August Treatbox

The first time I received a TreatBox was last month, when I did a fun collaboration with Lisa from Lisa’s Notebook. You can read my post here and Lisa’s post here. As I loved the idea of a box of surprises arriving through my letterbox at the start of the month, I treated myself to the August box too! (Sorry Student Loan). Anyway, it was worth it, and on August 1st, a huge bundle of tropical themed goodies including 10 happiness cards (I’m such a sucker for inspirational quotes) arrived.

TreatBox is a monthly subscription box which contains a mix of surprises; anything from inspirational quotes, stationary, home accessories, jewellery, edible treats, beauty products, exclusive products designed by TreatBox and so much more! The idea was started by Zoe back in 2016 and it has since grown into a team who are passionate about creating boxes filled with love and awesome products.

Inside the August box: 10 Happiness Cards, Shobu Bath Bomb, Anatomicals Face Mask, Lunch/Cool Bag, Tropical Notebook, ‘You Can Plant A Dream’ Pencil and Today print (exclusive to TreatBox).

TreatBox is a bit like a lucky dip just without those naff prizes. The first product which I spotted was the Anatomicals Botanical Purifying Tea Tree Face Mask which seemed very green and very appropriate considering the tropical theme. This botanical purifying face mask is an individually packaged soft cloth facial mask and contains tea tree extract to deliver unsurpassed moisture and nourishment to your skin.

Anatomicals sound like a fun and friendly brand: Our ingredients are all free from animal testing – We think fluffy bunnies are cute enough without Anatomicals products or ingredients. It’s just us humans that need a bit of help sometimes! All of our formulas are also paraben free. Good choice, TreatBox! 

The second beauty product is a pretty genius idea if you ask me: a bath bomb for the shower! It’s designed by Shobu – two busy mums (Leanne & Shelley), who wanted that wonderful at home spa experience but didn’t have the time to soak in the bath. I received Breathe, a careful selection of Eucapylptus, Rosemary & Peppermint to help on those days when you just need that little bit of help to breathe easy.

It’s recommended to be used in the morning to clear your head to start the day. Eucalyptus is known for opening up the airways, whilst Rosemary relaxes the muscles to enable Peppermint to help you stimulate alertness for clarity and focus. Sounds perfect! Check out their full range of shower bombs here.

My personal highlight of this months box is the 10 Happiness Cards. These are an instant reminder that we should just breathe, relax and slow down. They are beautifully designed by TreatBox and I absolutely love the splash of colour and positivity. They are ideal for sticking on your desk, fridge, wall, wherever! I think they are also the perfect size to use as bookmarks too.

My favourites are: ‘You gotta nourish to flourish’ and ‘Let’s root for each other and watch each other grow’.

Inspirational cards and a pretty notebook! This is my dream box! Everything in this box is so green, gorgeous and vibrant. This is another product created by TreatBox and isn’t available anywhere else, so even more reason to subscribe! It’s such a beautiful notebook, it almost seems too nice to write in.

TreatBox say: “No notebook is complete without its partner in crime! It needs it’s own pencil of course” These pencil quotes vary, and I love mine – You Can Plant A Dream is so motivational and it’s PINK! 

If that wasn’t enough goodies, TreatBox have also included this lush tropical leaves lunch box/cool bag. It’s such a pretty little bag and would be ideal for days out or taking to work to keep your lunch chilled.  I’m loving this months theme, tropical, cool and refreshing – it’s perfect for the summer!

TreatBox say that self-care is not a privilege, it is a necessity. Every item in this box is made especially for a bit of ‘me time’ – whether that is treating yourself to a home spa, writing or drawing in your pretty notebook, feeling inspired with the happiness cards or simply taking time out to enjoy some fresh and tasty food. It’s great value for money, the August TreatBox has a RRP of over £25: a one off box is £12.96 and you can save even more money by selecting a 3, 6 or 12 month package.

