Monthly Archives

September 2014


September Empties

September 30, 2014
September Empties

September Empties Gonna give you the heads up that the title is a bit of a fib!  I’ve been building up a shamefully huge stash of empties over the summer, so this is probably more like June/July’s empties that have lay in waiting for me to get my blogging groove back! Any other bloggers out there find that they end up with boxes and bags full of empties everywhere just waiting and begging to be posted? Anyway, onto the first lot of things I’ve used up! September Empties - Soap and Glory

Soap and Glory Heel Genius Foot Cream (£5.50) I swear by the Avon Footworks Heel Softening Cream most of the time, but this is definitely a close second favourite. The fresh almost-peppermint scent is delicious and it never fails to leave my tootsies feeling pampered.

Repurchase? It’s unlikely that I will buy it for myself as I usually (hint hint double hint) end up with some S&G bundles including Heel Genuis at Christmas  

Soap and Glory Scrub ’em and Leave ’em (£8.00) Probably my favourite of the plethora of S&G scrubs. I find I can make a tub last for ages with some restraint, but usually I blast through one of these in a month because they are SO amazing.

Repurchase? Definitely.

Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean (£8.00) I’ve been using this cleanser pretty much continuously since January and I’ve yet to find anything that leaves my skin feeling as soft and clean. It melts off my make-up in seconds and even makes my oily skin (and it’s horrible big pores) look clean and fresh no matter how badly I’ve been treating it.

Repurchase? I’ve got a couple of bottles stashed away so I never run out!

Soap and Glory The Righteous Butter (£10.50) The only body butter that comes close to perfection.

Repurchase? Another S&G treasure I keep stockpiled, so yes!


September Empties31 Avon Naturals Body Lotion in Black Cherry and Nutmeg Hand and Body Lotion (no longer available) I really love the Avon naturals range, but find it really frustrating when I find a scent I like that they stop producing. This was definitely one of my favourites, so I’ll be heading to Amazon and Ebay to track down another bottle when my stash of Avon hand and body lotions runs down!

Repurchase? If I can find it!

Avon Footworks XXL Heel Softening Cream (£2.45) You can expect to see one of these in practically every empties post ever as I easily go through one tub a month. Definitely the best foot cream I’ve come across, it’s unscented (usually, though sometimes they do release scented versions) no fuss, and works to keep my feet soft whether it’s flip-flop or boots weather. I smother this on before bed with a pair of moisturising socks and it is absolutely magic!

Repurchase? Absolutely!

Rituals Laughing Buddah Fortune Scrub (£9.00) I was actually quite underwhelmed by this scrub, which is surprising as I’m a big fan of Rituals in general. Though the smell was frankly divine, the scrub itself seemed scratchy yet somehow less effective than more comfortable counterparts. The only upside really is that I got this free with a magazine for a few quid so didn’t shell out the full price for something I didn’t really like very much.

Repurchase? Unlikely.

The Beauty Parlour Hand Lotion (no longer available) I found this hand lotion in a Morrisons January sale if I recall correctly, and though I really loved the scent and the texture (very similar to Soap and Glory Hand Food, not that you’d guess at all from the cheeky packaging!) a quick search on-line makes it seem as though this product is no longer available direct from anywhere, though there are a few floating around on Ebay. At the 99p I paid for it, this is a great dupe for Hand Food for those who want to save a few pennies, but unless this brand resurfaces for the supermarket Christmas gift aisle it might be lost to the beauty world forever!  

Repurchase? I’ve got a couple of Hand Foods on the go at the moment, but I probably would pick it up if I saw it!


September Empties41 Avon Naturals Apricot and Shea De-tangling Spray (£1.00) Another great Avon find, this is second only to the Aussie offering when it comes to de-tangling sprays., and tends to be a whole lot cheaper! It has a gorgeous scent and is an absolute god-send for getting a brush through hair that has been headbanged all over the place. I finished the last of this off post Bloodstock Open Air festival, which was probably the worst case of birds nest hair I’ve ever had!

Repurchase? Ayup!

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Floral and Flirty Blush (£2.99) The standard for dry shampoo I think, this isn’t my favourite scent (I like the tropical best) but it works as well as any other. I try not to wash my hair more than once a week to preserve colour so this is one product I just couldn’t live without.

Repurchase? Always

Aussie Three Minute Miracle (£4.99) This is the same conditioner I’ve used since I first stared experimenting with bright hair colours, and though it’s not the colour-specific type I use regularly, I find the reconstructer is the best for repairing all kinds of damage.

Repurchase? Yeeees  

Avon Naturals Chamomile and Aloe Vera Care and Repair Conditioning Balm (No longer available) Geez, c’mon Avon, please stop discontinuing all my favourite products this month! This is (or alas now was) a great little pick me up, espcially for my horrendous split ends

Repurchase? If they re-release it!


September Empties51   Dermatalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing Foaming Wash (£13.00) I was quite excited when I got this in the last ever Miss Glossybox (Which I wish they would bring back so much!) but it sat unused for quite a while, however I totally fell in love with this facewash on the first use! It’s been my in-the-shower facewash ever since and I’m a little bit heartbroken that it’s run out now. Still it’s well worth the price and I’m sure I’ll go back to it once I’ve run out of my far too large stash of face washes!

Repurchase? Yup

Balance Me Moisture Rich Face Cream (£24.00) I’m quite a fan of Balance Me, I love their company ethos and their products never fail, but I just couldn’t get too enthused about this moisturiser considering the full price. This sample has been great for throwing in a gig bag but I don’t think it impressed me enough unfortunately.

