Thursday, 28 February 2013

Hair Hassles: Those 'Excellent' Remington Straighteners Have Broken...

Remington Ceramic Straight 230 Straightener

You may remember back in October I wrote a post praising a hair straightener I purchased from Boots for just £20.99 - the Remington Ceramic Straight 230.

I was incredibly impressed with this product, and even described it as "the ultimate budget hair straightener currently available on the UK high street."

Unfortunately, it is the case my straightener suddenly stopped working a fortnight ago - a little over four months after I had bought it - for no apparent reason at all.

I had not knocked it, not had I left it on for any extended period of time - I simply went to use the straightener as usual one morning to find it was kapoot. I even changed the fuse in desperation, but alas, still no heat up! 

I was originally convinced I had made a decent investment, and so I did not keep the receipt or box longer than six weeks (I hate clutter!) However, I feel well within my rights to complain regarding the straightener's premature death, despite the fact they only cost £20.99.

Upon further investigation, I've discovered Remington is actually obligated to repair - or replace - the product under warranty.

Yesterday then, I finally made the trip to the post office to send the broken straightener off to Remington's FREEPOST address, provided to me by customer services. I have been told (within a one-fits-all email, which asked to include the receipt I already explained I do not have...SIGH!) the issue could be a manufacturing fault, and the brand will fix, or replace, the item should this prove so.

I have made it clear within my letter of complaint I would like a replacement - it seems ridiculous to repair an already faulty product! Surely they'll just break again really quickly?

I am hoping the issue is resolved quickly - I have no plans to buy a replacement straightener in the meantime...what would be the point?

I am ABSOLUTELY HATING not owning a straightener - I cannot abide my current frizzy ends (yes, I need a trim)!

I will keep you informed as to how my complaint turns out. Hopefully I can update you sooner, rather than later...I want my smooth locks back. Waaaa! :(

/KatSick. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

My First Blogger Event: 'Plastic Fantastic' at Porta, Brighton

Last Thursday, I attended my first ever invite-only blogger event; 'Plastic Fantastic', at jewellery and handbag shop Porta, on Brighton's Bond Street.

I really enjoyed myself, and it was lovely to spend some time with my colleague - and fellow beauty blogger - Nazilla (of lillaloves.com) outside of work. I got the chance to chat with a few other bloggers there too, and I'm pleased to say everyone was really friendly (being my first blogger event, I wasn't quite sure what to expect!)

The event was set up to showcase  new designs by four artists specialising in the creation of acrylic jewellery; Sugar Jones, Maggie Angus, designosaur, and KatzeShop, all of which are stocked by Porta.

All attendees were lucky enough to be given a goodie bag to take home too, containing a piece from each of the brands. I'll show you what I got at the end of this post!


The collections


Sugar Jones

Sugar Jones Cat, goldfish and bowl necklace
Sugar Jones' Cat, goldfish and bowl necklace: This was probably the most popular piece at the event, everyone - including me - went bonkers for it!

Sugar Jones' Strawberry and ants necklace: Excuse my cup of complimentary red!
Sugar Jones Kite necklace
Sugar Jones' Kite necklace
Sugar Jones Space Hopper collection (image credit Porta Brighton Facebook page)
Sugar Jones' Space Hopper collection & dragonfly necklaces (Image credit: Porta Brighton Facebook page)
I was fortunate enough to spend a good 15 minutes or so talking with the designer behind proudly-British jewellery and accessories label brand Sugar Jones - Carla Ballantine.

Carla Ballantine of Sugar Jones
Carla Ballantine of Sugar Jones
Carla was really lovely and was more than happy to answer my questions regarding how she creates her - often bespoke - designs through freehand drawing and using a laser-cutting machine. I'm now really interested in buying such a contraption for myself some day (I'd have to save for a while though, research shows they're not cheap!)

We also discussed our love of Space Hopper iconography - we love his ever-manic face! A very cool Lego watch she was wearing also caught my attention.

