[Review] Retreat Yourself Winter Box

Despite being a four-day work week, it has been a looooong week. But it has been made significantly better by the arrival of the Retreat Yourself winter box!

This is my second Retreat Yourself Box – I reviewed the Autumn box back in March and was a huge fan then. I’ve used everything I received in the Autumn box, particularly the yoga non-slip socks, and the Koja superfood salad and breakfast toppers. In fact, I loved the Koja products so much I actually repurchased the Fig & Hazelnut breakfast topper, and am trialling the Chilli Coconut and Pecan salad topper. Typically I prefer to make up my own mixes and toppers, but these were so delicious I was more than happy to buy replacements. This product is definitely going to become a staple of my pantry.

Anyway – on to the winter box. To recap the Retreat Yourself box basics:

The Box: Retreat Yourself, a collection of 10 – 15 products sample and full-time health and wellness products, with a focus particularly on Australian organic brands, which definitely has my support.

Cost: $49.99 + $9.99 shipping for an ongoing subscription, or $59.99 + $9.99 shipping for a one-off purchase.

Delivery: Every 3 months (not often enough!)

Delivery time: it took 8 days from delivery notification to delivery to my workplace, which is consistent with most Australia Post deliveries.

Each box is themed by season, and this box definitely had a gentle winter vibe.

As with last time, the box comes packaged in a kraft brown box, and you open it to find the products wrapped in tissue paper and twine, just like a real gift to yourself.This box contains 12 products. There is once again a really fun variety of products – muffin mix and consumables, hair product, lip balm, a keep-cup, a colouring-in mandala with pencils… really hitting every aspect of health and well-being!

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Soooooo many heart eyes.

Set below are the products, with links to where you can buy them individually (where relevant) and the price if you were to buy it as a stand alone product (and where the box item isn’t full-size, the price is estimated based on the advertised full-price item adjusted to the value of the item for sale).

  1. Bake Mixes Cacao and Acai Muffin Mix $12.95
  2. Bambi and Sammi No. 1 Hair Masque $16.95
  3. Dollar Hippy Club ‘Knot a Care’ Hair Oil $26
  4. Forage Cereal Gluten Free Porridge (made in Melbourne!) $9
  5. Kokoluxe Organic Cacao Drinking Chocolate $15
  6. Prana Chai Masala Blend (also made in Melbourne!) $6 ($20 for 250g)
  7. Australian Superfood Co. Superfood Bar -Wattleseed Husk Cacao Bar $3.50
  8. Wotnot facial wipes $1.99
  9. Pure by Phytocare Papaya Vapour Balm $12.95
  10. Retreat Yourself Karma Kup (or Keep Cup) – listed as $19.95
  11. Mandala Colouring In by Stephanie Carver
  12. Four colouring pencils

Based on that review, the total value of this box is $124.29, which is comparable to the last box, and over double the $50 cost. Once I again I feel like I definitely got my money’s worth, while also getting the chance to try something new.

I will start by saying I was a little disappointed to not get the promised surprise gift for reviewing the Autumn box on the Retreat Yourself website. It isn’t entirely surprising, but then again, I’m kind of sad! The box did include a list of the products which set out the retail price, which was almost perfectly reflected in my review of the retail websites; I really appreciate that kind of transparency. And it included the cute day plan, which is a nice touch for bringing together the products and show how they can be used as part of your day.

Anyway, as for trialling the products, I had tried KokoLuxe before in the Goodness Me box and I was pretty excited to get a full packet of it! The scent is unique, but the flavour is delicious, and you definitely feel as though you’re having a cup of hot chocolate.

I’m not the biggest fan of keep-cups – not because I don’t love that they save the environment! But I find the lids make your drink take a bit plasticky, which is annoying. However I do love the colours, and I might end up using this mug around the house.

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I gave the Papaya Vapour Balm a go. It is scented with eucalyptus and lemon myrtle, so it is really beautiful and refreshing. However, as I’m a total fool, I didn’t read the instructions properly and applied it to my lips, as in a lip balm, when it’s actually a vapour balm to be applied to your chest and back!!! I panicked for a moment, but as the ingredients are 100% natural, and the scent was still beautiful and softening – and I didn’t die. So there’s a plug. But I do think this will be a really lovely winter addition for when you’re bundled up with a cold – a refreshing scent that naturally brings you some calm.