Repurchase? Unlikely

Philip Kingsley One more Day Dry Shampoo (£13.50) Undoubtedly the best dry shampoo I’ve ever used, I got this in a Glamour Beauty Edit box and I’ve tried to make it last as long as I can! As wonderful as it is though, I definitely can’t think about spending £13.50 on a hair product that I usually go through so quickly. Maybe I’ll treat myself and ration it out between Batiste!

Repurchase? Maybe


September Empties61 Jelly Pong pong Fairy Lashes (New style – £18.00) Don’t you just hate it when your favourite mascara dries out? This was a second repurchase after I first tried Fairy Lashes in a Glossybox, but it looks as though they’ve stopped selling this specific mascara and have replaced it with the new Curl Fairy Lashes. I’m of course willing to give the new one a try at some point, but I have a lot of other mascaras to get through first!

Repurchase? At some point

Tresseme Platinum Strength 60 Second Treatment Shot (£1.49) These are great little treats for a pamper night, though I find that I do need two to fully cover my long thick hair! This was another Glossybox find, and one I’ve already repurchased a few times. You can never have too many hair masks and treatments to counter the amount of bleach it takes to get blue hair!

Repurchase? Yes!

ELF Mineral Infused Face Primer (£6.95) Probably the best budget face primer your money can buy. This does have that silicone-y texture that some people don’t like, but I found it gave me a great base for my foundation and helped keep everything in place for much longer. I’ve since invested in some slightly higher end primers that I do prefer, but I’d definitely go back to this if I wanted to save a few pennies!

Repurchase? Maybe

The Body Shop Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream (£11.00) As someone with naturally shiny skin, I’m always looking for ways to try and get rid of the oil slick look, but as lovely as this moisturiser is (aren’t all Body Shop moisturisers lovely?) I didn’t feel that it really stopped my skin being shiny.

Repurchase? No

So that’s all for this especially long empties post! Have you tried any of these products?

Totally hellbent for a slightly less bulging empties box!



Essential repurchases from The Body Shop

September 29, 2014
The Body Shop Mini Haul

The Body Shop Mini Haul

With the near constant special offers available at The Body Shop I never have to wait too long to grab my essentials at way below the high street price! I was pretty sensible this time and managed to get an absolute bargain on four of my all time favourite products.

Vanilla Body Mist (£7.50)

This is my absolute favourite body mist in the world – I think I’m onto my sixth or seventh bottle by now. I like to take this along to gigs to freshen up after an hour on a sweaty stage, and despite the glass bottle I’ve luckily never had any accidents!  I always get a lot of compliments on this scent and find that it easily lasts as long as a good EDP. There are a few other fragrances I’d like to try from The Body Shop (especially the Raspberry EDT that Pants reviewed here)but I find that I come back to this one time and time again.

Early-Harvest Raspberry Shower Gel (£4.00)

My favourite of all the fruity shower gels on offer (With the new Argon Oil range there are now 10 different delicious scents!). I really think you can’t beat The Body Shop for shower products in this price range and I’m super-eager to finish off the bottle of scrumptious Honeymania I’m half way through at the moment so I can delve into this berry heaven.

Strawberry Soap (£2.00)

I’ve never been a fan of using soap on my skin, this is actually what I use for washing my make-up brushes. Unorthodox I know, but it’s the fastest way I’ve found yet and The Body Shop soaps are vegan friendly unlike some of the dedicated brush cleaners out there.

Vitamin E Moisture Cream (£11.00)

This was one of the first products I ever tried from The Body Shop and remains a firm favourite years later. Pants is the undisputed queen of the Vitamin E range (as demonstrated in her posts here and here!) but I always find myself dipping in and out of this simple but reliable face cream between other favourites. This is also the perfect moisturiser for mixing in with foundation on those days when you want a lighter finish.


So there you have it, one very restrained mini Body Shop haul that should have cost £24.50 but swung it’s way to me for a bargainous £11.09!

The offers change all the time but currently you can get 30% off when you buy three items or 40% off when you buy five items both in store and on-line with the code RADIANCE, so if you’re planning on restocking or trying something new head over to The Body Shop now where you can also bag free delivery on orders over £25!

Totally hellbent for reliable favourites

– Gem


Christian Lacroix Ambre for her EDP

September 28, 2014
Christian Lacrois Ambre EDP Avon

Christian Lacroix Ambre EDP Avon

Christian Lacroix Ambre EDP Avon

I’ve become quite a fan of Avon perfumes this past year but the new collaboration fragrance with Christian Lacroix has set my heart all a flutter.  The official blub reeled me in right away –

Christian Lacroix Ambre is announced as the scent that awakens the senses and imagination, intense, sensual and desirable, belonging to the category of chypre-gourmand fragrances. It opens with mandarin oil and juicy berries, leading to the heart of absolute rose, jasmine and rosewood and the base of amber and liquid caramel.

– and lets be honest, the packaging is very lovely for a budget friendly fragrance! I’d say you can definitely pick out the sweeter mandarin and berry notes, yet it never becomes cheap and fruity. The amber and caramel base keeps it in a decidedly grown-up-with-a-sweet-tooth territory and works so well with the brighter fruitier scents.

I’ve no qualms whatsoever  about displaying this next to perfumes that cost quadruple it’s price, and imagine I will be wearing it quite often throughout the impending autumn and winter, in fact I’ve only had the bottle for a week and I’ve already made a fair dent in it!