Sugar Jones Dragonfly Necklace Porta Brighton
Sugar Jones' Dragonfly Necklace
Sugar Jones Dragonfly necklace close detailing
A Sugar Jones necklace up close: Carla told me this detailing takes a very long time to achieve!

Maggie Angus

Maggie Angus As Fresh As a Daisy collection Plastic Fantastic Porta
The Maggie Angus display 
Maggie Angus 'As Fresh As a Daisy' necklace: I couldn't be more in love with the black version of this necklace! WANT!
Maggie Angus As Fresh As a Daisy matching bracelet
...or the matching bracelet! MORE WANT!
I also spent some time chatting with the bubbly Anna Evans, the designer behind Maggie Angus; a jewellery brand which has had much attention in the press recently. Maggie Angus has celebrity fans in the form of Fearne Cotton, Little Mix and Jessie J, and Anna has even created bespoke designs for Marina & the Diamonds!

Since a few of the new Maggie Angus pieces comprise really thin lines, I was really interested to know how Anna manages to created these, since they first appear to be a tad more delicate. Anna told me she is really clumsy (just like me!) and so if her items pass the test of her handling them, she's knows they'll be fine in the hands of her customers.

Anna asked me a few questions about my own job too, which I thought was incredibly sweet of her!

Maggie Angus designer Anna Evans
Anna Evans: The woman behind Maggie Angus. In case you're wondering, the brand is named after Anna's late, jewellery obsessed, Scottish grandmother.
Maggie Angus bracelets
Some Maggie Angus bracelets, rings and earrings.
Maggie Angus heart necklaces
Cute Maggie Angus heart necklaces
Maggie Angus press coverage board
Maggie Angus press coverage board (I REALLY need a better camera, bleurgh!)

designosaur


I didn't get the chance to talk to designosaur's designers (product design graduates Jacques and Karli), but I did manage to take a few pics.

As the name suggests, many of past pieces have involved dinosaurs in their design, but this brand is far from being a one trick pony (stegosaurus?)!

designosaur display Porta Brighton
designosaur's display
designosaur Brighton Pavillion necklace
Brighton Pavilion necklace: My fave piece from designosaur's collection!
Dodo and mammoth necklaces designosaur
Dodo and mammoth wooden necklaces: Not extinct any more!
designosaur necklaces pop art
Loving designosaur's pop art-inspired statement necklaces!
designosaur heart necklace yellow green
Jammin'!

KatzeShop

I missed out on talking to KatzeShop's designer (Rosa Pietisch) too, but again, I managed to take a few snaps. This collection was the most surprising at Plastic Fantastic, since the range mixes laser-cut acrylic, wood, cast resin, and even more materials besides, to create a very original aesthetic.

I'm particularly keen on Rosa's use of twisted 'rope' instead of chains.

KatzeShop Plastic Fantastic jewellery display
KatzeShop' display
KatzeShop 'lamp' necklace Porta
KatzeShop' 'lamp' necklace: I was very taken by this necklace, as was everyone else in attendance at Plastic Fantastic! Note KatzeShop's very cool light bulb collar tips too!
KatzeShop 'lamp' necklace Porta closer
A closer look.
Look at all the intricate detailing! I'm digging KatzeShop's gold and silver leaf effect. 
Katzeshop poster Porta Brighton

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The contents of my goodie bag

Plastic Fantastic goodie bags
Plastic Fantastic goodie bags (Image credit: Porta Brighton Facebook page)