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The wotnot facial wipes are described as being for dry/sensitive skin. I tend to really dry out in winter – even though I aim to drink 2.5L of water a day, I still feel like I’m being leeched of hydration. The wipes were really refreshing and nice, and as far as I could tell, unscented, so a nice balance to add to your handbag.

I gave the Superfood bar a go. It’s flavoured Wattleseed Husk, Cacao, with coconut and wattleseed. I tend to prefer just eating a carrot stick to trying raw bars, but this one had a great texture and I thought the flavours were great. I’d love to try some of their other flavours.

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I adore the colouring-in mandala. Although I haven’t really gotten on board with the mandala obsession that has taken over social media, I do love the concept for colouring in, and I’m looking forward to a quiet Saturday night catching up on the Bachelorette and colouring in this little image. Thankfully I have an enormous collection of textas and coloured pencils, so I think I can make this guy pretty cute.

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Overall, I love that once again this box struck a great balance in providing goods for positive nourishment with good and wholesome food, goods for your physical health with hair products and relief from colds, and goods for my mental health, with mindful colouring and tea and hot chocolate for quiet and peaceful activities. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

Overall rating: 5/5.

 

 

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[Review] Goodness Me Box

It’s been a while since I got to review one of these bad boys! I’ve been really looking forward to getting the Goodness Me box. I’ve known about it for a while, but was waiting for an elusive discount code so that I could sustain the expensive habit of subscription boxes. Around Easter there was 30% off a 3 month membership, so I swooped on the opportunity, and received my first box in April.

To start with, the basics:

The Box: Goodness Me Box, a box designed to encourage health food sampling, providing a box of 5 – 10 samples a month with the goal of getting consumers excited about eating pure and wholesome food.

Cost: Monthly subscription is $25/month with free shipping. There is also a 3 month subscription for $70 (upfront), a 6 month subscription for $135 (upfront) or an annual subscription of $265 (upfront).

Delivery: Monthly.

Delivery time: I can’t report on this one, as somewhat irritatingly I didn’t get an email notification letting me know my box had been shipped.

As usual I got my box delivered to work (I think I’m really starting to test the patience of the service centre), and was very excited to have it arrive.

This box comes in one of those nicely packaged foldy boxes with themed tape, wrapped with twine and a little Goodness Me tag. There was a bonus Soma Bite bar in the big packaging, which actually came across kind of random. I found myself questioning whether it was supposed to be in the box and they just forgot? It was an odd packaging decision.

Inside the box, the items were wrapped in tissue paper, and the box was stuffed with filling paper, which made everything present really well immediately upon opening.

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The April box contained:

  • Kokoluxe hot chocolate powder
  • 2 x Chai Tea sample bags
  • Just Jerky
  • Power Mix
  • Tom Yum Soup kit
  • Fruit-Free Bar
  • Citrus and Chia Bites

Total value: $25.60

 

The information booklet that came with the box contained the name of the product, some info about the brand and the cost of the item. however, those numbers were a little off, and I’ve calculated the above value based on the actual weight of the products received. Disappointingly, the total value of the box only met the cost of purchasing it.

In terms of the actual products I received, I’ve set out a list of what I think of those items I tried below:

  • Chai tea: delicious. I always find organic brands of tea have a better aroma than, say, Twinings. Whether that can be attributed to the organic-ness, or just they put more effort into packing a punch with the herbs and spices they use, I can’t say, but I would buy these in a store.
  • Just Jerky: actually amazing. The honey and coriander flavour was subtle but delicious, and the jerky bites were a great size. Jerky is never something I would contemplate buying, but if I had it in my cupboard I would probably never stop eating it. Definite 10/10. And consistently with the Goodness Me brand, the jerky is sustainable sourced and ethically produced. So that’s nice.
  • Soma Bites bar: hard no. Weird flavours and texture. Definitely would not re-purchase.
  • Fruit-Free Bar: very delicious. I detest dried fruit and any kind of fruit bar, because I subscribe to the belief that if you aren’t actually holding the fruit itself in your hands (e.g. an actual apple) you aren’t eating it. You’re just eating a sugar version of it. I’m not open to being disabused of this notion, not matter how much it appears based on rubbish, but of course you don’t have to agree with me. However these don’t feel particularly healthy to eat, since it is all packaged and stuck together and generally feels a bit fake, so I wouldn’t be substituting plain nuts for this bar on a regular basis.