I find you do have to build up quite a bit to get it to last all day, but I’ve always been quite trigger happy with fragrance so that’s never a problem for me! I’m hoping we will be seeing a shower gel/moisturiser launched at some point, as I find laying and building up Avon fragrances helps a lot.

Christian Lacroix Ambre is available exclusively from Avon and will be launched officially in Brochure 17 for £20 including the lovely cosmetics bag and three full size Avon products as a free gift. If you’re too impatient to wait there are a good few dotted around on Amazon and Ebay right now.

Totally hellbent for designer fragrance that is very easy on the eye, nose and purse

– Gem

Beauty Boxes

Glossybox September 2014

September 22, 2014
Glossybox September 2014

Glossybox September 2014


Glossybox have fallen into my bad books lately. Not only have I received some terrible customer service but also I’ve found the past two boxes a little lacklustre. Considering I was singing their praises to the high heavens till recently, I still have hope that they will be pulling out some awesome boxes again but for now I can’t say that I’m particularly impressed.

The September 2014 Glossybox is designed by Karen Millen, and though I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever stepped foot in one of their stores, I do like the London imagery that covers the box this month.

Inside there are two full size products and six samples along with a £25 off voucher for Karen millen stores when you spend £150 (unlikely).


Glossybox September 2014 Model Co More Brows

ModelCo MORE BROWS Fibre Gel

The first full size product is a brow gel from ModelCo in light/medium. I saw the preview video with Binky from Made in Chelsea before the box was shipped and I was quite excited about this product, but I can’t say I’m particularly taken with it in person. I’ve tried these wand applicator brow gels before and I find them messier and less precise than my usual powders and pencils. Honestly this is likely going to end up in the back of a drawer somewhere unused because it’s just not enough to tame and shape my rather sparse brows, if you’ve naturally got a thicker brow though it would probably work a lot better for you!

Full Size

£14.95 from


Glossybox September 2014 mythic masque

L’Oreal Professionnel Mythic Masque

Next up is a replenishing and nourishing hair mask from L’Oreal. I was initially quite looking forward to trying this, but when you have to towel dry your hair before applying then get back in the shower to rinse it off? Who has time for that! It smells delicious and I have seen good things about this all over the web, so maybe I can convince myself that going through the bother of drying only to condition once more is a good idea (or more likely I’ll just apply it to wet hair >.>)

75ml Sample

£17.99 for 200ml from


Glossybox September 2014 SkinPep

SkinPep Enzyme and Acid Peel & Dark Circle Eraser

I do love getting products from lesser known companies but with only one sachet of eye-cream and two 3.5ml sachets of the face peel, I’m not sure if there’s enough product to really get a feel for them. The full sizes come at a pretty penny so it would be nice to get a slightly bigger sample to decide if you want to invest further or not. I really don’t feel that even a bundle of such sachets constitutes a place in Beauty Boxes if I’m honest, does anyone else feel this way and prefer to get at least a decent sized sample of even very high end products?

2x 3.5ml sample and 1x 2ml sample

£89.99 and £44.99 from


Glossybox September 2014 Nails Inc matte topcoat

Nails Inc Westminster Bridge matte Top Coat

The only thing I really got excited about in my September Glossybox was this lovely matte topcoat from one of my favourite brands, Nails Inc. I’ve been wearing quite a lot of matte nails recently, but with a topcoat you can turn every polish you own matte! It’s a full size bottle which will last for absolutely ages, the brush is so easy to use and it dries pretty quickly for those of you (like me) who are always in a hurry to get your nails finished. Best product by a mile!

Full Size

£12 from


Glossybox September 2014 Vichey


Vichy Normaderm Night Detox and Hydrating Care

I’m a big fan of Vichy skincare and even though these tiny samples are only 3ml, because they come in tubes rather than sachets you can likely get a few uses out of each one and thus a better feel for the products. The addition of both a day and night cream means these are perfect for throwing in an overnight bag for any impromptu adventures. I’ve not tried either of these creams before but both are products I’d be interested to purchase so even though I’m usually pretty meh about small skincare samples I’ll let this one slip just this once!

2 x 3ml samples

£12.00 for 40ml and £15.50 for 50ml from


So overall I have to say this isn’t one of the best boxes I’ve received by a long shot, very heavy on the skincare samples and only one product that I can really get excited about. I’ve not seen many reviews for alternative products this month though, did you get anything different in your box?

Totally hellbent for Nails Inc saving the day


Beauty Boxes

Birchbox September 2014 Review

September 18, 2014

How am I still catching up on so many blogs? Where does time go? How is it Birchbox time again! Alas, this month’s box has arrive promptly and has a “Happy Days” theme. – a box to celebrate capturing nostalgic moments and making new ones. Before I start with the contents, it’s important to note that I had help from a very special individual. Not only was I given help to open this month’s box, but I also had help taking my photographs;


Meet Pickle – the new addition to the Hellbent For Lipstick “red camp” household – Gem has been making the epic long journey of approximately 30 seconds from her house to mine to lavish attention upon him and he has been helping me to blog and work – distracting me from everything important that I need to do.


With his incredibly useful *raises eyebrow* intervening, I finally managed to get my box open and see what it had inside!


Agave – Healing Oil Treatment – 4ml sample – £16 for full size

I’m building quite a collection of hair oils, which I don’t mind so much since they are really great for my hair. This oil promises to restore and transform unmanageable frizzy hair and is a little different to the current “Argan Oil” trend. Although the sample is small, I’ve found that I don’t need to use a lot of oil for my hair despite it’s length. It smells quite fruity – which I imagine would be a little sickly if too much was applied but it’s quite pleasant in small doses.