Sugar Jones black iceskates earrings
Sugar Jones black ice skate earrings: I can't iceskate at all (understatement!) but I still love these earrings - the detailing is what makes them so awesome!
Maggie Angus single daisy necklace black
Maggie Angus single daisy necklace: Since I adored the 'As Fresh As a Daisy' chunky chain necklace and matching bracelet as soon as I spotted them, I was thrilled to find this in my goodie bag! Love the signature tag Anna includes on all of her pieces too!
designosaur triceritops stack ring purple
designosaur triceratops stack ring: How cute is this! I can't get over how well it is cut despite it's small size!
KatzeShop cats eyes silver leaf wood necklace
KatzeShop cats-eye silver leaf wood necklace: I actually received a gold version of this necklace (which i liked), but Nazilla and I swapped - she's prefers gold jewellery, whereas I prefer silver. I think this is awesome!
KatSick and Lillaloves at Porta, Brighton (Plastic Fantastic)
Me and Nazilla (Lillaloves.com) at Plastic Fantastic: Not really appreciating my mid-sentence face here! (Image credit: Porta Brighton Facebook page).
Zatchel handbags at Porta Brighton (image credit Porta Brighton Facebook page)
Just some of the gorgeous Zatchel leather handbags at Porta Brighton (Image credit: Porta Brighton Facebook page)
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A massive THANK YOU to Porta, and all of the designers involved in putting on this great event (and for inviting me)!
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Which of these collections most takes your fancy? Let me know in the comments below. Be sure to visit each of the collections' respective websites also, to see even more awesome designs.

*All photos in this post without image credits were taken by me.*

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Deluxebite: Gourmet Artisan Foods & Donations Too! [REVIEW]

Deluxebite Detox Box January 2013

Back in January, I was sent a box of delicious goodies from artisan food box company Deluxebite. For each £20* box  - filled with a quintet of gourmet food products - sold, the company will support the country's food banks by buying a meal for a hungry UK family.

*cheaper if you choose a longer plan!

Deluxebite customers then, not only get the chance to try products which they wouldn't typically find on the shelves of Tesco, but get to do something charitable for others too!

I was sent the 'Deluxebite Detox Box' (January's edition) to review, filled with goodies intended to restore the body's 'balance and harmony'.

Deluxebite Detox Box handwritten note
Handwritten note included in the box :]

Deluxe Bite January Box contents...


Coffee Factory Black Label 


"A blend of seasonally selected beans roasted and hand picked in Devon  Light acidity, medium body, sweet, chocolatey, light nuttiness."


GREAT TASTE GOLD 2012
Coffee Factory Black Label

This is possibly the nicest coffee I have ever tasted! The clever holes on the reverse of the packet meant I could smell the coffee's rich aroma even before I enthusiastically ripped the seal open. The chocolatey taste mentioned on the packet is subtle, and of the dark, bitter cocoa variety which I personally love - it really does add an irresistible taste-dimension to the beverage!

The energy-rush from this coffee is undeniably powerful, but not to the point where you're left feeling you're having heart palpitations, thankfully.

I must admit that before I received this coffee for review, I had never owned - let alone, used - a caffettiere in my life. I even had to Google how to use one, haha! Fortunately, Mum had one in the cupboard she rarely used, which she kindly donated to me.

While I tend to stick to instant coffee on workdays (it's that little bit quicker to prepare during the morning rush) Black Label is now my coffee of choice for weekend wake-ups. I will definitely be buying a pack or two when my 100g sample is used up - not long to go!

Nim's Fruit Crisps (Pineapple & Kiwi)


"...born out of my need to create deliciously tasty snacks that adults and children want to eat. Naturally, they would also have to be healthy. Nim's are made from 100% fruit with no additives, preservatives or concentrates. All the fruits have skin, core and pips left in, making it a moreishly crispy snack that retains colour, enhances natural flavours and is high in fibre and vitamin C. Free from fat, gluten and dairy. Quite simply, it's fruit re-invented! 

Nim's Fruit Crisps (Pineapple & Kiwi)

I have always been a fan of dried banana chips but it's never really occurred to me that other fruits would undergo the same drying-out process (a tad stupid of me, eh?)

I'm glad someone had the initiative to dry out pineapples and kiwis though, because these fruit crisps are lovely! Really sharp and flavoursome, but also very brittle...it's easy to forget you are eating fruit at all! I could actually see children eating these crisps, which is no small feat.

My only complaint would be that I wish the bag was larger than 22g, but hey, it is a snack product! I really hope I will find these crisps - and Nim's other varieties (orange & melon, apple & strawberry, and pear & kiwi) - the next time I visit Holland & Barrett.

Nim's really are an ideal desk snack, so I hope they're not too expensive either - I'd like to stock up. YUM!