Although this box was full of great and different products, the fact the value of the box didn’t greatly exceed the cost of subscribing really turned me off. Next month’s box has been advertised as ‘Decadent Desserts’, so I’m hoping that it will meet the quality of the goods in this box, and exceed the value!

[Review] Retreat Yourself Autumn Subscription Box

You know those inspiration memes that come up on instagram and pinterest? The ones that are full of broad sweeping views and beautiful people with their eyes closed taking in the world? The ones that make you want to just be that person so bad? The ones that kind of look like this?

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That is what getting the Retreat Yourself box is like. It is the best. Retreat Yourself is a health and wellness subscription box that aims to be more than a collection of products – it guides you on your journey to health and wellness. And it is fantastic.

To start with, the details:

The Box: Retreat Yourself, a collection of 10 – 15 products sample and full-time health and wellness products, with a focus particularly on Australian organic brands, which definitely has my support.

Cost: $49.99 + $9.99 shipping for an ongoing subscription, or $59.99 + $9.99 shipping for a one-off purchase.

Delivery: Every 3 months (not often enough!)

Delivery time: it took 8 days from delivery notification to delivery to my workplace, which is consistent with most Australia Post deliveries.

Each box is themed by season, and I subscribed in time for the Autumn box, which began delivery from the beginning of March, and is available all through (Australian) Autumn until sold out.

When this box arrived, I picked it up from the services department at work and high-tailed it home for lunch so I could take my time opening up all the products and enjoying all these treats immediately. This was such a fun process thanks to the beautiful packaging of the products, all of the fun items inside, and getting to peruse the Retreat Yourself Wellness Guide and Retreat Yourself Experience!

 

As you can see, the contents are beautifully wrapped with twine and some padding inside to keep the products nicely positioned (and not broken!). The Autumn box contained 12 items, and a collection of discount vouchers, so a great selection to keep you occupied for quite a while.

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I was really impressed with the array of items in this particular subscription box. As you can see, it includes some consumables such as delicious healthy hot chocolate and a paleo bar, some chill items like a candle and journal, which I’m dying to trial together, and beauty items. This varied collection results in a really exciting and fun box that lives up to the “health and wellness” branding. Set out below are the products, with links to where you can buy them individually and the price if you were to buy it as a stand alone product (and where the box item isn’t full-size, the price is estimated based on the advertised full-price item adjusted to the value of the item for sale).

  1. Coffee Not Coffee Hot Cacao Superblend (two sachets) ($3.46 value)
  2. MoveActive Non-slip Socks ($16.95)
  3. MoveActive Bag ($9.95)
  4. Skindles Skinefit Butter ($20)
  5. Love Ludie Fig Tree Candle (approx $7 value)
  6. Yoga Glow Detox Mask (approx $14.95 value)
  7. Retreat Yourself 100% recycled paper Journal ($12.95)
  8. Naked Seeds Pancake Mix with Maca & Chia ($14.99) (makes 10 – 12)
  9. Koja Fig and Hazelnut Breakfast Topper ($9.50)
  10. Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bar ($3.95)
  11. Harvest Bliss Vitamin C Bath Salts ($9.95)
  12. Pho Spice Bag (..don’t know, but smells amazing!)

 

Based on the above, the total value of this box is $123.65 – over double the cost of subscribing to the box itself, which I think is super impressive, and makes me feel my $50 was well-spent.

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I took a quiet Sunday afternoon to trial the Hot Cacao Superblend. I just blended the sachet with boiling water and let it sit for a while. The scent was a bit different – you naturally expect a chocolate aroma, but since this isn’t actually chocolate, it’s more of an earthy scent. But the drink itself really was delicious and felt indulgent, and I’d buy it again. If you wanted a more creamy hot chocolate experience I’d use heated milk and boiling water, but I was happy with the water.

The paleo bar was pretty delicious. The ginger and nut was good, and the ginger flavour wasn’t too strong which was great. The only reason I wouldn’t buy these is we don’t buy packaged snacks, in favour of stocking the fridge with fresh veg. But if you like to have packaged snacks around in an emergency, these bars are tasty and seem pretty healthy/legit.

The Skinefit butter is the smoothest, most delightful experience, and I’m so thrilled to have discovered this amazing product! It’s natural and has a really soft, delightful scent, and is great on my really dry elbows and rank wrists. This is probably my favourite product in this box.

