It feels like forever since I did a Birchbox review! I still get my box every month, but I’ve been nowhere near organised enough to take pics and review the contents. One of my aims this year was to go back to some of my older blog posts for inspiration. One thing I want to do more of again is beauty reviews and going back to regularly reviewing my Birchbox seems like a great place to start.

Birchbox Review January 2018Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription box, packed with high-end surprise beauty products which arrive at your door once a month. I’ve been subscribed for a few years now and always love getting my surprise package through the post.

Birchbox Review January 2018There are always a few products that I love in each Birchbox, but often a couple that I know I won’t really use. This months box is a perfect one for me, as I was pretty impressed with all the products. The box itself is also really pretty. I like to reuse them to store my vintage jewellery in, so a lovely looking box is always a bonus.

Birchbox Review January 2018This month’s box was a collaboration with cute lifestyle brand Ohh Deer, who sell quirky stationary, homewares and clothing with lovely graphics.

Birchbox Review January 2018 The box included a lovely set of Ohh Deer stickers. There was also a 20% discount code to use on the website, which is awesome.

Birchbox Review January 2018The first product I tried was the Paul and Joe Beauty Moisturising Foundation PrimerI’ve admired the gorgeous packaging from this beauty range for years. I love the vintage look and think it would look amazing on a vintage dressing table. Somehow I’ve managed to never have tried any of the products though. I had high hopes for this one and it didn’t disappoint. This lovely primer makes a perfect base for under makeup. It’s super moisturising and very smoothing. It has a slight shimmer which makes my skin look fresh and glowing. The full sized version of this costs £24.

Birchbox Review January 2018Next I tried the Lord and Berry Blusher Crayon in the shade Camelia. I’ve never used a blusher crayon before, so I was intrigued to see how well it worked. I love other make up in crayon form, I have lots of eye, lip and highlighting products that come as crayons. This one was pretty good. It was easy to apply and blended well. The colour was surprisingly subtle, but is quite buildable. The RRP for this is £15.

Birchbox Review January 2018Probably my favourite product from the box is the Thermaliv Night Creammostly because I’m a big skincare geek. I’m always on the lookout for good night creams to try. This one is packed with awesome ingredients and made my skin feel really good. It’s surprisingly light for a night cream, but sits nicely on the skin. If I wasn’t completely loyal to my Elemis night cream, this is definitely one I’d consider purchasing. It’s also far more affordable at just £15.75 for the full sized product, so I may repurchase when I need a budget friendly product.

Birchbox Review January 2018Next up was the Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in the shade Charcoal. Recently I’ve been wearing less liquid liner and going for more subtle make-up for everyday. This is a nice addition to my make-up bag and something I will definitely get a lot of use out of. This eyeliner is super soft and glides on effortlessly. It’s also waterproof and stays put all day. The colour is really nice and a softer alternative to black. The RRP for this is £10.99.

Birchbox Review January 2018The last product is one I’ve not heard of before. Afterspa is a special magic cloth, designed to take off all your make up without using any products. It lasts up to 1000 washes. I tested this on all kinds of make up, including lipstick foundation, mascara and eyeliner. The only one it struggled with was my liquid liner, which is pretty hard to take off anyway. On the whole this works really well and feels really nice to use. Its very handy to have in my gym bag for quickly taking my make-up off before I work out. I was happily surprised by how good this one was. These usually cost £5.50.

Birchbox Review January 2018What did you think of the contents of this months box?

If you’d like to receive a monthly Birchbox too, I have a refer a friend link which gives you your first box half price.

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I am a huge tea addict, in fact my tea collection is getting a little bit out of control! As much as the beverage itself is important, I also think choosing the right cup or mug is definitely part of the experience. I own lots of lovely tea cups, but mostly when I’m at home in need of a cuppa, I opt for the biggest mug possible!

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite cups and mugs on here. I already owned a lot, but my friends and family know we far too well and bought me lots of new ones for my birthday and Christmas, so the collection has grown a lot recently. In fact I’ve even been given two new ones this week, which I will have to include in a future post!

Emma Bridgewater Bath and London MugsTwo recent additions to my mug collection, are my London and Bath Emma Bridgewater mugs. These were a Christmas present from rob and the girls. I absolutely love Emma Bridgewater designs, I also love that they are handmade in England.

Emma Bridgewater City Mugs Bath and LondonRob chose this two because London and Bath are my two favourite cities. The Bath one was quite hard to find as it is a limited addition and only available from No1 Royal Crescent in Bath, so he gets extra points for effort in getting this one for me!