Raman's Handmade Relish: Unique Butternut Squash


"Grilled butternut squash mixed with a unique blend of spices for a warm and distinctive flavour. Wonderfully versatile..."

Raman's Handmade Relish Unique Butternut Squash

This butternut squash relish is really suited to this time of year - the warmth provided by the spices within is ideal for inclusion in dishes typically cooked to help us combat the bite of chilly winter evenings. The sweetness of the butternut squash meanwhile balances the pallet, and ensures the spice-kick is not too overpowering (I'm a spice-wuss, but even I think this relish is delicious!)

Unique Butternut Squash is a really versatile products, since it can be used as a sauce, a glaze for chicken, to add extra flavour to soups, as a dip, and almost any other way the chef-in-you can think of.

All too often I find it incredibly hard to eat breakfast, especially dry foods (*wierdo*) which makes toast problematic. However, I have been spreading this on toast during the past week, and have managed to eat such in the mornings with no problems! I can only assume the yummy flavours and spice in the relish help speed up the production of enzymes in my mouth and thus; early eating is less of a struggle.

And since it's only ingredients are butternut squash (duh), tomato, onion, sesame, spices, salt, malt vinegar and sunflower oil, the calorie content is reasonably low (the internet can't seem to tell me exactly how many calories are in this relish though...boo!)

I would buy this product for sure.

Bracken Hill Fine Foods' Apple Chutney


"Yorkshire preserves - no added sugar."

Bracken Hill Fine Foods' Apple Chutney

I've never tried an apple chutney before, despite absolutely loving mango variants.

This chutney is very sharp - the onion it contains is the first ingredient your pallet will recognise upon tasting, but the tangyness of the apple soon cuts through. The finale is a subtle and sweet flavour, as the power of its fragrant spices slips away.

While this chutney is not unpleasant, I must admit I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it in the future. That's the great thing about Deluxebite boxes though - you get the chance to try some foods you never have before. You might not like them all, but finding out is all part of the fun!

I think I'll give this chutney to a friend to enjoy, since I can't see myself eating too much of it.

Great Glen Game Chilli Venison Chorizo


GREAT TASTE GOLD 2011
Great Glen Game Chilli Venison Chorizo

I've yet to open this chilli venison chorizo and taste it, since you have to use it up within 10 days once the seal is broken and I don't want to waste any of it! I bet it is lovely though - only the nicest foods are awarded Great Taste Gold Awards!

I plan on making a BBQ pizza soon and using this as part of the topping -  I bet it'll be lush!
......

Deluxebite box & ripped sticker

Have you ever tried any monthly food boxes before? I think I'll be ordering some boxes from Deluxebite in the future.

/KatSick.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

£1.47 = 2 x Sleek 'Twist Up' eye pencils + GOSH eyeshadow trio

Superdrug bargains Sleek eyeliners and GOSH eyeshadow
Total cost = £1.47: What a bargain!
The (untold) events of Valentine's Day left me feeling pretty glum, and so when Friday lunchtime rolled around, I was in dire need of some retail therapy.

I have previously mentioned  I am meant to be adhering to a spending ban (something that's even more important now I've booked a solo, end-of-March Amsterdam trip on my credit card!), and so I knew I couldn't spend a great deal on myself.

However, I decided I would allow myself to buy a couple of the Intense Colour MUA eyeliner pencils I have wanted for a while, since they retail for just a £1 each.

MUA Intense Colour eyeliner pencils White and Turquoise
MUA Intense Colour eyeliner pencils: 'White' and 'Turquoise'
I went into Superdrug and picked up the 'White' and 'Turquoise' pencils, but before I reached the till to pay for them, some items on Superdrug's discount shelf (which has provided great bargains before) caught my eye...

Sleek 'Twist Up' eye pencils


Sleek Twist Up eyeliner pencils White and Sea Blue
Just 49p each!
Sleek Twist Up eyeliner pencil White and Sea Blue caps off
I don't know why my coffee table is so scratched, hmmm...
Quite a number of Sleek 'Twist Up' eye pencils had been reduced to just 49p (from their RRP of £2.50 each), including 'White' and 'Sea Blue'. Needless to say, I immediately put the MUA pencils back!