Otherwise, everything else is in the process of being trialled – I’ve ear-marked the pancake mix for next Saturday morning, and am saving the candle for my next Sunday afternoon me-time session with the face mask and journal. But I should disclose that those socks have not been removed from my feet since being unwrapped. They’re fantastic. I’ll be trialling them at yoga next Friday night to see how grippy the grip really is, but they’re really cosy and the spots are fun.

The vouchers were for a variety of brands, and the discounts ranged from 10-25%. I’m not the biggest fan of just getting discount vouchers, especially when the discount is that minimal – it doesn’t really make me feel valued, or motivated enough to check out the store, since these discounts appear relatively regularly in this current retail market. Maybe a buy one get one free or an additional free gift with purchase  would be more motivating as a customer. Although the $1 boost juice voucher will be put to good use!

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The guide book is one of the best touches in this box. Not only does it contain the details of the products you’ve received in your box, it also has great articles that are relevant to the contents, and this one had some super cute recipes I’m looking forward to experimenting with. I love Pho, but I’ve never made it before, and this recipe is a great motivation to test my skills and try something new. The double chocolate brownies look absolutely divine, and the ingredients list is clean and fresh, my favourite kind! My favourite articles were the hip opening active stretch, with images to help you through, and the Power of Journalling article. Generally this mini magazine was a real little sample of self-love, and I felt a sense of calm and peace reading it – and the images inside are beautiful, I’ve stuck the opening autumn lives image on my wall at work to remind me to chill the eff out on those stressful afternoons. And the Retreat Yourself Day Plan is such a fun touch.

Overall, this box is really unique and feels luxurious and special. I loved the packaging, the contents, the booklet/mini magazine containing recipes and great articles about improving your life, and the retreat yourself day guide. Even though I didn’t follow it to the letter, I’ve stuck the guide up near my bed as a reminder for taking it a little easier on myself every day.

The price tag is a little hefty, clocking in at $60 including shipping. However, the box is only available every three months, so you can write it off as a rare self indulgence, and as demonstrated, it is great value for the array of full size products you get. Even if these aren’t products you’d typically purchase, I’d recommend the box – it has widened my knowledge of Australian-made products that prioritise sustainability, organic produce and ethical practices, all in addition to making really beautiful and thoughtful products.

Typically I’d cancel my subscription to free up my budget to trial other options, but this box was such a wonderful experience I’ll be keeping my subscription for winter – which is perfect timing, as it will be released in June, just in time for my birthday! And I see myself purchasing some one-off boxes for birthday gifts.

Overall rating: 5/5

 

 

[Review] Lust Have It! March

So I previously shared how I’d be reviewing a different subscription box each month, with the intention of getting more familiar with what all the subscriptions offer, the kind of products and variety you get, bang for your buck, and, of course, discovering new products. I have done a review of Lust Have It! and thought I’d cancelled the recurring subscription, but whoops! Turns out because I’d subscribed in the middle of February to the February box, and the billing for March was before the processing of my cancellation application, I have also ended up with the March box for reviewing. And I’m not going to lie – I am extremely tempted to just sign up for an ongoing subscription to this box, because it is so beautiful, and you get such fabulous products.

The Basics

So to recap, Lust Have It! is an Australian-based subscription box that sends out a collection of beauty, skin and hair products each month. Each “box” is actually a small zippered cosmetic bag, and contains 5 – 6 products depending on the month.

Cost: $19.95 / month, plus $2.95 shipping.

Delivery: Monthly

Delivery time: about a week between receiving a shipping notification and the box arriving on your doorstep.

What’s in the box?

  


Check out this month’s collection! Tucked in that bag of delightful treats are:

1. Full size Be A Bombshell Black Mascara ($15USD / approx $19.84AUD)

2. Body Shop Vitamin E moisturiser cream ($24.95 for a 50mL tub, so approx $7.48 for this 15mL tub)

3. Lanolips handcream ($15.99)

4. Mellow powder blush ($10USD / approx $13.22AUD)

5. Body Shop Oils of Life ($54.95 for a 30mL bottle, so approx $12.82 for this little 7mL sample)

6. Body Shop Italian Summer Fig 15ml sample spray ($36.95 for a 50mL bottle, so approx $0.77 for this 1.5mL sample)

7. Garnier Full & Luscious shampoo and conditioner ($5.95 for a 250mL bottle, so approx $0.24 per sample)

Total value: $70.60.

