 sips if you haven't eaten."

Gulden Spoor Tripel by Jack
"The Gulden Spoor Tripel is a light pale ale with a good combination of hoppy and citrus after-taste. As with other Spoor beers, it is very light at first with a sweet, citrus taste masking the overall 'hoppiness' of the beer. A great pale ale beer for experts and beginners alike!"

Gulden Spoor Blond by Nick
"Crisp, refreshing and easy to drink. Citrus notes upfront, with a more hoppy aftertaste. Pleasant enough, and I'd have another...but nothing to majorly recommend it over 100 other beers."

As I don't drink beer, I chose to do what I do best - eat. The box came with six moderately sized chocolates from Dolfin. I would describe these to be the perfect size, none of this Quality Street bite-size nonsense. These chocolates were really unique in that their flavours varied greatly. Two of the chocolates varied in cocoa percentage, my favourite being the dark chocolate as it's my go-to plain flavour. I find milk chocolate becomes sickening after a while, whereas I can eat dark chocolate until it came out of my ears. Other flavours included orange, caramel, noisettes (which is hazelnut but my good friend and colleague Mark who reviewed the Netebuk Winter turned this into a tireless vocal recollection of the band The Noisettes and went on to sing this across from my desk..) and also Speculoos which I discovered was the Lotus biscuits you get with your coffee, and out of them all was my ultimate favourite.

I also received this gift box which was designed to hold four beers inside with the choice of an extra fifth beer or a glass in the middle. Perfect!

The subscription is only £24 a month for the 8 beers, coasters, magazine, snacks and glassware, which I believe to be quite a good deal, especially for craft beers. My box came with 5 beers but please note the usual subscribers boxes come with 8. The Xmas Box will finish after the 5th January but Belgibeer have a New Year's Box available, and also a Valentine's Box in February. 

Buddy Box Review | A Hug In A Box

3 December 2015

I had never heard or known of The Blurt Foundation until they approached me about their monthly Buddy Box. The Blurt Foundation focus on raising awareness and understanding of depression and its affect on daily life, that's where Buddy Box comes in. Buddy Box is a monthly care package/subscription box designed to pick up your spirit when times are tough. 

On the top of the pile first was a handwritten card from the Blurt Foundation team, and four postcards. The most intriguing postcard (and also most profound) was one that had a task on it to complete. You had to 'Write something nice to someone you've never met...' Of course, this excited me greatly. I wrote a tip that really helps me when I am feeling my lowest. When I am feeling hurt or upset, I put on any song that I love and can dance to and I dance in my room as if I were at a party. It fills you with happiness, confidence and helps increase blood flow. Even if the song lasts 4 minutes and you're back to feeling rubbish, those 4 minutes will still have been absolute bliss. Repeat as necessary. I left this tip in the very appropriate 'The Joy of Music' by Bernstein, in Manchester Central Library in the Henry Watson Library (the music library). I hope whomever picked up this read, was inspired by my little note. 

I like to think the box was split into two themes. Items that help bring calmness and clarity, and items that help you sleep. These products I think would really aid in creating a calm mindfulness. Included was a box of Chamomile tea by Clipper which I brought to work to help keep the stress at bay and also this mindfulness colouring book with these gorgeous multicoloured colouring pencils in a cardboard geometrical print tube. This book is a godsend at keeping wandering thoughts and worries at bay, as you're too busy concentrating on staying within the lines and choosing the most complimenting colour to go with the section you've just shaded in...! 

These products I would say were to help the aid of sleep. First there is a lovely Sleep Balm from Anatomicals that you rub on your pulse points to help soothe you to sleep. I've been meaning to try Anatomicals for a long time so this was a delight to receive, not to mention lovely in scent. Included was also this lavender sachet by Grace & Favour. I keep this on my cake stand on my bedside table. When I need help soothing to sleep, I will crunch it to sort of activate the scents from the dried flowers and leave the sachet on my pillow in front of me. This powerful duo will help even the insomniacs fall asleep!

As a whole, this box is by far the most profound and useful I have come across during my time reviewing subscription boxes. For someone who battles depression (I like to think successfully), boxes like these hold so much more value than people perceive. I think more boxes like these should enter circulation because while the simplest product might seem like nothing to a beauty junkie subscribed to Birchbox, it could potentially be life-saving for someone suffering with a mental illness who struggles with crippling anxiety and therefore cannot sleep, which may in turn affect their working day and social life. The smallest aid may prove to be a lifeline out of a dangerous spiral of emotions. Boxes like these are particularly useful for those who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) around this time of year.

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