I've been meaning to try some Sleek products for a while and these bargain pencils provided a perfect opportunity!

The twist-up action works well, and I love the vivid colour of each. I was particularly impressed with the white one, since this colour doesn't often translate well in makeup products in my experience.

Sleek Twist Up eyeliner pencil swatches White and Sea Blue
The white looks silver...but it is white, I promise!

GOSH Trio eyeshadow (TR15 'Sense')


GOSH eyeshadow trio TR15 Sense
Also only 49p! 
I also found this GOSH eyeshadow trio on Superdrug's discount shelf. The original price of this 'Sense' compact was £6.49, so I just had to have it, even though I already own a ridiculous number of eyeshadows!

My favourite shadow of the three is definitely the pearlescent, peach-white at the bottom - it's really shimmery, yet subtle.

GOSH eyeshadow trio TR15 Sense lid up
You can see I've used the bottom shadow a couple of times already.
These eyeshadows could be used together to create a gorgeous, smoky eye aesthetic.
.....

It's worth noting that both of the Sleek pencils and the GOSH eyeshadow trio were fully sealed - I would never buy open makeup products. Ew.

I'm looking forward to experimenting with these items more soon - I think the white Sleek pencil will work well to make my inner eye area 'pop', while 'Sea Blue' should compliment my blue Barry M shimmer dusts.

Have you found any similar makeup bargains recently?

/KatSick. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

♪ ♫ Let's Get It On... Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe Kit [REVIEW]

Soak Yourself logo
Soak Yourself - a Chilterns-based company creating handmade, hand-packed, luxurious bath sets - has very kindly sent me one of their Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe kits (£40) to review ahead of Valentine's Day.

The Love Soak kit is filled with items created with aromatic frankincense, sandalwood, patchouli, cedar and vetiver oils, and is designed to...


"...give couples an uninterrupted stretch of intimate time together, away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life that can so easily get in the way of spending meaningful moments with each other."

Without getting too personal, I've been experiencing plenty of 'trouble in paradise' lately, and so I have not tested this kit with a significant other. I have however comforted myself with a couple of Love Soak, post-heartache baths* using this kit, and so I can tell you what I think of its contents.

* Soak Yourself also sells a kit specifically designed for aiding heartache; Broken Heart Soak (£40). I've listed the other Soak Yourself kits available at the end of this post too.

Anyway, back to Love Soak...

The unwrapping...

Soak Yourself Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe Kit box sleeve front
The Soak Yourself Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe Kit: boxed up.
Soak Yourself Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe Kit unwrapped
The sleeve comes off... The box arrived beautifully wrapped in aubergine-coloured tissue paper, on which it sits in this pic.
Soak Yourself Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe Kit open box
The lid lifted to reveal yet more tissue paper, sealed with purple ribbon and a Soak Yourself sticker. Note the box is hinged - it's really very durable! I'm going to keep it when the contents are used up :]
Soak Yourself Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe Kit inside
On top of the abundance of red, shredded paper covering the contents was a Love Soak instruction book and a little token, promising the receiver at least one hour of bath relaxation.
Soak Yourself Love Soak Bath Ritual relaxation token
A closer look at the token.
Soak Yourself Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe Kit contents
Oooh, what's all this then? 

The contents...

