Pop in a Box monthly subscription...

Ever since buying my first Funko Pop! Vinyl a few months ago (Mia from Pulp Fiction) I am officially obsessed! I decided I wanted to start collecting them, and found a great way of doing so: Pop in a Box. PIAB are a monthly subscription that from just £8.49 sends you a mystery Pop every month. The great thing about them is they have the full selection on their site of every Pop and you can simply thumb up or down depending on which you want, so you only ever get a Pop that you want to add to your collection!

This is great if like me you only want to collect certain collections. My first mystery Pop was Hello Kitty from the Sanrio collection, and I was extremely happy not least because this is a pretty hard one to get hold of now. It arrived in perfect condition well packed and with some popping candy.

So if you are thinking of starting a collection, I'd certainly recommend PIAB, so far I've had great service, and they are always friendly and helpful on their Facebook page if you have any questions. I can't wait to find out who arrives in my January box!

More hair accessories from Love2SparkleUK...

After posting about the cute hair bow I'd got the other day, Carol from Love2SparkleUK contacted me and said she was going to post me some things, a couple of days later and a beautifully wrapped parcel arrived containing these beauties. I couldn't believe how generous she'd been and everything she'd sent was pastel purple! ♥‿♥

First up we have this BEAUTY! A large glitter headband, beautifully handmade. I wore this on Christmas day, and frankly I am in love with it. You can adjust the bow to whichever position you want, and the colour is beyond beautifulThere is a huge array of colours to choose from in their store too!

Next up is this beaded headband, which is completely unique- I've never seen anything like it before. Again I love the colours of this, and there are so many pretty beads on here. On the Etsy listing it says these bands are upcycled from broken jewellery which is cool!  

Finally, we have this pretty hair bow, which is huge and soft. This bow keeps it shape really well, and the crocodile clip on the back is perfectly secure. I'm sure all you pastel fans out there will agree with me on how lovely it is!

I am already planning on making another order with their Etsy store soon, and totally recommend checking them out here, great friendly service, and well made products. Thanks Carol for this amazing parcel! 

What I got for Christmas...

So following on from yesterdays post, here is the things I got for Christmas! As usual I was very lucky and got thoroughly spoilt...

I got a set of Batgirl socks, a marvel cup, a funny Hulk shower gel, Pulp Fiction mug, and yummy chocolate...

Hello kitty cushion and clock, some Rilakkuma bento moulds and My Neighbour Totoro DVD.

I can't get over how cool these are! A collection of framed watercolour prints (unfortunately the lighting was terrible when I took these pictures so you can't make out the quotes but you can find them here) I have Mark from Peep Show, Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development, Enid Coleslaw from Ghost World, Amelie, and Wednesday Addams. These will look great on my wall of pictures! 

I got a lovely selection of Punky Pins jewellery including a name necklace...

And a Tassimo! I am in love with this machine, and dread to think how much coffee I have drank over the last couple of days. Everyone got me packs of the pods as well, so I have a good supply, so far my favourite is the Costa caramel latte. Yum!

Lastly, although not an Xmas present this cute panda bag finally arrived- I'd bought it on Ebay ages ago. I also have a few things waiting to arrive that I ordered with Xmas money and may or may not involve my latest obsession: Pop Vinyl fugures....

So that was all the lovely things I got for Christmas :) If you do one of these posts let me know, as I am currently addicted to being nosey and seeing what everyone else got! 

My Christmas 2014...

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas! Mine was lovely, but hectic... and involved a 3 and 4 year old frantically running around the house dressed in their new Elsa dresses! It was also filled with lots of food (including a delicious cheese board...mmm cheese), lots of laughs, lovely presents, and a very lazy Boxing Day watching Captain America (which if Instagram is to go by, everyone watched this Christmas!) Over the next few days I will put up a presents post, as I'm currently enjoying looking at everyone elses...

The Christmas Tag...

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?
I did a post the other day on my favourite Christmas films, but my all time favourite is The Muppet Christmas Carol which I've loved since I was a kid.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning, although when we were kids me and my sister would exchange presents late Christmas eve night as we were too excited.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I remember one Christmas dancing round to my new Spice Girls CD, whilst wearing my new Manchester United football top and dousing myself in a new can of Impulse Red. haha, sweet memories 0_0

4. favourite festive food?
I love all of it. except Xmas pudding which is bleurgh. My vegetarian years were particularly hard at Xmas. We also have a rule that Christmas morning is the one time you can legitimately have chocolate for breakfast (although I sometimes break this rule!)