Benefit – It’s Potent! Eye Cream – 30g sample – £25.50 for full size

Gem and I make no secret about our love for Benefit so our excitement about receiving anything Benefit related in our boxes is often difficult to contain. The sample is gorgeous and although I already own this eye cream, it’s very welcome in my skincare collection. After a few sleepless nights thanks to Pickle’s arrival, this eye cream is pretty wonderful at perking me up!


Korres – Citrus Body Milk – sample – £9.50 for full size

At first glance I thought this was a cheaply packaged runny body milk but I was very wrong. When held the packaging is more luxurious and sturdy, housing a beautifully thick body milk that rubs into the skin, leaving a gorgeous “herby” scent. There is no overwhelming Citrus smell and it soaks into the skin very quickly, leaving it feel lovely and soft with no greasy residue. I’ll definitely be looking out for more things from this brand.


ModelCo – Lip Lacquer in “Morocco” – small sample – £15 for full size

I own a few “lip lacquer’s” or should I say “lip gloss'” from ModelCo. One striking thing about them is the scent. They all smell like sweeties which I adore. As for the colour of this gloss, it’s a sort of opaque nude. Definitely wearable, my only qualm with lip gloss’ is the stickiness they leave behind so I’d usually much prefer to go for a lipstick over a gloss. Alas, this will pop nicely in my handbag for a bit of colour when I don’t want to don any lipstick.


Beauty Blender & Blender Cleanser – Full Size – £26

What a surprise this was for Gem and I! After both of us missed out on the beauty blender a few boxes ago, we thought we’d never receive them but this month we were very blessed and over the moon! We’ve been wanting to try these out for absolutely ages. A lovely egg shaped sponge to help us apply our base with ease. Perfect for gigs where we have to lather on the foundation to cope with the heavy stage lights. With it came some blender cleanser – or rather a disc of “soap” for cleaning it, which is also very handy.


Urban Fruit – Perfect Pineapple – 35g snack pack – £13.20 for 6

I am a fan of Pineapple, as well as cramming as many of my daily fruit and veg “allowance” into my body, so this was a welcome extra. Pure pineapple coated in a little rice flour and at 100 calories per bag – it’s definitely a healthier alternative to a bag of crisps. I like discovering products like this, but £13.20 for 6 packets is a little overboard for me when there are so many great healthy treats available.


Birchbox – Happy Days Photo Clip – Lifestyle Extra

This is so adorable! It’s made it’s home on my desk in the office – currently holding the vaccination details for Pickle until I find a fitting picture to go here – by fitting picture – it will probably be a ridiculous shot of Gem and I drunk at a festival this summer! This fits wonderfully with the theme of the box and really tops the contents off nicely.

I have to say that Birchbox have really stepped up their game in recent months and each box keeps getting better. Their themes are fun and filled with lovable and usable brands and it’s definitely my favorite beauty box out of Glossybox and Love Me Beauty. So if you want to try Birchbox out, you can do so for just £10 plus p&p each month via their website – or you can opt for a 3 or 6 month subscription if you’re already hooked!

Totally hellbent for a box full of amazing treats and a tiny puppy to help me dispose of the packaging


Vegan, Vegetarian

The Vegan Kind #TVK11 September Box

September 17, 2014


First things first – how are we on the 11th Vegan Kind Box already! Have I really been subscribed to a box for almost an entire year and not been disappointed once? I can assure you that this month is definitely no exception and as amazing as the previous boxes. Not to mention my great one of Vegan Kind Beauty Box which you can read about here.

So anyway, for those that don’t know and haven’t heard me singing the praises of this box, The Vegan Kind is a monthly subscription box which features 5-7 Vegan items and usually one beauty/lifestyle product. Despite my love for this box I can assure you I am not affiliated with them in any way! Anyway, I took my treats outside to to frolic with them in the sunshine. I know most professional photographers will frown, but I’m absolutely loving the beautiful shadows that natural sunlight has been casting on my photos recently and have really enjoyed my zero editing challenge!

Alas here is #TVK11


Ombar Organic Coco Mylk Bar – 35g – (RRP £1.99)

Yes! First out the box is some delicious Vegan chocolate. I’m not sure I need to say much more on this. After savouring my Vega bar a few boxes back for a good few weeks, I doubt this one is going to last as long. None the less I’ll enjoy every morsel of it and then worry about 208 calories I’ve digested later.

For some guilt free chocolate scoffing, brush Green & Blacks aside and check out Ombar.


Hoots Snacks Pickled Onion Flavour – 85g (RRP £0.60)

Ah, salty Vegan snacks how I savour you. Unfortunately these days I try to limit my intake of salty and sugary snacks, but these are a welcome treat. A little on the high calorie side of things so they will be eaten on a gym day but I’m loving the flavour and the low price! Now to just convince all of the shops that Vegan is the way forward.

You can visit their website here.


Bear Paws Raspberry & Blueberry – 20g – (RRP £2.95)

I am a huge fan of Bear snacks. So much so that this packet has now been demolished. The great thing about these though is they count towards 1 of your 5 a day and contain no nasty ingredients. I usually buy the little rolls they do but from not on I’ll be swapping to these bite size little nibbles.

You can see their site here or look out for their range in your local Holland & Barrett or supermarket.


Taste Spice Magic BBQ Dust – 40g – (RRP £2.95)

Another favorite thing of mine about this box is the variety of flavors I get introduced to. I love receiving the herbs and spices that are usually incorporated into the recipe card and this magical BBQ dust is perfect. It’s also sizable enough to last for a little while and I’ll definitely be repurchasing once I’ve run out.

