The products that saved my skin

DSCF4127-2.jpgEver since I turned 11 I have had acne. Granted with age it did seem to get better but I was still burdened with endless amounts of spots even after I left my teen years. I had tried everything under the sun (including the sun) to try and get rid of them but nothing was working for me longterm. Last November I took it upon myself to really crack down and sort my skin out. I invested in some Kiehls products which did seem to help eliminate the spots that were on my face but it didn’t stop new ones from arriving. At this point I had had enough and made an appointment at the doctors.

I had previously been put on Roaccutane but only managed a week because it made me feel so anxious and dizzy all the time. After explaining this to my doctor she decided to put me on some antibiotics and 2 creams, one for the evening and one for the night. I began using them all but found the antibiotics made me feel really sick and made my skin painfully dry so I decided to persevere with just the creams. I am so glad I did. Coming up to 4 months later I have had no real breakouts in weeks and am only left with small scars and some redness which are both easily covered up. I try not to wear much make up anymore but finally feel confident enough to do that thanks to all of these products….(none of this is sponsored, I just cannot rave enough about how much they have all changed my skin)

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CREAMS

Prescribed Creams – As I mentioned I went to the doctors and they prescribed me 2 creams to use (Duac in the morning and Differin in the evening). These obviously can’t be bought over the counter but I thought it would still be helpful to mention them in case you wanted to ask your doctor about them. I only use about a pea size of each after I have washed my face and they are miracle creams. They do dry your skin out quite a lot and in the first couple of days the sensitive areas of my skin stung a bit but I believe that is how they clear the acne (by drying out the bacteria) and stop it from returning. You can apply normal moisturiser over the top of them if your skin is feeling too painfully dry.

Kiehls Breakout Control Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment – Even though it is very rare now that I will get a big spot I am not immune to them. As soon as I feel one coming I will layer it up with a tiny bit of this cream, in the morning and the evening, and within 2 days the spot will be gone. This really does dry out your skin so be sure to use it sparingly and expect a few dry patches but I would chose that over a mountain size spot any day!

SOS Solution for Scars – I actually learnt about this product through a Katie Snooks vlog and thought I would give it a try myself. As previously stated my skin is now left with a lot of acne scars from when I used to pick spots (I hate my past self) and I didn’t want to add oils, like bio oil, onto my face because I was more focused on clearing my acne. So far this cream is working quite well. I have found a major improvement on my temples and cheeks but my forehead still seems to be a problem. *To be fair I have so many scars on my forehead I think it might be past saving.* I just massage it into my skin after I have used my prescribed creams and it literally seems to push the scars off my skin – magical!

CLEANSERS

Garnier Pure Active Micellar Cleansing Water – After a long night out or a day at uni all I want to do is get any make up off my face and this is always what I reach for. It is such a quick an easy step to get most of the make up off and this specific one is tailored for skin that is prone to imperfections. What more could you want! I just put a bit on a cotton pad and wipe it all over my face. It is also really refreshing to do on a sunny day or after a work out if you want to cleanse the sweat away (how lovely)

Simple Vital Vitamin Foaming Cleanser – I knew that the prescribed creams were going to be quite harsh on my skin so I wanted a cleanser that would clean my skin but not load it with other chemicals. I find this cleanser leaves my skin feeling fresh and helps to put a bit more life back into it seeing as the creams can make it quite dull. I use it every morning and night and then just rinse off with some warm water. Plus who doesn’t love a bit of foam – it is so satisfying! DSCF4136-2.jpg

There we have it. All the saving graces that have finally started to clear my acne after 10 years! I will carry on using them until the prescribed creams run out and then I can always do an update a bit later on down the line if that is something that you all would like!

Let me know your favourite skin care products and if you have any questions please ask them below

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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Why honesty is the best policy

2017 has been an interesting year for all of us and I am no exception! If anything though it has taught me a lot about myself and the people in my life (however cliche that sounds) and I have come to conclusion that trust and honesty are the most important things to me.

