So yet again I’m a bit late to the Birchbox party! August has been a bit of a busy one for me. Not only have the kids been off school and keeping me very busy, I’ve also been to lots of wonderful vintage events and taken part in an exciting vintage themed calendar shoot, which I’ll tell you more about really soon. This hasn’t left me much time to keep up to date with blogging! Since my next Birchbox will be arriving any day now, I thought it was high time I shared the contents of this months box bag.

August 2016 Birchbox ContentsMy first response when this months package arrived, was to be a little disappointed by the lack of box. I use the boxes to organise all my bits and pieces and I was hoping to use this months empty box would house my latest naughty vintage jewellery purchases. All this months beauty goodies arrived in a cute little make-up bag, which I guess will come in handy anyway.

August Birchbox ContentsThe theme of this months box was ‘Dive In’, which explains why the bag is made from scuba fabric. It contains a good selection of products including make-up, hair and skincare. Here’s what I thought of all the different products…

August Birchbox Marcelle LinerFirst up was a Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in the shade Mulberry. Now a waterproof eyeliner is definitely handy in the summer, I have been known to emerge from the swimming pool resembling a drowned panda on holiday. It’s also great for hot days when you sweat so much that your liner ends up somewhere near your chin. the downside of this one for me, is that I don’t really like the colour. I’ve had a few purple toned liners in my Birchboxes and I will always favour a black. The product does work well and stays put all day, only to be removed later by a very good remover. It is also really easy to apply, so I’ll keep it for when I fancy something a little different. This product would normally cost £10.50

August Birchbox Philip Kingsley Dry ShampooNext up was the Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo. I’ve always been really impressed with all the Philip Kingsley products that I’ve tried via Birchbox. This one however just isn’t very good. For a dry shampoo, it really isn’t that dry. It goes on feeling damp rather than powdery, like other dry shampoos. It also left my hair feeling heavier than before I applied it. So I was pretty disappointed with this one and wouldn’t use it again. The full sized product usually costs £14.50

August Birchbox Balance Me Face maskThe third product is the Radiance Face Mask from Balance Me. This is a beauty brand that can do no wrong in my eyes, and this product did not disappoint. The clay based mask is lovely and light and contains ground walnut shells for a gentle exfoliation. This was easy to use, smelt lovely and made my skin feel great. I loved this mask and will probably buy the full sized product. This mask would usually cost £18.

August Birchbox The Buff StuffThe next product is the Anatomicals The Buff Citrus Body Scrub. I have used lots of bath products from Anatomicals before and I’m always really happy with them. This is a really nice body scrub and I love the grapefruit smell and level of exfoliation. My only complaint would be, that it isn’t really a high end or expensive product and I really love to get a bit of luxury from my monthly Birchbox. This would normally cost £3.99

August Birchbox Merci HandyOk so while I’m complaining about the box bag not having luxury products… The fifth product in the box was an antibacterial hand gel. The Merci Handy, does smell nice and I love that it’s full of vitamins to hydrate and nourish my hard working hands, but it’s just not a good enough product for a beauty box bag. I did keep smelling my hands afterwards and enjoying the smell though, so I’ll forgive it a little bit. This would normally cost £2.99.

August Birchbox Yes to CoconutLastly the Birchbox bonus was the Yes To Coconut Cleansing Wipes. This was in fact just one wipe. The wipe itself was lovely and soft and smelt very coconuty. It made my skin feel very clean, but wasn’t great for taking make-up off. I like the fact that it nourished as it cleansed, but I’d really need more than a single lonely wipe to really judge. A full packet containing more than one wipe costs £3.99.

So in conclusion, I’d have to say this Birchbox was a little stingy. Each month it usually feels like a little present coming in the post, but this was more like a disappointing present from a rubbish boyfriend who doesn’t know what you like. I’m hoping this is a one off, as I’m usually quite impressed with the high end products in the box. I guess I’ll see in a few days when my September box arrives.

If you’d like to receive a monthly Birchbox too (it’s usually better than this), I have a refer a friend link which adds £5 worth of points to your account when you sign up. These can be used to buy full-sized products in the Birchbox shop.

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September is one of those times of year when the weather can go any which way. One day can be sunny and the next wet and windy. Although I adore the summer, I love the months where the weather starts to turn and everything changes colour. The same applies to my wardrobe. After a summer of pretty floral dresses and bright colours, I like looking for darker tones and changing my look up a bit. I mostly wear 40s and 50s style dresses in the summer, but for Autumn often lean more towards the 60s and 70s. the colours of the later decades work really well later in the year.

JD Williams 70s Dress OOTDTodays outfit is inspired by the seventies, but is all brand new and from online retailer JD Williams, who have a huge range of clothing and shoes on their site. Whenever I’m reviewing modern clothing, I always look for things that work well for a vintage and retro look and both the shoes and the dress really stood out to me.

JD Williams Summer 70s Dress ReviewThis gorgeous maxi dress, is a lovely and comfortable and I love the flowing top and hem. The mix and match prints are fabulously retro and I really enjoyed wearing something a bit different to my usual mid-century look.