I really loved this box and it’s given me all the tropical summer chilled out vibes. Have you ordered a TreatBox? Let me know what you think of the August box in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

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The Nantwich Show: International Cheese Awards 2018

On Wednesday 25th July, Shaun and I made the 198 mile trek to Nantwich from Southampton to have a fun-filled cheesy day out. I was invited to the event to provide some blogging coverage of the day and despite the distance, I thought it would be too good an opportunity to turn down. Plus, I really wanted to say ‘my first blogging event was really cheesy’. Luckily for me, my dad occasionally travels to Lichfield for work, so we managed to blag ourselves a lift the majority of the way (thanks dad!) then caught the train up to Nantwich for some cheese related antics.

The Nantwich Show in Cheshire is the UK’s largest one day show with over 450 trade stands, attractions and of course tons and tons of free award winning cheese to sample. The day before The Nantwich Show is the International Cheese Awards. This is where over 5,000 cheeses from all over the world are sampled by 250 judges and a huge selection of awards are presented in various different categories.  So this event is therefore a must for any cheese lover.

7:00 in the morning, looking forward to the day ahead (pre-cheese photograph).

The day before the event, I was sent a press pass, which made me feel very important ha ha.  These were pretty cool and the main perk was being able to walk straight into the show without having to queue.

We were in the showground for about 5 minutes, before Aima Tech Electric Bikes asked to take our photograph next to one of their bikes. They encouraged me to have a go on it, but I decided against the idea due to the length of my dress (ha ha). The cheese awards is no place for knicker flashing.

Instead, here I am posing with one of their flashy bikes. I am sure they are pretty good so long as you are wearing the appropriate clothing.

Shaun wasted no time in finding his dream tractor and insisting I take a photo. (Not really, it was more like go on Shaun, do it for the blog!)

I can never resist taking a colourful flowers-in-window-box photo.

It wasn’t long before we were drawn towards the foodie stalls and in keeping with the cheese theme, we ordered ourselves a pizza. This is from Bare Bones Pizza, a modern van which is now converted into a kitchen that produces Neapolitan style wood fired pizzas. I ordered the Vegetarian (Boneless) with red onion, peppers, sliced tomato and cheese and it was ready in just under 5 minutes and tasted delicious.

After our tasty lunch, we felt re-energized and went for a walk around the showground. There was so much to see and do: there were stalls selling everything such as flowers, sweets, clothing, artwork, crafts, electric bikes, tractors and plenty of opportunities to chat to various charities, radio stations and watch interactive demos like cow milking. 

This is not a real cow although it did fool us when we first spotted it.

This is an actual cow who very kindly posed for his photograph.

It was amazing to be able to get up close to these huge cows. They were having so much attention but seemed pretty chill about the whole thing.

Funny orange sheep which looked like chicken drum sticks.

A few sheep experimenting with blue hair dye. 

The main attraction was the enormous cheese marquee which was home to an abundance of cheeses. We armed ourselves with these little cocktail sticks and set about having the best time sampling ALL THE CHEESE which came our way.

One of my favourites was the Applewood cheese, I dunno if that was because it was one of the first I sampled but it did taste lovely and I did go back for seconds.

A fantastic cheese cake (or cheesecake) by Godfrey C Williams & Sons Ltd who won gold award for this impressive creation.

A tasty looking cheeseboard from Norseland Limited

How much cheese can you fit into one cheese tent?

Each trader was very welcoming and all happy to chat about their cheeses.

I think we must have eaten about 2 blocks of cheese between us by the end. I had never eaten so much cheese in my entire life!

One of the coolest things about the day was discovering that Martin Platt from Corrie (also known as Sean Wilson) is a cheesemaker! I was so starstuck when I saw him, I blurted out (quite loudly) wow, it’s Martin Platt from Coronation Street! to which he smiled politely and said hello.

After Sean left the street he decided to fulfil his lifelong passion of cooking and went on to spend a year training as a chef, working at a number of Michelin starred restaurants. In 2009 Sean started a new venture, “The Saddleworth Cheese Company” with best friend of 30 years Mark Revell. You can read more about Sean’s award winning cheese company here.

The day was certainly full of celebrity and in the afternoon we watched James Martins live cooking demonstration where he cooked a three course meal. I told Shaun to take notes so I’m hoping for something tasty soon…

We finished the day with an ice cream before making our way back to Nantwich train station. Despite a small mishap of getting on the wrong train and nearly ending up in Manchester, we arrived back in Lichfield where my dad was kindly waiting for us to make the long journey home. Overall, it was a fabulous day in the Cheshire sunshine, eating our body weight in various delicious cheeses, celebrity spotting and learning a thing or two on the way.