As we got to the end of 2016 I managed to bag myself a boyfriend but as this year is drawing to a close I have lost him. A major part of it was down to him being unfaithful but more than anything it was his lack of honesty. He let me carry on for 4 months thinking that we were happy and that he was as in love with me as I was with him. Had he told me back in September what he had been doing would I have forgiven him? No but I would’ve respected him more for being honest and my ability to trust in others wouldn’t be as hindered as it is now. Relationships are built on trust and at the very least you owe it to your partner to be honest about a mistake or a change in heart no matter how horrible it will be to tell them.

This past year has also taught me how important it is for me to be honest to the people around me. I have struggled with anxiety for a few years now and I used to try and hide it and act like nothing was ever wrong but this year I have changed that. If I feel uncomfortable or scared or anxious now I tell someone. If I don’t want to go somewhere because I know it is going to give me a panic attack I will say that to someone, not come up with some other alternative excuse that doesn’t involve my mental health. I have learnt to embrace the things that make me happy and not feel embarrassed about them anymore. Yes I still sleep with a teddy, the bear is not just sat on my bed because it looks cute. Yes I love Disney and I know all the films off by heart because I watched them yesterday not because I watched them loads as a child.

Most importantly though I have learnt to be more honest with myself. I used to feel a major pressure to conform to what others wanted me to and to do things just to make other people happy. I would hide away my own feelings and try to act like the people around me in order to fit in. Not anymore though. If I don’t feel happy in a place I am going to leave. If I don’t feel like someone is appreciating me for who I am then I am going to create distance between me and them. If someone wants something from me that I am not comfortable with doing then I am going to say no. It is time for me to accept that I do have anxiety. I don’t always want to go clubbing, I don’t want to travel to Thailand for 2 months, I don’t want to get off my face drunk, I don’t want to have casual relationships and that is all okay. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to and from now on I am going to listen to myself more and less of the opinions of those around me.

The ability to have feelings and opinions is what makes us human and it is time to be more honest with each other about them. Wether it’s to your partner, your family, your friends or yourself 2018 is the year of telling the truth and I am bloody well looking forward to it!Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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Who doesn’t want to find chocolate under the tree?

DSCF3552-2.jpgThere is no better combination in the world than Christmas and chocolate! That’s why, when the lovely people at Hotel Chocolat said they would send me over some stocking stuffers to try, I could not be happier. Every year they bring out a range of festive goodies that make your mouth water like a kid in a candy store (which in this case is actually very relevant) and all of it would make an amazing pièce de résistance to your stocking.  Hotel Chocolat are also currently doing a deal on some of their stocking stuffers where you can get 3 or more for £6 each so what better time to stock up. Now I know that you can also pop to poundland and get lots of packs of £1 chocolates, which may be a better option for if you’re bulk buying for family/friends, but if you really want to treat someone special and add a luxurious touch to their stocking then Hotel Chocolat is the place to go! I will add in here that they sent me these sweet treats but this is not a sponsored post and every opinion is my own. Blogger bit over now back to the chocolate!

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How adorable! Seriously. How adorable are these little guys! These Portly penguins are milk chocolate with chubby little white chocolate bellies. I have come to discover that they are the perfect size to melt on top of a biscuit with some marshmallows to create some yummy instant smores. Of course they are equally as delicious on their own and even though their little faces do make you feel a bit guilty for scoffing them down, they won’t last in the packet for long I can guarantee that! They can be found here.

Chocolate Christmas Tree Baubles DSCF3534-2.jpg

Do you remember those days when you used to hang little chocolates onto your tree and then try and sneak them off to eat whenever your parents weren’t looking? Maybe that was just me but these little chocolate baubles really brought back some old memories of christmas for me. This set is perfect for those people in your life who like a bit of selection as the baubles come in milk, white and dark chocolate. They are solid on the outside and then filled with the smoothest, richest chocolate filling I have tasted in a long time, definitely one for those people who like to savour their chocolates! They can be found here.

Chocolate Snowman Tiddly Pot – WhiteDSCF3549-2.jpg

This one would be perfect for all the little children you have in your life! Inside this adorable tiddly pot, perfect for little fingers, there is a mountain of mini white chocolate buttons. Also perfect for adding on top of hot chocolates or inside cookies! Hotel Chocolat have a whole range of different flavours in these tiddly pots, each with cute decorations on the front, and I think it would make a great gift on its own or even as a set of 3 or 4 that your loved one can then pick and choose between. They can be found here.