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
I think one of my best presents as a kid was a Lucy Locket, which was basically a massive Polly Pocket. It was really popular and I was insanely chuffed with it!

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
I love anything to do with vanilla. I LOVE the Yankee Candle Christmas Cookie scent. I also love the scent of fresh coffee, which reminds me of Christmas morning.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions? 
No not really, Christmas Eve night is usually the time I get round to frantically wrapping all my presents as I always leave it until the last minute. Except for this year- I've been strangely organised *fist pump*

8. What tops your tree?
On my own tree I just have a cheap plastic star, but my Mums tree has an angel that she got the year I was born.

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
I can't think of anything extravagant that I asked for to be honest. I always used to ask for nerdy stuff like science kits. I remember my parents would ask me and my sister to write an Xmas list and my sister's list would be about eight pages long (and contain most of the Argos toy section!) 

My top five Christmas films...

The Muppet Christmas Carol
As far as I am concerned this is the best Christmas film ever. Officially. How can you not love the combination of Charles Dickens, muppets, and Michael Caine- singing!

Home Alone
This is another classic from my childhood. This film has everything- it's funny, sad, and has a scary old man that turns out to be really nice. Side note: every time I watch it I always get the urge for pizza.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
 I love this one as it's a bit more on the cheeky side, has lots of laughs (especially from cousin Eddie) and gives a slightly more realistic portrayal of Christmas (a stress filled nightmare!)

Bad Santa
I'm not really one for overly sentimental cheesy films which is why I love Bad Santa. One of the most swear filled films ever, it takes everything nice about this time of year and, well, ruins it. It also happens to be a brilliant black comedy. 

Die Hard
Following on from above this is another perfect Christmas film if you hate Christmas films! Who can resist a bare footed John McClane save the Nakatomi Plaza from Hans Gruber and his gang on Christmas Eve. Yippee Ki Yay!

Others I like... The Santa Clause, Elf, and You've Got Mail (which I count as a Christmas film!)

Etsy find: Love2SparkleUK...

When looking for glittery hair bows I found a seller on Ebay who had a lovely selection and swiftly ordered this sparkly lilac hair bow for £3. Once the hair bow arrived nicely wrapped in tissue paper I realised they had an Etsy store which is full of sparkly hair accessories. 

The colour of this hair bow is just beautiful and there hasn't been any glitter fallout at all. It has a crocodile clip well secured on the back so there's no worries of loosing the bow. My only minor moan is that the bow is not quite symmetrical- one side is slightly bigger than the other. This probably won't bother most people but it slightly niggles me! Other than that I'm very happy with my hair bow, and already have my eye on the large bows in their Etsy store.

Models Own Diamond Luxe in Pear Purple...

When Models Own released the Diamond Luxe polishes I knew I wouldn't be able to resist, and predictably the first shade I got was the pastel purple one! According to Models Own these contain real diamond dust which is what gives it that fine shimmer. I must admit I am totally in love with this polish. It was really smooth to apply, and lasted really well too. 

I think the colour is beautiful and definitely pleases my lilac obsession! I've bought a few more shades from the collection and am so tempted to collect them all :)

Last minute stocking fillers...

If you are looking for last minute stocking filler ideas then you can't go wrong with the bargain shops! 

In Poundland I found these Festive Vanilla wax melts, which contain six breakable cubes for a wax burner. They smell lovely and after trying them can firmly give them the thumbs up! Also in Poundland I got this set of My Little Pony hair ties- perfect for kids (big or small!)

In Poundstretcher I found a nice selection of Rimmel cosmetics for just a £1 each. The Space Dust nail polishes will make perfect Christmas gifts. Finally I got some sparkly Elegant Touch press on nails from the Superdrug outlet on Ebay for £2.99. They are worth checking out as they have lots of discounted cosmetics and toiletries and posted very quickly. 

Of course you can't go wrong with chocolate when it comes to stocking fillers and I always get that at bargain shops too!  

Book review: The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey...