Cath Kidston Pet's Party Breakfast Tea Cup and SaucerMy next choice was a birthday present from my mum. The Cath Kidston Pet’s Party cup is absolutely huge and hold loads of tea. This is one of my favourite Cath Kidston prints and matches my Pet’s Party dress.

Laura Ashley Fox MugYou may have seen quite a lot of my Laura Ashley Fox mugs over the last few months. I absolutely love them and use them to make hot chocolate for the girls, or to serve soup in. I also love the orange and blue tones of this giant tea cup that I bought in Tesco. I always drink my chai tea in this one.

Gold and Cream New Look Initial MugLast year I collected lots of things that were cream and gold. I got this huge initial mug from New Look and its perfect for a luxurious hot drink, while I’m having a pamper in the bath. The other mug is from Sainsburys. I bought it for Fay and she drinks out of it, when she comes to my house.

Disney World Mickey and Minnie Leg MugsMy Mickey and Minnie mugs are from Disney World, I bought them when we went to Florida a few years ago. They remind me of an amazing family holiday. I don’t use these very often, but they live in a special cupboard with all my other Disney mugs.

Primark Disney Beauty and The Beast Chip MugsWhen everyone went crazy for the cute Chip mugs in Primark, I missed out on getting my hands on one. Luckily when they restocked I managed to pick up two of them. Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney film, so I love these a lot!

Cath Kidston Disney Tinker Bell Tea Cup and Saucer and MugAs you probably know I’m a but obsessed with the Cath Kidston and Disney collaborations. I kind of regret not getting all the mugs from the different collections now, but I did get a couple of the Peter Pan range. I bought myself the Tinker Bell cup and saucer and my brother and his boyfriend got me the Tinker Bell mug for my birthday.

Cath Kidston Mum MugsAnother two of my most precious mugs are these two from Cath Kidston. These were gifts from the girls for my last two mothers days. I’m hoping to get another one this year! I love the pretty designs.

Disney Cath Kidston Minnie and Mickey Stackable MugsLast these stacking Cath Kidston Mickey Mouse mugs were a birthday gift from my friend Holly. This was one of my all time favourite prints and I’m just go sad they didn’t do a dress in this design. At least I can enjoy a tea in these lovely mugs though!

Which is your favourite mug from my collection. Do you have lots of different ones?

For more tea related posts, check out the Tea section of the blog.

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I can’t believe we’re nearly half way through January already! So far it’s been a busy, but very successful month for me. I’ve not done much blog work (I usually take a step back during January), but I have already started to achieve some of my other goals for the year. My goals are all the obvious ones, but they are all things I’ve been focussing on for the last few months and want to continue through the next year.

One: Look After Myself

Since I got unwell last summer, I’ve had to focus on looking after myself a bit more. Around that time I had got into the habit of pushing myself too hard and working non stop. On top of being a mum and looking after my home and having a social life I was stretched far too thin. Over the last few months I’ve been much kinda to myself and taken a lot of the pressure off. I still need to work on this though, sometimes I still do over do it. I’m working on not striving to be perfect and to know my limits and to say no to things, that I can’t manage.

I’ve also been looking after my body, my doctors recommended losing a little weight as it can help with Intracranial Hypertension and make symptoms go away. This is a hard one for me, as I’m quite body confident and my weight is not something I worry about too much. I want to go into a bit more detail about this in another post. I have been going on long walks and have really hit the gym recently, as well as going to Yoga classes. I’m absolutely loving all the exercise and feeling great. I’m also trying extra hard to eat well and cut down on caffein and other things that aren’t good for me. This is definitely a big goal for me in 2018.

Another way I’ve been looking after myself is getting more sleep. Like most workaholics I used to stay up way to late, to get that little bit extra done. Finally at the age of 32, I’ve broken this habit! I now aim to get to sleep by 10 and get up at 6, so that I get 8 hours every night. It’s definitely stopped me burning out and getting exhausted and I feel so much better for it. I’m definitely aiming to keep this up in 2018.

Two: Being Happy and Spreading Happiness

I’m pretty good at doing things that make me happy and personally I feel like I manage to enjoy life at the same time as being very busy looking after my friends and family. This year I want to do this even more. I’ve started keeping a journal and including positive things that happened in the day. These can be really simple things like a nice bath or a lovely walk. Taking a m moment to appreciate things really helps to keep me feeling positive even after a hard or long day.