DSCF3505-2.jpgGo and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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Afternoon tea at Cupcakes and Bubbles

FullSizeRender-4.jpgOne day I was out exploring Norwich and ended up outside the cutest little cafe ever called Cupcakes and Bubbles hidden away on Timber Hill.

The cafe itself has a small shop at the front selling lots of lovely treats from cards to candles and coffee to choctails but the best part is they have a range of dog friendly treats. The doggy popcorn was was the highlight for me but they also had an adorable selection of canine cupcakes from the barking bakery. If you have a dog and you’re in Norwich definitely stop by to pick them up some goodies!

Tracey took us to our seats and I cannot give her enough praise for what an amazing hostess she was. She was so unbelievably friendly and it made me feel like I was in the comfort of someones house as it was so cosy and welcoming. We started with a bottle of Prosecco (an interesting choice from Dan that led us to be walking around Wilkos rather tipsy at 4 in the afternoon) which was really yummy and then Tracey bought out our  plate of goodies. The finger sandwiches came in 4 different flavours and tasted really nice but the highlight for me were the scones. They were so delicious and you could really tell that they were made fresh on that day. Seeing as Christmas is fast approaching we were also given some mini mince pies to put us in the mood. Next there were cupcakes and brownies that smelt amazing but we just could not get round to eating them in one sitting. Tracey put them in a box for us to take away though so I am happily snuggled up in bed eating my chocolate and peppermint cupcake as I write this (Update – it is heavenly).

img_0828-1.jpgAbout halfway through our meal (and the bottle of Prosecco) out came a lovely pot of loose leaf tea – who knew it would go so well with alcohol. It was just what we needed, considering the temperature drop in Norwich at the moment, and really added to the cosy feeling that the whole place gave off.

If you’re in Norwich and looking for a place to escape the cold and have a snug cup of tea and a cake then I couldn’t recommend Cupcakes and Bubbles more! You can also pick up a cup of mulled wine or cider to go if you need a boost to get you through the Christmas shopping. I will definitely be retuning and it is now up there as one of my favourite places in Norwich.img_0843.jpg

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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A-Z festive dating

A while ago I posted about A-Z Dating which essentially means you pick a letter from the alphabet and then come up with an activity to do on your date that starts with that letter. (If you want to find out more about it I’d recommend reading my first post.) It’s well known that winter is the most magical time of the year and also a great opportunity for some cute dates with your loved one.

Here are my ideas for some festive dates you can go on for each letter:

A – chose an angel for the tree or an advent calendar

B – board games

C – carolling (either yourself or go to a show)

D – decorating the tree

E – elf on a shelf (hide and seek)

F – festive film marathon

G – gingerbread house making

H – hot drinks at a nice cafe

I – ice skating

J – joke presents (give each other a budget and 10mins in poundland to buy each other presents)

K – (Christmas) song karaoke

L – (Christmas) light switch on

M – (Christmas) markets

N – nativity play

O – make ornaments to hang on your tree

P – pantomime

Q – go to a pub Christmas quiz

R – reindeer farm

S – skiing (mountain or dry slope)

T – make a turkey dinner for 2 or go to a pub lunch

U – ugly sweater party or who can make/find the ugliest sweater

V – watch back videos of your childhood christmas memories

W – winter wonderland or present wrapping

X – eXchange gifts

Y – decorate (and eat) a yule log

Z – make a sign to count down the zzz till christmas (this one was really difficult!) or get each other presents beginning with zDSCF3378-2.jpg

I would love to hear about any fun festive dates you and your partner get up to! If you have any other ideas be sure to leave them below for others to read

Go and grab another cuppa on me (or a hot chocolate), Em x

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The 6 stages of a long distance relationship 

For the past year (and for the rest of this year) my boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship, he lives at home in London and I live at university in Norwich. Anyone out there who has to be away from their loved one for a long period of time will know how difficult it can be. I have come to found however that when things are difficult the best thing to do is try and find a positive spin on it which, in this case, happens to be writing a satirical (but oddly relatable) 6 steps of a long distance relationship…

1. The hard goodbye stage

You’ve just spent a weekend with your partner that was so perfect it was like something out of  a Nicholas Sparks novel (well the happy chapters), but now they have to leave. You find yourself playing all the tricks to get them to stay – guilting them, bribing them, wrapping yourself around their legs like a koala to a tree but it doesn’t work. After a long hug goodbye they eventually wriggle free and are gone for another few weeks. Stage one is the hardest.