So in true girl shopping logic, we spent $20, but it was worth $70, so we made $50! Such a deal! But honestly, getting so many full size products that form part of my basic routine (particularly mascara), makes this feel like it’s worth it every time. And as I said in my previous post, I love the bags the subscription comes in – they can be multi-purposed for so many things, and are super sturdy.

So far I’ve experimented with the mascara and the fig perfume. The perfume has a gorgeous soft scent, and that tiny little spray bottle packed a punch. I would definitely buy a bottle of this to complement my more pricey perfume and make it last!

The mascara goes on nicely, and gave a nice black finish. I probably wouldn’t buy it, but only because I’m extremely partial to my Marc Jacobs mascara and don’t tend to waver from my favourites. However it is a great product and I’d recommend it to others.

The hand cream smells delightful, and is going to live with my mum, who loves rose-scented creams. I also gave the Vitamin E cream a quick trial; it is a really delicious smell, and has a thick, creamy texture and feels extremely hydrating as it goes on.

So, this delivery was so great I’m bumping my rating up to a 4.5/5. I may be renewing my subscription…

[Review] Me Before You

If you are debating with yourself whether you should read Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes, I suggest that you ask yourself, first, are you feeling:

  • melancholy?
  • in love?
  • a little bit lonely?
  • wistful?
  • a deep-seeded sense of lack of meaning in the world?
  • a longingness for something you can’t quite put your finger on?
  • minorly afraid of the inevitability of the options before you and a desire for the safety of maintaining sameness?
  • a desire to sink deeply into the soft corner of a couch under a heavy warm blanket with a cup of tea?

If you answered yes to any of the above, I beg you, immediately, leave your devil screen device and immediately delve in to this absolute delight of a novel. I was recommended this book on the advice of my mum’s book club (<3), and read it in the old-fashioned form of a large-print library book, which honestly contributed deeply to the whole experience and I’d actually encourage you to do the same.

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There’s nothing like the feeling of a novel in the hands.

But nevertheless. This book was one of those true, desperately heart-breaking, deeply fulfilling experiences with insufficient words to capture the world of emotion you’re engulfed in as you turn the pages.

The story is simple. You open to flashy, career-success Will, living in his larger-than-life world. You’re then quickly catapulted two years into the future, through the lens of the small, safe, stifled world of Louisa Clark. Louisa finds herself in the employ of a now-quadriplegic Will, as part-carer part-companion. Louisa accidentally and covertly discovers the real motivation behind her role, and makes it her mission to bring colour and light to Will’s shuttered day-to-day. You fall desperately in love with Louisa, and more desperately in love with Louisa and Will as each second passes. You journey through the process of facing your reality, and acknowledging that you should be, and you are, empowered to dictate your destiny – in all the various, frightening, fabulous forms that may take.

On occasion you’re provided a different insight from the key ensemble of characters to the lives of Lou and Will, which creates a slightly richer picture of the complex relationship that Lou and Will have with each other, their families and themselves. And, the ending. I desperately don’t want to take away your experience of following Lou and Will’s journey for the first time, but through the last 50 pages I underwent every emotion there was – and couldn’t have been happier I had foregone Friday night drinks to spend the evening with these characters.

My only small – not even complaint, but not wholly positive comment, is that the issues this book addresses are perhaps a little old-fashioned now, and the political take is, from my perspective anyway, outdated. Maybe that is more a reflection on my lack of recognition of different moral, ethical and emotional approaches to mine. But all I would say is prepare to suspend your position on euthanasia, whatever it may be, to properly absorb yourself into this absolutely gorgeous story.

But in the end, if you are a fan of, or simply in the mood for, a really cathartic cry and the feeling that the world runs on poetic justice, then pick this book up and dive in.

Like all adorable stories, this book has been adapted to film, and is due out in Australian cinemas on 3 June 2016. I stress that you should read the book first. But then, watch the trailer here. Sam Claflin is adorable, and Emilia Clark is an absolute delight. And be waiting like I am to pre-book your tickets for opening night. I’m heavily biased against viewing a film first, because I believe it robs you of the magic of reading, but that certainly should never stop you from watching the film after you’ve read the story, especially when exceptionally handsome actors are involved.