Check out the taste spice website here.


Skin Likes Natural Deodorant – 70ml – (RRP £4.95)

I’m really enjoying this deodorant – 100% natural with a beautiful jasmine-esque fragrance it’s definitely different to the more chemically smelling under arm “smell be gones” that I tend to go for. The only thing that puts me off here though is the price – at nearly £5 this is quite steep and since I get through so much deodorant anyway, it’s bound to be a bit of a sting in my already stung bank balance. You can get a triple pack for just under £10 on their site, but even still this is quite a lot for someone who is used to spending only £1 on theirs. I guess the proof is in the pudding though and I’ll have to see whether this does me justice after 2 hours in the gym.

You can purchase these as well as Skin Likes for men via their website here.


Creative Nature Blissful Berry Snack Bar – 38g – (RRP £1.20)

This is actually a little different from the usual bars we get in this box, it’s more of a flapjack bar. (Unfortunately it’s riddled with sultanas) But I do like the concept of this. I’m going to give this a go and if all else fails, then Brains will happily finish it off for me. Another great post gym snack though and if you’re into super foods then check out their website for lots of other delightful treats.

Creative Nature Website


Nothing But Fruit Pineapple & Grape Snack – 11g – (RRP 1.20)

Last month I received a savory bag of noms from Nothing But – admittedly still in my “treat” cupboard and by treat cupboard, I mean full of raw, vegan protein goodies for a post gym fix. Since this was their new product launch it’s quite nice to try something else from their range. I love pineapple and grape so I’m sure I will enjoy these a lot!

Nothing But Website


TVK Recipe Card

Each month we receive a recipe card, usually featuring an ingredient received in our box. These fit nicely in the ring binder that you used to receive on the third month of your subscription, but by the looks of the welcome letter this has now changed to month 6. Alas this month’s recipe was from The Vegan Kind themselves and featured a fajita mix with home made sides. I love fajitas and I’ll be testing this out over the next few weeks!

As I usually mention, each month 10p from every box is donated to an animal charity chosen by the subscribers. This month’ it’s Serbia’s forgotten paws – a fantastic charity campaigning for better conditions for the stray dogs of Serbia.

Another great box from The Vegan Kind, if you’d like to get your paws on one then head over to their website here and subscribe for just £10 a month plus p & p. Next year should mark their first birthday so I’m really intrigued as to whether they will be doing anything special! Stay tuned for next month’s.

Totally hellbent for nommy Vegan treats always!


Lifestyle, Vegetarian

Hello Fresh Review

September 16, 2014

Many beauty boxes ago I received a £25 off voucher for Hello Fresh – a box that delivers you all the ingredients you need to make deliciously tasty meals. It’s been sat in the craft room for a long time until I came across it a week or so ago and decided to try it out. The boxes are usually £36 for three meals for two people. With my voucher, this meant I managed to get this for just £11, a price I felt was worth trying since that’s what I would generally spend if I popped to Tesco’s to “pick something up for tea”.

Intrigued as to what Hello fresh was all about, I ordered my first box on the Thursday that was scheduled to arrive the following Tuesday. There are a variety of boxes to suit everyone (although sadly no exclusive Vegan box as yet) and you can choose whether your box is for 2, 4 or 6 people.

I went for the Veggie Box for 2 people which included three meals. Delivery was prompt, early morning on the Tuesday. So prompt and early in fact that I was still in my dressing gown when I hazily opened the door with my pre-morning-tea grimace to a massive box that only just squeezed through the door.

Inside was all of the ingredients needed to make the three recipes provided – on individual recipe cards with a break down of specific ingredients, how much was needed of each and detailed instructions of how to prepare each meal.



Day One was Sri Lankan Sweet Potato and Green Bean Curry.

The ingredients were fairly standard which is nice because it means I can make this again. My only gripe is that there was one 175g packet of Basmatic Rice – two recipes called for 150g of Rice but did not state whether this was cooked or uncooked so I presumed they had forgotten to send me another packet. None the less for this recipe I used Bulgar Wheat instead – just in case. It worked just as well and used up some of my dried cupboard food.


This probably my favorite out of the three. It was creamy and spicy but packed full of flavours. I think the addition of the lime and the coconut and cashews in this really helped to add some crunch and zing and is something I wouldn’t have thought about putting in a coconut based curry previously. The recipe stated it should take between 30-40 minutes, which is probably right. If you don’t mind spending some time cutting and preparing your ingredients then the rest is mostly stirring and checking. Nutritional values were also provided with each recipe – for this one per serving  they were as follows;

  • 713 calories
  • 22g fat
  • 92g carbohydrates
  • 16g protein

This may seem a lot per serving, but actually is far better than a lot of other meals due to the fresh produce and being packed with delicious vegetables. The other great thing about this meal is that there was enough left over for the day after, so 10 minutes of cooking some more bulgar wheat and heating it through and we’d actually managed to produce 4 meals instead of 2.


Day two greeted us with Sicilian Caponata with Pine Nuts and Garlic Ciabatta.

This one was probably the easiest to cook – manageable in just under 30 minutes. Again a lot relies on you chopping the ingredients first, something which I really don’t mind as I tend to prefer my food fresh rather than from a pan.


This meal was my least favorite. It was nice and I did eat the whole bowl but it just didn’t tickle my fancy all that much. Probably something I will try to re-invent with a few different ingredient. There was enough for two people this time so we didn’t have any left over for the next day. Something I was pretty glad about.