Have you been to The Nantwich Show? I encourage you to make a date in your diary for the 2019 Nantwich Show and International Cheese Awards and hopefully we will return next year (so long as my dad is working up North again).

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Top 4 Inspirational Books: A Collab With Carrie Doran

I love how blogging is always full of surprises and one tweet can unexpectedly lead to a blog collab. Last week, I was contacted by Carrie from Life Grind, Right Mind who found me after I tweeted about getting some blog opportunities after nothing for ages and how we shouldn’t ever give up. Well, this sparked a conversation and Carrie suggested we collab together on our favourite books which have inspired us. Collaborations with other bloggers are one of my favourite things to do so I agreed straight away!

Carrie is from Las Vegas, USA and blogs about mental health and lifestyle. I love discovering new bloggers and it’s clear Carrie has a real passion for helping others feel less lonely in the world if they’re battling mental illness. Her blog reads: let’s end the stigma, let’s start a conversation, let’s talk to each other about the tough stuff until it’s not so tough anymore.  Let’s start learning and understanding. Life Grind, Right Mind is featured as one of the Top 60 Mental Health Blogs” and Carrie is continuously working hard to advocate changes that need to be made in the Mental Health community. Well done Carrie!

So here are the top 4 books which have inspired me over the years. Make sure you head over to Carrie’s blog to read her favourites too. You can also follow Carrie on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. 

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love was a book I read in my early twenties which only further encouraged my love for all things travel. Liz finds herself stuck in a life she doesn’t want anymore so decides to leave behind everything familiar and comforting and embark on a quest of self-discovery. She travels to Italy (and eats all the pizza and gelato), spends some time in an Ashram in India before finally heading off to Bali, the paradise island in Indonesia. I love everything about this book. It encourages us to leave our comfort zones, travel, explore and discover who we really are. I also really, really want to go to Bali. Click here to buy Eat Pray Love.

“If you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”

Wonder by R.J Palacio 

Wonder was a book which took me on a roller coaster of all the emotions. It was my holiday reading and I pretty much finished it as soon as I got off the plane. Wonder follows the story of Auggie Pullman, a normal ten year old in every way other than the fact he was born with a disorder which makes him stand out and look different. Auggie just wants a normal life and to fit in with the other kids at school but unfortunately not everyone is that accepting. The book is packed full of many lessons on kindness and how we should not judge people on appearance. If you want both the happy and sad tears, click here to buy Wonder.

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place.”

Wild by Cheryl Strayed 

I used to work as a receptionist at The Travelodge, and I read the whole of Wild on one very quiet shift over Christmas. I was searching for books similar to Eat Pray Love and Wild was the answer. Cheryl, 26, was struggling in the wake of her mothers death and failing marriage so like Liz, went on an epic journey of self-discovery. Cheryl believed she had nothing left to lose and one day packed her rucksack and set off on an eleven hundred mile trek following the Pacific Crest Trail in America. With little backpacking experience, Cheryl finds herself in difficult situations which will test her both mentally and physically. A very inspirational read which proves we can do anything if we put our mind to it. Click here to buy Wild. 

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.”

Blogs Change Lives by Aby Moore

Last but by no means least, my most recent favourite read is Blogs Change Lives. Every single page is jammed packed full of positivity, motivation and the inspirational story of how Aby transformed her blog You Baby Me Mummy (which started as online baby book for her daughter Ava) into an awesome blogging career. The thing I love about this book the most is that Aby’s hard work and determination shines through. She believes anyone with the passion can let blogging change their life. You can read my full review here and buy yourself a copy here. 

“Success doesn’t happen overnight, it takes consistency to start making an impact on the world”

Thank you to Carrie for the spontaneous collaboration idea. I hope you have enjoyed finding out more about my favourite inspirational books. What books would be in your top 4? Make sure you head over to Carrie’s blog to read her favourites too.