One thing I really want to do more of, is spreading happiness. Making more of an effort top smile at people, be helpful or just do something kind every day.

Three: Getting on Top of Work

When it comes to work, this is the area that needs the most work! Things got a bit crazy last year and there were quite a few times that I needed to take a step back from work and look after other parts of my life. Now I feel a bit more settled I want to get reorganised and get on top of everything. Not by over working myself, but by picking out the most important things and getting them done.

This year I want to put lots of time into my Etsy shop and selling vintage again. I enjoy this so much and I enjoy finding nice things to sell, cleaning and repairing them and sending them off to their new homes.

As for the blog, I want to keep on top of all the back of house stuff more. Things like emails and accounts all take lots of time and if you get behind it’s a total nightmare. So this year I am going to spend 3 mornings a week doing all my admin and being organised.

The most important things of course, is actually writing the blog. I have so many ideas and this year I want to get lots of them done. For now I am going to aim for between 2 and 4 posts a week and no more than that. I used to blog nearly every day and it takes up more time than I have. By setting manageable targets I’m hoping to enjoy blogging more this year.

Four: Finish My House

Home improvement has been one of my biggest hobbies since I was really young. In fact I always wanted to be an interior designer when I was little! I’ve now been in our current house for 6 years and I love it so much. When we moved in, we did a full renovation and since then we have redecorated a few times. There always seems to be a house project on the go. This year I want to be more focussed and take each room one at a time and get it to exactly where I want it to be. So expect much more interior content on the blog this year. I’m currently completely redecorating Lila’s room and I have lots of DIYs I want to share with you.

So this year is all about small changes that will make a big difference. I’m feeling so motivated and excited about the year ahead.

Have you got any intentions or resolutions for 2018?

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For the last couple of years I’ve done a round up post of all the books I’ve read over the last year. We’re now a week into 2018 and not only have I not done my book round up, I’ve also not posted at all yet. So first up I just want to wish you all a very happy new year. There will be more on New Year related stuff soon, but as usual I need to catch up first!

This year I’ve done a lot more listening to Audible rather than picking up a physical book. This is partly because I’ve been super busy and listening on the go is super handy. It’s also because my eyes haven’t been very happy this year due to my Intercranial Hypertension (more on that maybe one day). Anyway on to last years reads…

I started the year reading lots of Daisy Dalrymple mysteries by Carola Dunn. There was a lot going on at the beginning of the year and having something light and cosy to escape to was great. I also got through some books by my favourite chick lit authors, like Jenny Colgan.Lucy Diamond and Katie FForde.

I re-read a couple of Jane Austen’s books. I’ve read them all so many times I lose count! Having watched Decline and Fall on TV I decided to read a couple of Evelyn Waugh Books. I’ve read a couple of his books before, but not Brideshead or Decline and Fall. I really enjoyed both of them.

Long term readers will know I love biographies of interesting women so Coco Chanel – The Legend and The Life was a great choice for me. I wrote a review of this one for the blog, which I haven’t got round to publishing yet. I’ll try total some pics and get that up this week. I also re-read Take Six Girls, a book about the Mitford sisters that I read last year. It’s a really good read and absolutely fascinating.

Having read about the Mitford sisters I had to then re-read some of my favourite Nancy Mitford novels. I lover her writing so much, I can’t help going back to these a lot!

One of my favourite books of the year was Wilde Like Me, by Louise Pentland. It explores motherhood in a way I can really relate to and it’s generally just a really fab relatable read.

I really enjoyed The Husband Hunters by Anne De Courcy, she’s an amazing social history writer and this book which explores marriages between American women and members of the British aristocracy was absolutely fascinating.

My favourite book of the year would have to be Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen At Home. This is about as good as biography gets I just couldn’t put this one down. It’s a well researched, beautifully written look at one of my favourite authors and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

I was also excited to read new books by two of my favourite authors. Ben Aaronovitch’s new book was as good as expected and The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage was every bit as good as you’d expect from Phillip Pullman. I absolutely cannot wait for the next instalment.

Another highlight of the year was The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, this unusual and mysterious novel was one I really enjoyed. I also re-read Murder on The Orient Express rather than watching the new film!  I finished the year with some festive chick lit and a very interesting book about the OJ Simpson trial by prosecutor Marcia Clark.

I always love looking back at the mix of books I’ve read over the year and it always makes me want to devour even more books this year. Do you have any recommendations for me?

See what I read in 2016 and 2017. Find more posts and books reviews in my Books section.

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