August Things

August is birthday month in the Untold Blisses household.  And what do birthdays mean?  A trip to the…

Celtic Manor!
Our new birthday tradition – a trip to my favourite UK hotel which this year included afternoon tea, a trip to the spa, and much booze.  WIN.

We bought a car
I adore my car.  His name is Kasper and he is my favourite possession.   But he’s getting on a bit, and I feel like he needs to retire to a nice farm in the country, so Husband and I took a trip to the car shop to look for something new.

The new one won’t be here for a couple of months yet so I have plenty of time to find a name for it.  And also to say goodbye to Kasper.  Oh no, I can feel the tears coming already.

Jessica Jones
I have resisted Jessica Jones for such a long time, dismissing it as too similar to Veronica Mars, or too superhero-ey.

I was wrong about that – it’s amazing and there are not enough episodes.  We’ve now moved on to Daredevil to see if that gives me the same feels, after which we’ll get started on The Defenders.

Bicester Village
I do feel bad for Husband this year, as I haven’t really helped him figure out what to get me for my birthday.  We’re both still trying to do this mindful/purposeful shopping thing so he didn’t want to buy me something for the sake of it.  So we took a quick drive up the A34 to Bicester Village to see if anything took my fancy at the Liberty Outlet store.

It turned out to be the quickest visit I’ve ever made as we just dipped into Liberty and Kate Spade, I decided on a Liberty purse, then we were back on our way.  We’re nothing if not efficient.

Much skincare
I’ve talked enough about my first online Sephora order but this month I also managed to scoop up a silly amount of K-Beauty from TK Maxx, and bought the Net A Porter On The Go Beauty Kit which has an awesome amount of fun things to try.  I really do need to start using this all up (what was that I said about mindful shopping?).

Ordering Sephora from the UK

Edit: Well, as of the end of July 2018, all of this is irrelevant.  Sephora have decided to re-direct UK visitors to their French site, and block us from shopping on the US site.  They’re blaming GDPR which is nonsense – they’re either collecting data they shouldn’t or are just plain lazy to figure out EU regulations.  

OK, so you can ask Google to translate the French website, but they don’t stock the same brands as the US site and there’s no VIB points to collect.  Looks like I’m going to have to plan more trips to the States *sigh*

Us UK folk have been able to order Sephora for a while now, but I’ve always resisted.  Sephora has always been a holiday treat for me, since my first trip to America a long time ago (sidebar – my first visit was actually to the UK store on my 18th birthday.  I made my Mum drive me all the way to Bluewater where I spent all of my birthday money.  Why did they leave us?!?!)

After three visits to the USA this year, my Sephora addiction has reached new highs, and the temptation of a birthday gift and 3x Beauty Insider points got to me so I placed my first online order.

It’s made incredibly easy as Sephora use Borderfree, so shipping is only $6 and all the customs and taxes are sorted on purchase – no guessing the upcoming bill or having the parcel held up at the border.  Not only that, but my parcel arrived only 6 days after I ordered, which is faster than I receive most stuff I order in the UK.

As you can see from my photo, my order was largely sheet mask based, but I also picked up two sets – one of the reasons I love Sephora so much as it’s a great way to try products out.  I picked out a Christophe Robin set as I’m trying to convince myself I don’t want to by a full size of the Regenerating Mask (I really do though – it’s so good).  I also picked up a Peter Thomas Roth Cult Classics kit and am already a huge fan of the powder SPF and the cucumber eye patches.

But my experience wasn’t all positive.  That birthday gift I talked about?  Not available to me because I’m in the UK.  I understand that some items are restricted for various reasons, but it’s super sucky that I can’t get my gift!  Not only that, but none of the codes on the beauty offers page worked for me (all restricted), and those 3 free samples they rave about was bloody impossible – 12 to choose from, and only 3 were available to me.  So I ‘chose’ those 3 only for them to ‘forget’ to include them.

When I raised this with them by email, they almost shrugged.  I know it’s only free gifts, but I’ve almost reached VIB Rouge so I kind of expected more.