2. The I’m going to be okay stage

This is the stage where you channel your inner girl boss who doesn’t need anyone else. You keep yourself busy, you tick everything off that to do list and not even a loss of Instagram followers can bring you down – you’re unstoppable! On the phone to your other half the only tears that reach your eyes are those of laughter when you reminisce about the weekend just gone because you are the epitome of positivity. You’re going to be okay I mean its only 3 more weeks that’ll fly by, right?

3. The I just want to stay in bed and cry stage

Wrong. All of a sudden it’s like a dark cloud comes over your bubbly little life and all you want to do is live in a blanket fort of sadness. There isn’t enough Ben and Jerrys in the world to get you out of this rut and you start googling if its possible for a human to hibernate, at least that way you could sleep away the lonely weeks. Just as you’re about to pull yourself together your significant other sends you a snapchat and their cute little face turns on the water works, more tissues please! DSCF3228.jpg

4. The jealously stage 

This is the stage to avoid at all costs if possible. You get jealous of everything and everyone that comes into contact with your partner. Not because you think they’re being unfaithful but because how is it fair that the postman gets to see their face everyday but you don’t. The Labrinth song about being jealous of the wind becomes your life motto and when your partners mum texts you about something funny they did you find yourself growling at your phone in envy.

5. The countdown till I see them again stage 

This is like christmas come early. Only 3 days to go then you get to see them again (they should really make advent calendars for events like this!) You countdown the sleeps and start planning out the few days you have with them to make every second count. If anyone asks you what your plans are for the weekend you find yourself screaming “MY PARTNER IS COMING” in their now scared looking face. The last few hours feel like a lifetime, no amount of bingewatching netflix will make the time go quicker so you find yourself sat staring at the door in anticipation. 3 hours, 2 hours, 1 hour….

6. The best day of your life so far stage

This is it, what you’ve been waiting for. As soon as that door opens you pounce on them and vow that you’re not letting go of them for the whole weekend. All of a sudden the past 3 weeks vanish from your memory and everything in the world feels right again. Your carefully thought out plans don’t work out but who cares because you get to hold onto the most important person in the world to you. If you had to sit in a cardboard box for the whole weekend you wouldn’t care because at least you’re sitting with them. The the inevitable happens. It’s Sunday night. They have to leave Here we go again…

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you’ve been through a long distance relationship I hope you found it relatable in some way (maybe not quite as dramatic though!)

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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Testing new autumn makeup

DSCF2463.jpgHello lovelies, I’ve got something that is a bit out of my comfort zone today because (in comparison to most bloggers) I am no beauty expert. Regardless of this I still love makeup and am starting to experiment more with new products. This week I popped into boots for some shampoo and ended up leaving with £40 worth of new products, typical!

I decided to do a first impression of each of the products and thought that I would take you all along with me. (Just to reiterate I am far from a make up guru so I apologise for any mistakes I have made)

THE PRODUCTS 

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  1. Rimmel London Insta Duo Contour stick in Light/Claire – £6.99
  2. Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express in Black Drama – £7.99
  3. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolour in Dependance – £8.99
  4. NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette in Warm Neutrals – £16.00

THE APPLICATION 

DSCF2504.jpgI have never really tried a cream contour stick before but I really loved the consistency of this one. It was very easy to blend out and didn’t feel drying on my skin. I found the contour shade to be slightly to orange for my skin tone but once it was blended out it was nice, the highlighter on the other side though I was rather disappointed with! When swatched it was a very pretty shimmery champagne colour but once applied on the face it just blended out into nothing! I had to apply some powder highlight on top to give myself the glow I was after.

