This is going to be a rather long post, so grab a cup of tea (or coffee, what ever floats your boat!) and settle in!
I first read about international box swaps on the blog Make it Rayne, as she’s done quite a few. She has done a post on everything about them here, so you can read more detail into them there. The whole idea is to find someone in another country, and do a swap of goodies so that you can get your hands on things you don’t get in your country, such as makeup, snacks, candy, beauty goodies or stationery, and even country-themed souvenirs. It’s like a pen pal, with extras!
Now, obviously the safety of this is key, as you’re buying a box of goodies (set to a budget) based on your partner’s likes and dislikes, and all from your country, and sending them across the world, on the basis that this person is doing the same for you. Thanks to Rayne, I requested to join the group on Facebook for International Box Swaps, and they have to approve you and accept your request. There are then rules and guidelines that must be followed, or you’ll be removed from the group. It’s all very safe and the admin members really make it a great place to find swappers. There is a quiz form that you fill in, and then send to your swapper, and so they can find things for you that you’re certain to be happy with.
I matched with a lovely girl, Hayley, who lives in the UK. She was heading to the States for a holiday just before Christmas, so I’d be able to get goodies from two different countries too!
The months leading up to the swap were so exciting as we exchanged messages and found out more about each other’s lives. We both love make-up and beauty products, but also wanted to try out different candies and snacks from each other’s countries.
There were some hiccups with the sending of the parcels, but we have both received them, and it was so worth the stress! You’ll now see below everything that I got from the gorgeous Hayley. (Please excuse the quality of some of the photos – I was so excited to just dive into everything, that I was not able to concentrate enough to get the photos quite perfect)
|My beautiful box, with a hand written card, and wrapped up pressies!|
I love Yankee Candles, and I got 2 Car Jar Air Fresheners, in ‘Sweet Strawberry’ and ‘Christmas Cookie’. I also got a 3-pack of votive candles, in ‘Raspberry Sundae’, ‘Sweet Vanilla’ and ‘Apple Crumble’. Four wax melts finished off the Yankee Candles goodies, in ‘Christmas Treats’, ‘Christmas Baking’, ‘Vanilla Frosting’ and ‘Merry Berry’.
Hayley also sent me a beautiful green-glitter, personalised Christmas bauble (super cute!), a pearly-pink cell phone cover, a set of to-do list stickers with little penguins and polar bears on, and some lovely jewellery – a pair of rose gold and diamanté earrings and a gold necklace.
I also got some delicious snacks and choccies – 2 packs of Chocolate Bourbon biscuits (I’d asked for these specifically, as they’re my dad’s absolute favourite, and we don’t get them here), a pack of Highland Shortie cookies, a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Ritz slab, a Galaxy Salted Caramel slab and a HUGE bag of mixed M&M’s from Hayley’s trip to M&M world. The ladies at work and I attacked the Shortie cookies and the Ritz slab, and WOW! So good….
|Cue the drooling… So yum!|
I mentioned that I’d really like to try out some Elf products, as I’ve heard that they’re really amazing quality despite their insanely cheap price tag. Hayley really spoilt me with the amount of Elf goodies that she picked up for me.
I got 4 lip products – the Lipstick in ‘Seductive’, the Luscious Liquid Lipstick in ‘Nude Pink’ and the Matte Lip Colours in ‘Nearly Nude’ and ‘Praline’. The Matte Lip Colours are both nude-y shades, the Liquid lipstick is a light pink, very pigmented gloss, and the Lipstick is a ‘my lips but better’ shade.
|Top to Bottom: Matte lip colours in Praline and Nearly Nude, Lipstick in Seductive and Liquid Lipstick in Nude Pink|
I got 3 eye products – the Flawless Eyeshadow quad in ‘Beautiful Browns’, the Eyebrow Kit in ‘Light’ and the Expert Liquid Liner in ‘Jet Black’.
|Swatched – eyeshadows according to quad, and the liquid liner; a look at the Brow Kit.|
I got 4 facial products – the Blush in ‘Candid Coral’, the Golden Bronzer in ‘Golden’, the Baked Highlighter in ‘Blush Gems’ and the Shimmering Facial Whip in ‘Lilac petal’.
|L – R: Candid Coral blush, Golden Bronzer (all 4 shades swatched separately), Baked Highlighter and Shimmering Facial Whip.|
I also received plenty of other make-up. For eyes, I got the Make Up Revolution Beyond Flawless palette of 32 eyeshadows, all beautiful nudes and rose colours, with some darker browns and blacks. a Colourpop Super Shock eyeshadow from the Kathleen Lights quad ‘Where the Light is’, called Kathleen Lights, a gorgeous metallic copper, and the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in ‘On and on Bronze’. I also got the Maybelline Instant Age Eraser in ‘Light’.
|L – R: Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On and on Bronze; Colourpop Super Shock eyeshadow in Kathleen Lights.|
|Swatches: Top is the Lorac Alter Ego Lipgloss in Dream Girl, bottom is the Too Faced lip cream in Fuchsia Shock.|
Hayley also got me TONS of skincare products, which I love.
SOAP AND GLORY
I asked for some Soap and Glory goodies, as I’ve tried their Hand Food hand cream before and it’s incredible. She picked up the Flake Away Body Polish, The Daily Smooth Body Butter and Hand Food in the Sugar Crush scent (lime and sugar), all in travel sizes.
I love face care products, and there were SO many to try! I got a Codage Scrubbing cream, a Korres Milk Proteins foaming cream cleanser, a Skin Therapy Light Hydrating Cream and Toner for sensitive skin, the Naturally Radiant Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser (a big size, with a muslin cloth), a Sephora Rose Sleeping mask capsule (moisturising and brightening), and a super cute pink lipbalm shaped like a penguin.
I’ve been hearing so much about the Korean skincare trend, and Hayley kindly bought me TEN sheet masks! 9 were from the brand Malie – they’re all Ultra Hydrating Essence sheet masks, and have different serums in them, and I got Aloe, Seaweed, Vitamin, Cucumber, Stem Cell, Pomegranate, Potato, Collagen and Snake (Snake???!!! – intriguing!). The last sheet mask was from a brand called The Face Shop , and it’s a character mask – the mask it’self is shaped (and patterned) as a dog! How cute is that?!
Lastly, I had a big handful of samples to try out. I got 2 sample tubes of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, Korean skincare samples of a face cream and toner, 4 Luke charcoal pore strips, a Clinique foundation sample and a Merumaya Skin Brightening Exfoliating Peel.
So all-in-all I was completely spoilt rotten. I can only hope that Hayley found the box I sent her to be half as exciting!!!