Still, I’ll carry on enjoying the many sheet masks I bought.  Freebies aside, it was a good experience and I’ll probably end up making another purchase before the end of this year.  Those Peter Thomas Roth eye patches are calling to me already.

May Things

Wow, it has been a while.

For a bit of a kick in the butt, I’ve decided to follow a lot of other bloggers and post a monthly review, because then I’ll at least have one post a month.  Hopefully, this will get me back in the habit of regularly writing though.

No real format here – I’m just going to pick five things of note each month which I might have already blogged about or not, but definitely memorable for good (or not so good) reasons.  Let’s get started with May 2017.

Miami Trip
This deserves it’s own post, and is definitely my highlight of the month.  After a series of events and conversations, my Mum decided to take me and Husband, and my baby brother and his family to Miami, specifically my beautiful Surfside and I cannot emphasise enough how much relaxing we did.  It was perhaps a smidge too warm for some of us, but I spent most of the time lying in the palm garden not doing anything.  And the rest of the time shopping, which brings me to…

Sephora
What is a holiday without a trip to Sephora?  This isn’t everything that I bought – I also picked up some essentials like a million sheet masks – but I was really happy to find this Summer Hair Saviours kit – the Sephora at Aventura Mall has actually moved since I went last year, and is now much bigger so has more of these sets in stock.  The photo missing a couple of items that I’ve already used, but I’m excited to try the rest.  I love miniatures!

Eurovision
Once again, I failed to pick the popular songs.  I actually hated the twee-ness from the winning song – Eurovision for me needs high energy, bouncy, Europop and the Portuguese winner was the absolute antithesis of this.  Never mind.  My favourite was I Feel Alive by IMRI, and it has not left my playlist all month.

BFF Dinner
I have been an entirely crap friend of late, but I couldn’t miss celebrating the BFF‘s birthday, so we met for dinner at the National Theatre Terrace – what a great restaurant.  Once we’d actually found each other – for some reason, we both got to the table from entirely different entrances – and once we’d realised it was tapas and not just an odd menu.  I had deep fried veg with aioli which were so moreish, and delicious patatas bravas.  After dinner, we went for coffee and I had some very much needed chatty time.

Reflection
I didn’t really know how to title this.  Part of the reason for the time away is that May has become a tough month for us.  It was the first anniversary of my Dad’s death which is obviously something none of us will ever get over, so I took the day off work and had some time to myself to reflect.  I feel really close to my Dad when I’m outside as he loved nature, so I went for a long walk around the Pond on my own.  I felt it was the best way to mark the day.

Bring me an alien this year

Christmas has become a little different since the arrival of my two nieces.  They’re not quite old enough to understand what’s happening, but there is definitely a higher proportion of plastic flying around!  We had Christmas lunch at my in-laws, but as always, we spent a couple of hours at my parents in the morning opening presents.  Everything was nicely timed so we effectively opened presents over the course of the whole day.

I lucked out this year for several reasons.  Reason number one:

J4Husband upgraded my Nikon J1 to a Nikon J4.  My J1 is getting a little tired and I’ve spent the last year or so debating what Compact System Camera to get as I knew I wanted another mirrorless one.  I eventually settled for the newest Nikon – I knew my lenses would fit and I’m familiar with the settings.  So far, I love it – much smaller and lighter than my J1.  The above is the last photo I took with my J1 😦

Christmas 2014Reason number two that I lucked out was that my wonderful mother-in-law had just got back from New York where she heroically braved Sephora and Co Bigelow for me.  She bought me the Glitz and Glam Party Essentials which has so much great stuff inside, a set with 10 Sephora eye pencils, a Deborah Lippmann varnish in Let’s Go Crazy, and some of my favourite Lavender and Peppermint conditioner from Co Bigelow.  I have been in heaven playing with all my new make up over the past couple of days.

Husband also bought me an arctic fox necklace from Tatty Devine and Science For Her by Megan Amram which is hilarious.  My brother-in-law and his wife got me Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes which I can’t wait to dig in to, and a sleep set from This Works.

Now I just need somewhere to squirrel this stuff away.