Nutritional Values were;

  • 395 caloreis
  • 1g fat
  • 58g carbohydrates
  • 12g protein

The lowest in calories and fat, but bumped up a little by the Ciabatta. I was a little skeptical at having only received one Ciabatta roll to begin with, but actually cut in half and then in two was plenty for us both.


Day three and our final meal was Escondido Crusted Mexican Rice with Jalapenos and Chipotle.

This meal involved a little more prep – it was advised to cook the rice the night before and leave on a baking tray in the fridge until ready to use which I did. It wasn’t too much hassle really as I simply put the rice on to cook whilst I was cooking the day before.


When I said that the Sri-Lanken curry was my favourite – I may have lied. This was most definitely on par with it and I would probably enjoy eating both of them simultaneously for the rest of my days. What really helped is the freshness of the ingredients and again the addition of things that I wouldn’t usually thing of – the wedge of lime to sprinkle over at the end and a dash of corriander to garnish. I absolutely love corriander and often forget how well it goes with Mexican style dishes so since feasting on this I’ve been adding fresh corriander to all my recipes similar to this since!

Nutritional Values were:

  • 458 calories
  • 2g fat
  • 83g carbohydrates
  • 16g protein

Again another delicious meal, but with a fairly low calorie count and packed with yummy veg. This also did us for two meals, although I did cook the entire packet of rice so this probably has something to do with it.


As well as all of the ingredients for the above meals, I also received a few little extras. An early grey tea bag from teapigs and a £3 off voucher when I spend £25 as well as a pip fruit juice drink which was very yummy.

Overall I’ve had a pretty amazing experience from Hello Fresh. Despite my apprehension at first, I’ve really enjoyed discovering new recipes and have been overwhelmed at how fresh the ingredients were – they all seemed to be organic or sourced locally. It is a little expensive at £36 a box and I could probably have bought most of the ingredients myself for a lot cheaper, but overall I can’t really grumble since everything was already mostly measured out for me and delivered straight to my door and I never seem to visit the supermarket for “tea” without picking up things that I really didn’t need.

Will I try this again? Well actually I did order another box, unfortunately it was lost in delivery, but even this experience was very positive. As soon as Hello Fresh had discovered there was a problem with my box, they e-mailed me immediately to let me know what was going on so I wasn’t left hanging around for a delivery and wondering why the evening’s meal hadn’t arrived. They were also very accommodating and gave me a full refund, kept me up to date with everything that was going on and have arranged for some extra credit to be put on my account for my next box. I’ve really been blown away by the customer service and can’t fault the guys at Hello Fresh one bit! Definitely one step ahead, which made my experience so much more positive.

Each box is delivered weekly, but it’s not like other subscriptions where you have to jump through hoops to cancel or change your box type. Your online account dashboard is super simple to use and you don’t have to have a box delivered every week. Choosing your boxes is very simple and you can pick when you want your deliveries simply by clicking and un-clicking the dates on their handy calendar up to 8 weeks in advance. So if you fancied a box after each pay day, you can do this. You can also see what meals are coming up in the next weeks box, so if it’s something you don’t like, you don’t have to have a box!

It’s not something I can justify doing weekly, but I’ve scheduled in a box every 3-4 weeks and think it’s a great idea to get people excited about cooking healthy meals instead of resorting to overly processed frozen foods.

If you’d like to try Hello Fresh, or simply have a look at what meals they have coming up or what they offer, simply visit their website at Hello Fresh and take a peek. If you’ve already tried Hello Fresh, I’d love to know what box you chose and what your thoughts were!

Totally hellbent for the freshest ingredients and the tastiest new recipes

– Pants

Beauty Boxes, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Vegan Kind Beauty Box

September 15, 2014


For those of you who are regular readers, you will know that The Vegan Kind is a monthly subscription box that delivers 100% Vegan and cruelty free snacks, lifestyle items and beauty products. You will also probably know that it’s one of my favorite monthly boxes and a huge part of this is down to the discovery of new Vegan products. When they announced they would be releasing a one off beauty box packed with cruelty free products I was so excited and have been waiting for it’s release ever since. Granted I’m a little late ordering this as Gem and I have been away but the most important thing is that it has arrived and it’s in my possession!

So enough rambling, I took this lovely box into the sunshine and captured the following treats in all their unedited glory;


Inika Black Caviar Eyeliner – (RRP £13.50)

***Swatch below*** A girl can never have too many black eyeliners right? I’ve fallen out with pencil eyeliners over the years since I discovered liquid and gel, but I’m willing to forgo my bad experiences of the panda look 5 minutes after application and give this a shot. It’s application is smooth and creamy and it promises to deliver an even colour that wears all day without smudging. (I’ll definitely be the judge of this!) Another great this to note about the Inika Eyeliner is that it’s formulated with natural plant products and should be suitable for sensitive eyes. A cruelty free eyeliner that’s doesn’t smudge, can be worn all day and won’t leave me teary eyes and bleak faced – a look which others mistake for misery and sadness and beauty bloggers rcognise as “eyeliner eye”. These are bold statements to live up to and I’m going to test the to their limits! Statement aside, at £13.50 I’m not sure I could be lured into purchasing this again even if it does turn out to be the best thing I’ve ever discovered.