The Girl With All The Gifts is one of those mysterious books that doesn't really give anything away in the blurb, which simply reads:

"Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh.Melanie is a very special girl."
Having heard so much praise for this book, along with a quote from Joss Whedon on the cover, I was intrigued enough to pick it up.
Now here is where I'll put a *spoiler alert* so if you don't want to spoil the mystery stop reading!
The book was actually totally different to what I was expecting. It turns out it was a pretty dark post apocalyptic horror, set in a future Britain where most humans have either caught a fungal infection changing them to 'hungries' (essentially zombies) or have been eaten by them. 
The book follows it's five main characters Melanie (an intelligent form of hungry who is able to learn and speak), her teacher, a scientist who is obsessed with learning about the infection and finding a cure, and two soldiers. The fact that these characters are all interesting, fully explored and flawed gives the story a more human touch and certainly makes it more enjoyable. Personally I think that is the books saving grace, which sets it apart from the usual zombie survival stories.
Throughout the book there is an interesting point raised, as Miss Justineau the teacher becomes emotionally attached to the child hungries, Whilst Dr. Caldwell simply sees them as test subjects who she can experiment on to help understand the virus. We see both sides to the question Caldwell asks Justineau "Which will do the most good in the end? Your compassion or my commitment to my work?" The book definitely throws up some questions to think about, and overall I found this an enjoyable read.
(If you are a fan of films like Contagion, and 28 Days Later then read this!) 

Degusta Box December...

I got a code for a half price December Degusta Box (a monthly food subscription box, usually £12.99) and thought I would give them a go. The big box arrived, all very well packaged. Here is what I got...

Kettle Chips
I do love Kettle Chips, although I've never tried this flavour but I will keep these to share at Christmas.

Cool Dawn Recovery
This is a herbal detox drink which is supposed to help prevent hangovers. I'm not much of a drinker these days so I will give this to someone else- although the thought of trying to drink something herbal whilst drunk just sounds like a bad idea to me!

Lindt Lindor My Melting Moment
I got a generous five of these in the box and I am trying to be strong and resist eating them all (Lindt is my favourite chocolate) because they will make lovely stocking fillers.

Kent's Kitchen Fajitas Flavour Shots
These are small tubs of sauce that you can mix with chicken, and I'm sure I will get round to using them at some point. 

Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney
Me and my sister have already planned a delicious cheese board for Christmas and this will go with it perfectly! 

Pip Organic Apple Juice
My favourite fruit juice is apple and I've already popped these in the fridge as I'm sure they'll be lovely.

Montano Italian Cider
I'm not a cider fan, but this will make a nice stocking filler for my Dad or Brother in law.

Holy Cow Curry Sauces
I got two of these, and gave them to my sister as to be frank I know I'll never get round to using them.

Chai Latte satchet
I dislike both tea and cinnamon so this ones not for me but I shall give it to someone who will appreciate it!  

Overall, although great value I was a little disappointed- for a December box I was hoping for a slightly more festive offering. I also think they should have a few different options for subscribers (for example: non alcohol drinkers, vegetarian etc...) but really I can't fault the value for money and if you aren't a fussy eater (unlike me) then it's definitely worth a try! 

Ebay picks...

Elegant Touch Glitter nails £2.99 here
Tony Moly Black Sugar Mask £5.78 here
Hello Kitty plush bag £12.46 here
Liquorice Allsorts bow headband £6.00 here
Etude House Natural Jelly Cleansing Puff £3.00 here
Sailor Moon pendant £2.66 here
Reservoir Dogs film poster £3.84 here

Holika Holika PRO:BEAUTY Kissable lipstick...

I can never resist red lipsticks, and as far as I'm concerned the darker the better! Having tried a few things from the Holika Holika PRO:BEAUTY line (and being really impressed by them) I thought it was about time I tried a lipstick.

The lipstick is smartly packaged, and feels more expensive than it is. The shade I chose was RD801 Twilight Red which is a deep brownish red. The bullet is a little deceiving (although how amazing would a lipstick that colour be?!) and the promo pictures are way off- it shows it as dark purple colour for some reason. Beyond that though the lipstick applies easily (partly thanks to it's curved shape) and feels quite thick and creamy, but non drying.

Despite the (again) inaccurate promo pictures that show a heavily glossy finish, I find this to have an almost matte effect- which I actually do prefer. The staying power is really good with this lipstick too. Although I'd recommend a quick google search for a swatch first, I really do recommend checking these lovely lipsticks out. 

I got mine here for £6.08

Book review: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty...