So, all up, I award this book a resounding 10/10. Thankfully there is a sequel, Me After You, but I’m extremely reluctant to dive in because sequels can severely let you down and I want nothing to spoil the simple magic of Me Before You. But my resilience will likely cave tonight when I’m hunting around for something to read, and  will probably indulge in the gateway drug of one-click on my Kindle. Poor Amex.

Have you read Me Before You? What did you think?

Kikki.K Personal Planner Unboxing

Monday was its usually epically terrible self until my email notification trilled, and the delightful subject line ‘Package for you!’ began blinking in the bottom right hand corner of my screen. Usually I try delay going to collect my deliveries from the darling service centre workers so that I don’t look too desperate, but I lasted about five seconds before running upstairs to view my brand new Kikki.K yellow leather personal planner (and a few other bonus purchases to qualify for free shipping because I apparently detest having money).

This box was worth the walk of shame back to my office with another delivery in hand, as it was my very first personal-size planner, and in one of my favourite colours for bringing some joy into my life. I haven’t had a personal size planner before. I was concerned that the size was too small for my messy handwriting and general impatience to be functional, and preferred the larger page sizes of the large planner. However, I’m now completely converted on having a personal planner in the collection. It is just too functional and convenient. Anyway, turning to the actual opening and exclamations of joy over this new buy.

For starters, of course the delivery packaging from Kikki.K is always on point:

I love the little stationery details. I used to have tonnes of stickers in this print, but tragically I think I used them all up. Maybe it’s time for Kikki.K to re-release them? I wish…

I purchased the Kikki.K yellow leather personal planner, the minimalist To Do list pad and the pineapple post-it notes (because I’ve already nearly used up my last set – I feel like less of a demanding pain in the ass if I give my secretary tasks written on pineapples).

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My extra treat yo’ self purchases ❤

Turning to the pride of this purchase, this planner is everything I wanted it to be: vibrantly coloured, beautiful material – both the leather and the fabric on the inside of the planner, compact, quality paper and dividers, and just generally really portable and fantastic.

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The dashboard has the standard pockets, and came with a teeny tiny To Do list. I know I’m jinxing jinx myself by saying this, but I need to get busier so I can start using all these To Do lists up!

The pre-printed tabs are Calendar, Meeting and To Do, and stickers are provided to customise the remaining tabs (or all of them, I suppose). The calendar tab has a perpetual calendar insert, and the Meeting and To Do tabs have lined paper headed with ‘Meeting Notes’ and ‘To Do’ respectively. The final tabs have unmarked lined paper to customise to your use.

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The back of the planner comes with a removable Notes pad. I’m not sure I’ll keep this one in the back of the planner, as I find the paper can get crinkled, but it is always useful to have easily removable notepaper with you at all times. I guess we’ll see.

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Is it lame that I’m excited to now have  a planner stack? Well if it is, I am happy to be lame, because it is so satisfying to look at that pile of organisation running my life.

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Overall, this planner was an absolute steal for $38.67AUD, thanks to the 40% off sale (that’s still running!). I enjoy that these planners can be constantly updated and reused according to how your life looks at that particular time. I refilled and repurposed my large Kikki.K planner from last year, so I know this personal planner is going to be a part of my life for the long haul. It’s current purpose is to track my volunteer extra-curriculars. I’ve become involved in some of the additional community programs running at work and externally, and I like to have a focussed spot to incorporate all of that information.

 

 

 

[Review] Lust Have It

I know subscription boxes have been around a while, but I’m still weirdly obsessed with them. Having a guaranteed surprise present arrive in your letterbox (or, if you’re like me, at your workplace, to the joy of the reception staff who have custody and knowledge of all my ridiculous online purchases) is a surprising thrill. I’ve dabbled with a few subscription boxes in the past, but often found it difficult to get a good review of the value of the box, whether it delivers on its promises, and how easy it is to sign up, to suspend, and to cancel. So I’ve taken it upon myself (to the joy of my savings account) to embark on a test and review process. Being located in Australia, quite a few boxes aren’t actually available here, so I’m starting with Aussie-based boxes and then shifting along in time (pleeeaassee exchange rate, do me some favours here) to subscriptions based overseas with international shipping.

Kicking things off is the Lust Have It Beauty Box – an Australian-based subscription for all things beauty.

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The Lust have it! card received in the Beauty Box

Lust Have It! advertises as a leading monthly beauty subscription. Each month’s delivery will involve a cosmetic bag, with 5 to 6 samples of a mix of products for make-up, skin, hair and body. If you love a product that you sampled, you can buy the full size product on the Lust have it! online store, or via the brand’s site (links to the brands are available on the Lust have it! site).