JD Williams 70s Style Platform SandalsI absolutely love big chunky platform shoes, and never get to wear them with my older outfits, so these were a great choice to go with this dress. I’m not a big fan of my feet, so it was a bit out of my comfort zone to get them out! The shoes were surprisingly comfortable and didn’t hurt at all when I went for a walk in them. I intend to get some of my original seventies dresses out this Autumn to wear them with.

Outfit Details:

Maxi dress – JD Williams – Currently on sale at £13 reduced from £40

Platform Shoes – JD Williams – Currently on sale at £32 reduced from £40

Bangles – Primark about 8 years ago

See the full range of maxi dresses here.

*This outfit was sent to my by JD Williams to review. All opinions are my own.

After a bit of a break, my baking buzz is well and truly back. I’ve had a good look through all of my vintage cookbooks and have found plenty of lovely recipes to share with you over the next few months. Todays recipe comes from a 1950s recipe book and is one of my tastiest creations to date.

Demerara Ginger Cake RecipeThe Demerara Ginger Cake is easy to make and all the ingredients can be easily found in the supermarket. I’ve changed all the ingredients into grams and adapted the recipe for modern ovens.

Ginger Cake from a 1950s RecipeIngredients:

150g Softened Butter

350g Plain Flour

60g Crystallised Ginger (Chopped smaller than it comes in the packet)

1tsp Baking Powder

150g Golden Syrup

1tsp Ground Ginger

Almonds to decorate

2 Eggs

Vintage Ginger Cake recipeHow to make:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees and grease your cake tin.
  2. Beat butter and syrup together.
  3. Beat in the eggs.
  4. Sift in the flour, ground ginger and baking powder.
  5. Add crystallised ginger.
  6. Add a little milk to moisten the mixture if needed.
  7. Turn the mixture into your greased cake tin.
  8. Decorate the top with almonds.
  9. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes until golden.

1950s Demerara Ginger CakeThis is a great cake for beginner bakers as it’s quite simple. If you’re struggling to weigh out the golden syrup, I found a great tip in a vintage magazine. Place the golden syrup jar onto the scales and deduct the amount you need for the recipe, this will save you transferring it too much and making a mess!

1950s Ginger Cake RecipeIf you create this recipe at home, please send me pictures of your finished masterpiece, I always love seeing your creations!

Vintage Ginger Cake SliceI also have some more exciting news. I’m going to be writing about food for Vintage Life Magazine, so look out for my first pieces in the October issue.

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As the beautiful warm weather continues there’s still plenty of time to wear beautiful vintage summer dresses. In this fantastic guest post Nick from Mela Mela Vintage, shares some of his 1950s favourites…

Does a stack of wedding and party invites leave you with a ‘what to wear’ headache this summer? Why not look to the era of gin cocktails and elegant summer soirees for your party vibe this year? The 50’s is providing us with some serious party wear inspiration right now and what’s more there is a 50’s look for every occasion. From the infamous wiggle dress to flattering circle shapes and cotton summer dresses Mela Mela have you covered. Swoon over some of our favourite 50’s pieces now in store to get your summer party look nailed.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 15.13.30Sunshine Prints

50’s designers weren’t afraid of some seriously bold prints and this sunshine coloured dress is no exception. The striped cotton design with classic flared skirt reminds us of holiday sunsets. We think it is just crying out for some Hollywood sized sunglasses and a glass of Pimms!

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 15.14.06Nautical but Nice

The 50’s fashionista loved the whimsy of sailor inspired dresses and co-ord sets. This striking navy two piece has more than a hint of the sea about it. Cut in an iconic wiggle shape, this dress has a form flattering fit. Combining high style with elegant restraint we think this would be a great look for a formal wedding or professional event.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 15.14.29Prom Princess

Some of the most swoon inspiring 50’s dresses combine the classic circle shape with oodles of tulle and embellishment. This exceptionally pretty example pairs a full netted lilac skirt with a white lace overlay to stunning effect. Be a knockout at a summer ball in this ultra feminine number.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 15.14.54Gorgeous Gingham

Nothing says long summer days like a hit of gingham. A 50’s pattern staple, it’s fresh, pretty and perfect for summer. Available in every colour and style it’s also incredibly versatile. This full length taffeta example with nipped in waist and cute button detail is sure to make an impact at any alfresco event.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 15.15.15Club Tropicana

Hot summer nights call for acid brights and wild prints. The 50’s love for the colourful and for exotic Hawaiian inspired prints has left us with some amazing items. This strapless cotton dress combines an abstract pattern with a tropical colour palette for a fun and fresh finish. Perfect for cocktails and dancing at a summer beach party.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 15.15.47Flower Power

A garden party is just the thing for a fabulous floral. The 50’s showcases everything from delicate pastel floral designs to bold graphic designs. We love this delicate pink and blue example with its gorgeous velvet waist belt. The scooped neck gives it real impact combined with the classic 50’s circle shape. Pair with sandals for an easy, breezy finish.

We hope these gorgeous 50’s summer looks have inspired you to try a vintage look this summer. You’re sure to be a knockout in a unique vintage find that will turn heads. Be sure to check out our full range of 50’s dresses here.