I picked up Apple Tree Yard on a whim to complete a book offer, having read the fairly vague but mysterious blurb on the back. I tend to be put off when I don't know much about the story, but decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did, as it turned out to be much more than a typical thriller. 

It was a little slow to start, setting the scene and introducing us to the protagonist Yvonne a middle aged, happily married scientist. The story  starts with her meeting a mysterious stranger and them starting a passionate affair. Then without wanting to give anything away the story spirals from there, which is where the plot gets interesting. It's definitely a book that packs a lot of twists, even until the very end,  and Doughty is very skilled at building an electrifying suspense that makes you want to keep reading.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the book was that the main character was very human, and sympathetic. I think the fact the author is female definitely made her more relateable (sometimes I find male writers really don't get female characters right...) and the plot never strayed away from being realistic. I raced through the second half of the book and after finishing the last page (that packed one final punch) felt very satisfied with the ending. If you are looking for a thriller that is clever, well written and full of twists I definitely recommend Apple Tree Yard.

New things...feat Primark, Amazon & ASOS!

Amongst all the present buying I've been making the most of some of the pre Christmas/ Black Friday deals. My Nan & Grandad always give everyone money for Christmas and they are always very organised at giving it early! So here are some of the bits I've bought...

I made an order with ASOS and although I originally wanted just one thing ended up adding more stuff so I qualified for free postage! I bought the New Look donut purse as it was half price, and I'd had my eye on it since it was released. I also got two Models Own nail polishes for £3.50 each (Diamond Luxe in Princess Pink & Swan speckled polish.) I also couldn't resist adding these nail decals to my basket as they were half price and had donuts on!

Finally from ASOS I got this huge tote bag in the sale for £6. I got my sister one for Christmas too that has a skeleton design. It's really nice and thick, and will be really useful. 

I went in Primark in my usual quest to find something I'd seen on Instagram (my local Primark never has the good stuff) and couldn't find it. Instead I came out with a Breaking Bad and Batman top for £6 each. In Pound World I bought these cool Hulk socks, I can never resist novelty socks....

More stuff from Primark! A Batman jumper and Lisa Simpson pyjama top... I think I may be showing my mental age here :D

I got this kind of garish Christmas pyjama top for £2 which I'm pretty happy with, some Little Mermaid pants and a trapper hat. This was in the mens section and was labelled at £5, but came out at £3 and will be perfect for keeping my big head warm! 

From Amazon I made the most of the Black Friday prices and ordered these three books that were sitting in my (mega long) wishlist- it came to around £10 for all three with free postage, and I'm looking forward to working my way through them.

In Tesco they had all Nivea skincare half price so I bought a couple of face washes as I'm nearly out. And lastly I got a two Vaseline tins as I use these all the time and they were on offer. I decided to branch out and try the cocoa butter version like the rebel that I am ;)

Have a kawaii Christmas...

So today's post is another bit of shameless self promotion! For my little shop Kawaii Wonderland I make kawaii lucky packs every few months. Who doesn't love receiving a surprise package of cute things?! Seeing as it's December this months theme is stocking fillers, so the lucky packs will be full of cute goodies that you can open on Christmas day (or now, if you are impatient like me...) If you like the sound of that then head over to the store, where they are on sale from today. Also while you're there why not check out the selection of kawaii treats on sale that would make lovely Christmas gifts. Here's some below...

Etude House Juicy Cocktail Nails...

I'll be the first to admit that I am completely terrible at any kind of nail art. This cute little gift set from Etude House gives you everything you need to create a graduation nail effect. I got the shade Peach Crush as a Birthday present, but have only just got round to trying them out.

In the box you get three mini nail polishes in complimenting shades. The package gives some easy to follow instructions but with my expertise a 'simple' graduation nail is not easy! Nevertheless I gave it a go. You apply the base shade Calm Peach (which I found hardly showed up), then around half way up apply the middle shade Exuberant Peach, finally applying Bright Peach to the tips. As you can see from my attempts below I found it hard to make it look tidy- it looks more like messy stripes than a gradient look. 

On the plush side the top two colours are really beautiful shades that I would happily wear by themselves. After a couple of coats they are nicely opaque, applied smoothly and have a really pretty fine shimmer running through them. If you are fine with nail art I'd say this would be a lovely little set to get- and they have a selection of different colours to choose from too. I think I'll stick to much more simple nail looks in future though...!