DSCF2488.jpgNormally I stick to nude lip colours as I find red/pink colours seem to make my blemishes stand out more than I would like! This time however I pushed the boat out and went for this berry red colour and I love it. It applied very evenly and wasn’t drying at all like most matte lip colours are. I found it stayed on for a long time, after a meal out I did have to reapply it but I think that’s the case with most lipsticks!

DSCF2485.jpgI was drawn to the red shades when buying the NYX palette, I saw it as a dupe for the Naked heat palette. Even though the shadows weren’t as buttery as the urban decay ones are, it applied really beautifully and didn’t take many layers to build up a good colour. It has a greta range of transition shades to bold smokey colours. The metallic shades are also a good variety from gold to pinky shades and (once a bit of setting spray was used) they came out really pigmented!

DSCF2441.jpgIn my life I have tried a lot and a lot of Rimmel mascaras and, I have to say, this is one of the best! With one coat my lashes were already twice the length and thick enough to be noticeable. The wand is big enough to create volume but not so big you feel like you’re sticking a feather duster in your eyes! I found it slightly clumpy but I think that might have been my rookie error of not letting the layers dry before adding to them.

THE END LOOK

DSCF2481.jpgI am so happy with how this looked turned out! I think the red shades from the palette tie in really nicely with the berry lip. Once blended out the contour shade became very natural looking and with the help of some powder the highlighter did start to glow! What do you think of the overall look? Have you tried any of these products?

DSCF2428.jpg(Just a little extra) My heart necklace is from Thomas Sabo, the paw print necklace is from Debenhams and my flaming t-shirt is from Stradivarius.

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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The importance of being selfish 

To kick this post off I want to say that when I say ‘selfish’ I am not writing about stealing a seat on the train from a pregnant lady because you’ve got a blister or forcing your partner to drive you to the shops even though he’s broken his leg. In those cases being selfish really is not the best idea! This post is about those times where you put your happiness and mental health on the line for the sake of other people.

I am writing about why it is bad to stay in a toxic friendship because you don’t want to upset your “friend”. I’m talking about why you shouldn’t turn down other, better jobs because you’re too scared of telling your boss. I’m talking about how it is not okay to let your partner take advantage of you because it’s much easier to just agree than to have an argument.

It’s time to start changing your mindset. For every friend out there that makes you feel guilty for missing a night out because your anxiety is particularly bad, there are hundreds of people out there who would love to spend a night in with you binge watching Ru Pauls drag race. For every job that gives you sleepless nights and a sick feeling in your stomach when the 8am alarm goes off, there are hundreds of jobs that will have you staying at your desk at lunch because you want to not because you have to. For every partner that makes you feel unloved or unwanted, there are hundreds of people out there that will admire and appreciate you for everything you do. There are over 7 billion people on this planet and around 5 billion jobs so don’t settle for anything less than what makes you happy.

When it comes down to it the only person you really have to please in life is yourself so it’s time to be selfish and put yourself first. Be friends with people that make you happy, work in a job that you actually enjoy, love someone who will love you back with all their heart because YOU DESERVE IT!

As Mama Odie says in one of my favourite Disney films (I couldn’t resist) … “Dig down deep inside yourself, You’ll found out what you need, Blue skies and sunshine guaranteed!”

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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Unibox review

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I am now going into my final year at university and I would say I have this whole student thing down to a T. So when an email popped into my inbox from the lovely Daphnee at Unibox (theunibox.com) I thought it was a match made in heaven.

Unibox is a monthly subscription box tailor made for helping students get through another crazy term. They have a varied price plan where you can pay monthly for £21.95 a month or pay for 3 months, 6 months and up to a full year at a discounted prices. As far as value for money goes, which seems to be key with subscription boxes, the box is valued at over £37 so you are definitely getting over the worth of the box in products due to the sheer amount that you get (6-8 products). But that is enough of the technical talk time to open the box up and see what goodies are inside!

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All of the products included in the Unibox

I was blown away at how accurately Unibox had managed to cover the aspects of being a student. For me there are 4 main ares of uni life that they have covered perfectly – drinks, snacks, mental health and beauty (as well as a bit of organisation). On the top of the box was a zine that contained, not only, information about the products inside but also tips for surviving freshers, cheap meals to cook and some funny fresher fails.