For more of their products you can visit their website (the we developer in me raised it’s eyebrows at the irritating navigational ability of their site!) over at


Furless ‘Must Have’ Stippling Brush – (RRP £8.50)

Oh Vegan Kind … you are the real Prince Charming. Plying me with chocolate and treats and saving the animals of the world and then you go and pull off a gesture like gifting upon me a Furless brush! I have longed for one of these brushes – just one – just to try – just to hold! Although I am contented with my Real Techniques brushes (do you have any idea how hard it is to find the perfect cruelty free makeup brush?) I have been lusting after the Furless brush range since forever. So why have I not invested in their brushes before? Probably something to do with the shipping starting at $66.90 AUD (that’s about £40 for us Brits depending on the currency rate). Thanks to The Vegan Kind, I can now experience just how beautiful their brushes are. There is only one word I need to describe this – soft – yup, the softest brush I have ever encountered! I can not wait to take this on tour with me and when I’m flush with cash, (or win the lottery) I might convince myself that £40 is worth it to support a cruelty free and Vegan brand.

To lust over all of their other things, you can do so here. Definitely not for the weak ‘walleted’.


White Rabbit Lime and Coconut Cleansing Water – (RRP £4)

There has been a bit of a mantra going on throughout this box – “Do Not Eat”. More on that later though. This gorgeous cleansing water is most definitely a great alternative to facial wipes or cleanser and toner. Not only are all the ingredients skin friendly and natural but it smells and absolutely treat! It took all my will power not to down it in one and I’m having to remind myself that this is for my face. It feels quite oily when used, but I quite like this in a product especially as my skin is dry (and my skin is hurtling towards Winter – when it could give the desert a run for it’s money!). It also leaves my skin feeling refreshed and clean which I don’t always get from a face wipe and even some cleansers and toners. This is definitely a brand I will be checking out!

Their etsy store can be found here.


Beautiful Movements Cosmetics Beauty Eyeshadow – 1g sample in “Adobe Brick” – (RRP £3.50)

***Swatch below*** This is the first of the two mineral eyeshadows in this box. Adobe Brick is a shimmery bronze which ordinarily I would have shied away from in favour of the classic neutral or black eye, but actually when tied with a green eyeshadow, you can make some beautiful smokey eyes with such a shade. Application wise it’s beautiful. Not too boring and brown but also not gold, thus the perfect “bronze” – I reckon this will look great with my gold Manowar top and teeny gold studded mini shorts (providing I lay off the pies for a while!) and will also get a look in when it comes to packing my stage makeup!


Beautiful Movements Cosmetics Beauty Eyeshadow – 1g sample in “Platinum Tiara” – (RRP £3.50)

***Swatch below*** Platinum Tiara is also a shimmery shade, this one is grey which is great since I absolutely love grey shadows as they are so versatile. I initially thought it may have been silver but on swatching the grey really shows itself, enough sparkly to add a pop to your eyes and this applies equally as well as “Adobe Brick”. I will be making a mental note to use more loose eye shadows from now on instead of allowing them to gather dust in my “collection” (*cough* hoard *cough*).

For more shades and other products you can visit them here. Take note if any one wants to buy me “Aquatic Galaxy” and “Emerald Showers” I would be very grateful!


Simply Soaps Orange Cocoa Bath Melt – (RRP £4.50)

Unfortunately, this is another product not for eating. It is -not- chocolate, despite it’s look/smell and it probably won’t taste very nice if I put it in my mouth. (Hurp de durp to all of you disgustingly minded people out there … yes Gemma, that includes you.) I bet if you enjoy baths that this would be absolutely amazing to use and I can imagine it being incredibly relaxing. Unfortunately I hate baths and the closest I get to submerging myself in that much water is the occasional swim in the pool and bathing CJ the pooch so I wont be getting to use this. I’m willing to donate this to a much worthier cause though for their enjoyment.

For more soapy products, Simply Soaps site can be found here.


Above are the swatches for the Inika Eyeliner and Beautiful Movements Eyeshadows

It would appear that The Vegan Kind beauty box has been an absolutely success. I’ve enjoyed this more than any of my regular beauty box subscriptions and I’m a little sad that it’s all over now. Although this is a one off, I really hope they look at putting together another beauty box. One of my biggest gripes about the standard beauty box is having to check all of the labels and products to see if I can use them, and then being sorely disappointed when I find out that I’ve ended up with useless items made from fish scales or goat hair. This way The Vegan Kind do all the hard work for me and I can enjoy all the fabulous bits and pieces they send via the postman!

If you want to get your hands on their one off beauty box, you can do so here for just £15.00 plus p&p. I strongly urge you all to purchase one, even if it’s just to encourage them to release another! (Ahem did I mention you get over £35 worth of stuff that didn’t hurt a single animal!)

To convince you even more of how much you need this box in your life, I’m just going to leave this picture here;

Cute-Highland-CowSurely this appeals to your inner Vegan? ^Photograph courtesy and © copyright of Four Jandals Blog

Until next time Vegan Kind Beauty Box (because there really should be a next time!)

Totally hellbent for not having to google all of the most ridiculous and random cosmetic ingredients!




The Concert Tag

September 14, 2014



Gem and I enjoying ourselves thoroughly at our last gig – The Aonia “Sunchaser” Launch

It’s been a good few weeks since we’ve been tagged in a post, but Aimee Belle of Aimee Belle Blogs tagged us in this rather unusual concert post, which is right up our street! You can check out her post here.

1. What was your first concert and how old were you?

Pants: When I was very young I remember my mum taking me to “Party In The Park” in Canon Hill after she had won tickets. I vaguely remember seeing A1 before they were A1, Madness and a few others. My first real metal concert was probably Cannibal Corpse and Kataklysm though back when I was around 13 years old.