Soak Yourself Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe Kit handmade Patchouli & vetiver soap
Handmade patchouli & vetiver soap: How gorgeous does this soap look? You probably won't be surprised to hear it smells absolutely divine too! If you read this blog regularly, you likely already know I love handmade bathing products, so I was delighted to find this inside! Beautiful.
Soak Yourself Love Soak Silk & Spice fizzing and foaming bath  powder & salts
Silk & Spice fizzing and foaming bath crystals, inside a Soak Yourself branded cotton bag: These salts have been blended to be detoxifying, sooth muscles, and clear the mind. It really is hard to get out the bath when you've added a relaxing dose to your water - soaking in these salts is really very pleasurable! 
Soak Yourself Love Soak Silk & Spice fizzing and foaming bath powder & salts unpacked
Yes, that is the before-mentioned Silk & Spice bath crystals you're looking at... Conveniently packed into two individual, resealable bags to prevent the user from making a great big mess! I've been using half-doses in my baths, as I want as many fizzy, foamy baths as possible from my Love Soak kit. I find half doses to be adequate :] 
Soak Yourself Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe Kit teapigs.co.uk chocolate teabags
Chocolate flake teabags from teapigs.co.uk: These smell sooo yummy! I love that fact the bags are not typical; they're made of a luxurious, shimmery white netting made from (biodegradable) cornstarch. You can see little chunks of dark chocolate within too - nom! When boiled up, the tea produced is more vanilla-flavoured than chocolate IMO. While the taste is subtle, it's also very delicious!
Soak Yourself Love Soak Love Blend essential oils Sandlewood, Frankinsense, patchouli & cedar
'Love Blend' essential oils: A wonderful mixture of essential oils including sandalwood, frankincense, patchouli & cedar. Adding 15 drops of this to the tub while the hot water is running makes my (well, my Mum's) small bathroom smell divine! A very sensual fragrance - mmmmm!
Soak Yourself Love Soak 'Love Blend' massage oil
'Love Blend' massage oil: While I have not massaged anyone with this oil, I have used a little on my pulse points before bed on more than a few occasions, to help me unwind. After sniffing myself for a long while (sandalwood & frankincense has that effect on me), I finally fall asleep feeling content. 
Soak Yourself Love Soak Bath Ritual Recipe Kit Flame of Love candle & candle holder
'Flame of Love' candle & holder: This candle is made with the same essential oils found in the other Love Soak products. It smells wonderful when it's lit and positioned by the bathtub - dimming the lights a little makes the experience even nicer!
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Love Soak: Final thoughts

The Love Soak Bath Ritual Kit contains everything a person needs to experience four indulgent, sensationally fragrant baths. At £40 (i.e. £10 a bath) this kit is pretty good value, especially if you and/or your loved one is able to exercise control and use it on special occasions only - it's so nice, that it's easier said than done!

My only criticism is that only two chocolate flake teabags were included in the kit - that's enough for one couple's bath only! I wouldn't expect eight, but four would have been a little less stingy since this is a kit intended for two people to use together (the other kits in the range are intended for solo use).

Still, that's a very small criticism - I really like the packaging, presentation and scent of this kit, which I can tell Jackie - the owner of Soak Yourself - put a lot of thought behind. I must admit, if a man-friend presented this kit to me I would definitely be wooed! 

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Love Soak charity donations, and other bath kits

Soak Yourself is not just beneficial for YOUR body and mind - every box purchased helps someone else too.

50p from the sale of each box kit is generously donated to the South-African children's charity The Love of Christ Ministries; a body which works to find loving families for abandoned and/or orphaned babies. Many of these babies are infected with the HIV virus, and are in desperate need of specialist treatment and care.

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If you don't feel like getting romantic with a loved one any time soon, perhaps you'd prefer to try one of the other Bath Ritual Kits from the Soak Yourself range:

Remedy - beat that run-down feeling caused by colds and flu.
Full Moon - prepare yourself for the hard month ahead.
Muscle Soak -  rejuvenate aching, sore limbs.
Broken Heart - soothe your boy-scarred heart.
Feeling Groovy - relax, release and let go.
Blanch the Blues - lift your mood, and help yourself tackle daily depression. 

Here's the two kits from the selection above I would most like to try:

Soak Yourself Remedy Bath Ritual Kit
Soak Yourself Remedy Bath Ritual Recipe Kit: 'Relief from the symptoms of colds and flu, to help ease you back to better health.'
Soak Yourself Blanche the Blues Bath Recipe Kit: 'Banish a down day, revitalise your senses, and boost your mood.'
Which Soak Yourself kit would you most like to treat yourself to?

/KatSick.