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Cancer Care Parcel: Comfort Gift Hamper

Last week, I was contacted by Dr Shara Cohen and we spoke about reviewing a Cancer Care Parcel. The more I learned about these parcels, the more I wanted to feature a box on my blog as I thought it was such a wonderful and thoughtful idea. Shara was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 2013 where she found there was very little time to just relax, take it all in and give herself ‘me’ time. A few of her friends also found the whole situation very awkward, they avoided her as they did not know how to react or what to say.

Shara says “I set up Cancer Care Parcel to bring back a bit of calm into the lives of people suffering with cancer and its treatment”. Cancer Care Parcel is also an ideal gift, to let people with cancer know that you are thinking of them.

There are 19 different packages and hampers available for men, women, children and boxes specific for chemotherapy, radiation and hospital stays. The box I have chosen to review is the Cancer Comfort Gift Hamper. This parcel is suitable for both men and women to give relief during difficult times. It is the winner of the 2017 Best Mind & Brain Product awarded in the Spotlight Awards by “Live Better With”.

Inside the box: Teddy Snug, Bed Socks, Catchable Bubbles, Relaxing CD, Soya Bean Candle, Eye Gel Mask, Ribbed Foot Roller, Chocolate and Ginger Tea, Colouring Book, Colouring Pencils, Sleep Mask, Water Bottle, Earphones, Access to cancer resources.

For Stress Relief

Colour Therapy: Colouring is such a relaxing and therapeutic activity. The colouring book has 20 amazing half colour designs (such as birds, flowers, hearts and butterflies) to colour with the cute little flamingo box of mini colouring pencils. Colouring is the perfect distraction and the pencil pot is the ideal size for popping into your bag to take with you whilst waiting for appointments.

Sleep Mask: The sleep mask is perfect for making sure you can get a good nights rest, whether that is at home or at a hospital. It has soft cushioned fabric for comfort and a padded nose bridge to block out the light. It is especially created for a comforting and relaxing experience.

For Relaxing

Rain Forest CD: Mystical, melodic and soothing. This is a 50 minute CD of authentic rain forest birdsong with bamboo flutes and panpipes to create a gentle relaxing background soundtrack. Perfect to play in the background whilst colouring or sleeping. Also comes with a handy pair of headphones.

Soya Bean Candle: Designed to make a beautiful and thoughtful gift, this cucumber & mint soybean jar candle is made from hydrogenated soybean oil which means that it is free of synthetic wax or paraffin. Presented in a chunky recycled glass jar, this beautiful candle can be reused and is packaged nicely with a special dust cover. Soy wax is nicer, cleaner and more natural than paraffin candles. These candles burn cleaner and cooler and leave a minimal wax residue.

For Comfort And Pampering

Chocolate and Ginger Tea: This is a beautiful blend of warming ginger, cocoa and licorice. It is naturally caffeine free and adds a bit of luxury to the standard ginger anti-nausea remedy. It smells delicious and soothing and even won a great taste award in 2016.

Ribbed Foot Roller: Natural wood foot rollers provide a calming foot massage which can improve circulation and aid in relaxation.

Eye Gel Mask: This gel mask can be warmed up or cooled down to sooth eyes and provide relief from headaches and fatigue.

For Comfort

Teddy Snug: A warm, cosy and comforting snug which feels just like a teddy bear. It’s so soft, great quality and the perfect blanket to snuggle up with and rest.

Bed Socks: Another cosy item for that extra bit of comfort.

For Fun

Catchable Bubbles: These catachable bubbles are fun for all ages and a nice little added touch.

The hamper also includes a Water Bottle which is eco-friendly and BPA free. It has a handle for ease and comfort and is easy to refill. Every item in this hamper has been carefully selected to ensure it is appropriate and thoughtful. You can include your own gift message and there is also a helpful information sheet on where to find access to further cancer resources. The packages are full of practical, useful and luxury items and shows someone that you are thinking of them during a difficult time.

Cancer Care Parcel promise that their boxes will never contain any religious content, products which claim to cure or prevent cancer, food, hair products or anything mentally or physically challenging. If the person receiving the gift is not delighted, they will give a full refund. In addition, Cancer Care Parcel partners with UK charities helping them fundraise and raise awareness and profit is used to support the cancer community. You can read more about this box here and find out more about other Cancer Care Parcels on their website.

*This is a sponsored post which means I received a product/payment in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own. 

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