Gem: I think officially it was Shakin’ Stevens when I was about four, how rock and roll! My first proper gig was Ocean Colour Scene at the Birmingham Academy when I was in my early teens, I remember feeling so grown up going to a proper gig without my parents!

2. What was your best concert?

Pants: Hmm there have been too many. Each special in their own way. From Symphony X on Gemma’s birthday a few years back, where I was surrounded by Symphony X fans who were all singing as loudly as Gem and I (heartwarming stuff) to seeing Behemoth and Evergrey in incredibly intimate venues with about 20 other people before they both became big. We’ve also played some pretty outstanding gigs too of which Thunderstone and Edguy come to mind. So in summary – I can’t pick one.

Gem: I can’t pick just one! Nightwish at Wacken 2013 was definitely one of the most magical experiences of my life along with Manowar’s show at the 02 in Birmingham. I’m also going to throw in every Iron Maiden show ever, Symphony X on my Birthday and getting right to the front for Avantasia and Revamp at Bloodstock. 

3. Have you ever been a VIP and met the performer? If so, who?

Pants: Hmm many times – Gem and I were asked to stand in as merch girls at Metalfest in Dudley, which saw us receive lots of free merch and many offers to go to hotel parties with a lot of the bands that were playing – we’ve also played some pretty prestigious gigs which have meant meeting other performers and being classed as a “VIP” – and of course, there was always naked Kiuas (perhaps Gem can explain this one ;o) )

Gem: We’ve had our fair share of AAA passes, but “Naked Kiuas” was probably the most spectacular, yes. We’re friends with their sound engineer and he invited us backstage for a drink (90% vodka, 10% cranberry juice in a pint glass…never drink with anyone from Finland unless you have a liver of steel!) when suddenly the band returned from their showers in various states of undress and took great delight in showing us their “Who has the best underwear” competition. I think it was a toss up between the Iron Man pants and the Kiss boxers! They were very casual and nonchalant about being naked in front of strangers though, must be a European thing!

4. Who would you love to see in concert?

Pants: I would have -loved- to have seen Death in it’s original form but sadly that will never happen … that and Dio which we definitely do not talk about! Besides that I’ve seen pretty much all of my most favorite bands.

Gem: No. We don’t talk about Dio. The only band I would love to see that I havn’t yet (off the top of my head – I’m sure there are some more!) is Ancient Bards.

5. What is your go to outfit for a concert?

Pants: Generally speaking a black denim mini skirt, a band t-shirt, my patch bag, tights or leggings and boots. Sometimes I wear skinny jeans but that’s a rarity. 

Gem: Band t-shirt (though never ever the band you are going to see of course!) and some manner of black leggings with boots usually. 

6. Last concert you went to?

Pants:  It would have been Bloodstock Open Air but as for the last band of the festival that we saw, I cannot remember. (Oops … wine …)

Gem: The last band that we saw at Bloodstock was Revamp, and then the last few songs of Morgue Orgy!

7. Future concerts?

Pants: Many! We have a few of our own gigs to look forward to – our photographers 50th birthday and another with Birmingham University’s Metal Society (our tour dates are here). Besides those we are planning on heading to Damnation Festival towards the end of the year and perhaps a small trip to Leicester to go and see Orphaned Land too.

Gem: Damnation Festival, Orphaned Land, Sabaton and Behemoth are all in the diary!

8. Which artist/group would you love to meet?

Pants: I’m very lucky to have already met most of the people I’ve wanted to! Obviously I would thrive off being able to kidnap Russell Allen and keep him in the imaginary basement tunnels between mine and Gem’s houses with all the other people we want to keep forever. I’m not convinced that will happen any time soon though.

Gem: I’d love to meet Manowar, but I wouldn’t trust myself not to throw myself at their feet and shout “We’re not worthy” lots… <- * I am not worthy – I have slightly more control over my inner fan girl than Gem ;o)

9. Would you go on stage and sing a duet with your favourite artist?

Pants: Oh definitely! Hmm maybe not a duet though – maybe I’d play bass for them and leave the singing to Gem.

Gem: I fantasise about duetting with Russell Allen or Floor Janson approximately 23409238432904 times a day!

Who do you TAG?

Pants: Ooo tough one – I’m going to tag Simone from Thirty Something OAP, only because I’m nosey and really want to know her answers to some of these questions!

Totally hellbent for heavy metal and all the concerts it comes with!

Gem & Pants


Back on Track

September 3, 2014


Ever notice how you see a lot of posts about “Getting back into blogging” or “Getting your blogging groove back” around this time of year? I can totally appreciate the slump of activity that happens over summer and then the sudden rush of content once the new school year starts.

I’m a real (sort of) grown up with a round-the-year job so it’s not so much that I go home for summer or enjoy a flood of new inspirational uni stationary in September, rather that I’m in a long distance relationship and the only extended time we get together in during his university break in the summer. We’ve had a wonderful summer together, but parted ways tearfully on Sunday when he returned to Holland for his final year of studies. Being in a long distance relationship can be very trying even with an end in sight, but the upside is that every moment together is absolutely cherished.


So whilst I’ve still been spending far too much on cosmetics, and have had plenty of inspiration to write posts, quite simply I’ve been drinking up the time with my other half and blogging has fallen by the wayside. I have the handy back-up of sharing HBFL with Amie who has kept content flowing in my absence, but in truth I’ve really missed my little corner of the internet and  feel really good about a sudden rush of inspiration for writing and blogging in general.

It can be a bit intimidating writing that first post after such a long break, but here I am and once this one is out of the way I can get back to the far more interesting topic of shiny make-up.

Totally hellbent for getting back into the swing of things.