 

unibox photos3.jpgPukka Matcha Green Tea – Lets all be honest here, when I put drinking and student in the same sentence I am sure you all instantly thought alcohol but (rather wisely) Unibox has thought more about the drinks you’ll need to recover a morning after a night out. If you couldn’t tell already by the name I am a major tea fan and green tea is amazing for cleansing out the gross hangovers. If I am being honest I am not the biggest fan of the taste of green tea but with a drop of honey this one was delicious!

BE Juice Drink – Walking around Lidl you will most likely add some chocolate and bread to your basket but sometimes those pesky vegetables just don’t seem to make the cut (even though we all know they should). This BE drink will be a perfect way to get some of your 5 a day in whilst also tasting lovely. In my first year of university my diet was horrendous and something I really came to regret when my health and mental health deteriorated. A drink like this will be the perfect little boost alongside those steamed vegetables which I have now come to love.

unibox photos4.jpgMunchy Seeds – Being a student comes with an eternal hunger that never seems to go away. Be it 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning I am always pining for a snack and in previous years I have reached for the honey flavoured munchy seeds. In the unibox I received the omega sprinkles flavour that I imagine will be lovely in some ready brek (yes I do still eat ready brek) and a great way to get in some nutrients that your  body will be craving.

Rhythm 108 Chocolate Brownie – My sweet tooth did a little happy dance when I saw this in the box. Chocolate brownies are one of my favourite things on this planet! When I saw that not only was this bar was considered to be good-for-you (how true that is I am unsure but it is gluten free and with no added sugar) but it could be heated in the microwave to make a gooey chocolatey dream my whole body started doing a happy dance!

unibox photos.jpgWarrior not Worrier Iron on Patch – To begin with what a cracking slogan that is! As I mentioned earlier in my first year of university I suffered badly from anxiety so I loved seeing that this box includes products that support help for mental health. I am not quite sure what I am going to do with the actual iron on patch but it did introduce me to a new clothes brand, Maison de Choup, in which 25% of proceeds goes to the charity young minds.

Unibox Goal Planner – I am a sucker for stationary but add a tropical print on there and I am in heaven. This gorgeous planner is tailor made for you to set yourself monthly goals at the beginning of each month and then review at the end to see if you completed them. Look wise this is right up my street and it is also very practical. I put it under mental health because I tend to find its easier to keep my anxiety under control if I have a structure and something to work towards to keep me motivated each day.

unibox photos2.jpgOptiat Hangover Coffee Scrub – Out off all the items in the box this is the one that intrigues me the most. It is peppermint scented and claims to revive your skin and perk up your mood after a night out. My acne gets horrendous around freshers week due to the stress, the alcohol and the crazy amount of makeup, face paint and glitter that goes on my face so if this can help that then I am all for it. The smell is something I am not the biggest fan of but if it does what it says on the tin (or the plastic bottle in this case) then that is something I can overlook. After testing it out I can say it did help to freshen up my skin but I must be honest and say that I used it the morning after a night out rather than, as it suggests, the night of simply because all I wanted to do was get into bed!

Mighty Razor Holder – I would say this was the most random product in the box but it does serve a good use. It is not something I would necessarily go out and purchase myself but after having it in my shower for a couple of days it is actually quite handy. It sticks to any shiny surface without leaving any marks so there are no fears of losing some of your deposit for damaged walls. This might be useful for the bearded ones amongst us who need to keep a razor more to hand than me.

DSCF2848.jpgUnibox Card Holder – I didn’t quite know what category to put this in so I made it into its own category. There have been so many times on nights out, or even just going to uni, where I want to bring my phone but don’t want the hassle of bringing my purse with me. This card holder sticks to the back of your phone and then has a pocket to slot in whatever you might need – ID, Card, Uni ID. Genius!

Overall I am very impressed with the Unibox and the range of products in included. Each one served a very useful purpose and I can definitely see myself using everything that was included. The unibox website is here if you are interested and I would really recommend checking them out (especially seeing as the next box is Hocus Focus themed if you sign up by the 16th October!)

ALSO Code BLOG5 will give you £5 OFF your 1st order (so go get that halloweeny student goodness!)

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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