The box is $19.95 / month, plus $2.95 shipping and handling, so it isn’t the cheapest subscription out there. Then again, I like to support an Australian-based business, so all things considered, it isn’t the end of the world. You can also enter into an annual subscription for $250, which is supremely weird as that works out as $20.83/month, and you can’t renege on the contract. So I wouldn’t be locking myself in for an annual box, unless it is a gift to another person.

The Lust Have It box was my guinea pig as I found a 60% off first box coupon online (bonus!). To order, you create an account for the subscription, enter your card details for the relevant account, and sit back and wait. As I created my account just before the middle of the month, my box was sent almost straight away. I received a notification that my account had been debited, and an additional email with tracking details once my box left the warehouse.

It took exactly a week from delivery to receipt, which was half the time of that advertised on the FAQs portion of the site, although I live in a metro area which generally speeds things up.

The subscription does arrive in a cute cosmetic bag, as promised:

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The mesh is really convenient for visibility in your handbag or while travelling. The zip is very hardy, and generally this bag is really durable, versatile and super cute. There is mention on the website that you’ll receive a keepsake beauty box, but that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.

The January box contained 6 products: a blush, a lip crayon, two face products, a hand cream and what I think is a toner, but may also just be water in a pretty bottle for no apparent reason:

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Such zen-looking packaging!

Conveniently, in your cosmetic bag comes a card that explains what the products are and how to use them (thank god, because I approach beauty products like a 5 year old: with a lot of enthusiasm and zero skill).

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And if you love it, it also tells you the price if you want to go back for more.

In terms of the products themselves, the blush and the lip crayon are nice, but not really my kind of colours. The brand, Hikari, isn’t one I’ve ever heard of, although I’ve given it a google and it seems to be a US-based company specialising solely in make-up. The packaging is all clean lines and I love the black, although the plastic does feel a little cheap.The lid to the lip crayon is also a little flimsy, and something that I think would probably crack in the possession of someone whose handbag operates as a grinding machine for all possessions. However, I tried on the lip crayon and it goes on like a dream, and the colour is really vibrant and rich, so it is definitely being integrated into my weekly makeup rotations. The blush isn’t entirely my colour, so I’ll be gifting that on to someone else.

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The face scrub and face mask are from another brand that’s new to me, Skin Yoga. I loved the packaging, although once I finally worked out how to open it up, the box fell apart. Which is fine, but generally it does seem a bit wasteful. However, the packaging did give off the earthy vibe that I think the company is aiming for, which is fun in a sample-product situation.

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The box had a little tiny glass bottle with the product inside:

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Super cute, and very spa-like, although not particularly practical. As you can tell, the bottles are tiny, so I’m not sure how we’ll go getting the product out of the packaging. Also, I had a lot of trouble trying to uncork. But I think the amount of product you receive is perfect for getting a good tester of how it works, and a feel for whether you’d re-purchase. Although at $25/50g for a full-sized product, I’d probably just opt to make my own face  masks and scrubs at home with all-natural products. Or get something cheap and just as great at Priceline. But hey, I love a good indulgence, so you do you.

The hand cream is pretty standard, and the scent is nice and gentle. It’s a good size to keep in your handbag or at your desk. And the water? Look, I’m an advocate of drinking more water than just applying it to your face, but I can’t fault any attempt to hydrate.

Overall, this beauty box is fun, and I love the cosmetic bag. And as you get mostly very decent-sized samples which seem more to be full-size, other than the face scrub and face mask, it isn’t bad value at all. I’d be considering re-subscribing, but I don’t know if I am creative enough with my makeup to warrant monthly trials of new products to add. I’m more a creature of habit.

Cancelling isn’t as simple as it appears in the FAQ – there isn’t a ‘cancel’ button once you’ve logged in to your account. Instead, you select ‘Cancellation Form‘ in the bottom bar near the Contact Us area fine print. I was a bit skeptical, but I did get an email within 5 minutes confirming receipt of the Cancellation form and cancellation of my subscription as of the next pay cycle, so that was a good bit of customer service on their part.

Lust Have It! has some other quarterly boxes I’m really looking forward to trying out in future reviews, and I do think it’s a great company.

Final verdict for the Lust Have It! Beauty Box: 4/5