Monthly Archives: March 2013

Holidays

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There’s something magical about taking time out from the regular world and just changing your physical environment. This Easter our little family is on a boat on the river, indulging in time together and stopping off for little seaside snacks. It’s only a couple of days, but will hopefully be enough to rejuvenate the body and soul.

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Tebe Cleansing Face Polish

My husband has a bunch of tools in our enormous shed and the only ones that I really understand completely are a big bucket of sandpaper. (And the little electric palm sander I bought with my bestie when we fancied ourselves furniture restorers one weekend. It didn’t pan out, but I still use it because manual sanding of anything blows the big one.) What I understand about sandpaper is this – if it’s coarse grained, it rips the guts out of whatever you are sanding and prepares it for the finer grained sandpaper to come in and do the pretty work. It’s like a nail file – the reason you have the two, three or four different grains is because it gradually gets finer and becomes a polisher. Then there’s that rubber one which is meant to polish completely, but I’ve always found that one useless because I always put colour on my nails, so I need  bit of grit left for it to hang on to.

So when something calls itself a polish and it has grit, I’m thinking it’ll be really finely grained and ready to do the pretty work – the lighter end of the sandpaper spectrum. Couple it with a cleanser, and I’m thinking gritty cream (like throwing sand in to yogurt) that you can rub in to get a bit of action, otherwise it does just a mild scrubs job.Then it’s a cleanser and polisher with olive leaf extract so now I’m thinking once I’ve done the creamy rub, I’ll also feel moisturised and olive-y, so a triple faceted product.

It has to be hard for the smallest sample known to woman to live up to this hype I have in my head about the product claims. One squeeze and a 50 cent amount came out, which was enough, but in the struggle to get the last bit out of the tube, I lost 10 cents worth of it down the drain, so my thoughts on the product now also come at a cost of not having enough and stretching the product over my face and neck area which kind of loses me on the luxuriousness of the product. Shame, because from what I could tell, it really was quite good.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s the pretty end of the sandpaper spectrum, it’s not a heavy grain, but it’s somewhere in the middle. It gives a pretty decent scrub when you get your elbows in to it, but it lacks the finer grains which give the feeling of all over scrubbiness, it felt like it only worked when I attacked an area, the grains were too big to make much difference to the non-forced-open pores. The creamy cleanser was really nice, that did work beautifully, but the moisturising kick I was hoping for at the end was lackluster.

This is not to say it was a bad product at all – if I had more of it I would certainly use it, but I probably wouldn’t buy it over others I have used previously. Having said that, it’s at a really good price point for a weekly scrub ($25 for 50ml) and if it was in a friends shower, I’d have another go!

Do you have problems finding a scrub with an ideal sized grain? I keep going back to a couple of standards (St Ives and Garnier) because even though they have their drawbacks, the grain size works.

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BellaBox – March 2013

Now what you won’t see in this picture is the little pack of Table of Plenty muesli they sent with this box and that’s because it turned up just as I was about to head to the cafe next door for some breakfast. Needless to say, the cafe trip was rendered moot with a bowl, some milk and a spoon and lordy lord was it yummy! It also made the box smell devine, so a pack of that has gone on the shopping list for this week!

Once again, this review is a long time coming, it’s been over a week since this one came in the post and it is my first ever Bella Box. Just on getting the packet, I knew I would love it. The sturdy brown box itself (which is gorgeous) comes wrapped in a teal mailer and the contents are layered in purple and yellow tissue with a strawberry sticker (which matched the picture on the insert card… accident? I think not!). It was almost a shame to unwrap it, but the smell of the muesli finally pushed the hand…. even though the box is smaller than LustHaveIt, I think on first look it’s far more impressive – there is an aesthetic designer involved in these packets of surprising wonderfulness.

I think I respond to aesthetics better than value sometimes. Like Kikki K stationery – it’s probably not the best stationery in the world and it’s probably not the most amazing design, but damned if I don’t just melt when I walk in to that store and buy so much stuff I do not need. It’s because of the aesthetics. Ikea does it to me too – the little room setups and the cute little swedish names on everything have me at hāllo. Put the two together and you have my dream office setup. Put that together with an Adairs concept shop and you have a perfect bedroom. I’m so lucky I have such little time to shop or I would be looking great, but living in a box.

And to contents – the most amazingly scented Coconut body milk from Ocean Essence which I want to take a bath in, a Designer Brands lip pencil in hot red which has an inbuilt sharpener in the lid (genius) which surprisingly works well with the Yes to Carrots C Me Shine Lip Gloss. Who would have thought that a lip gloss which smelled and tasted like minty carrots could excite me so much! There was also Alpha-H cream (not the serum as advertised, but I’m none the wiser as to which is better) which I’m interested in trying to take off the top layer of my face , and Simuolive Tebe Face Polish which is timely as my face needs a good scrub.

A pretty good haul I think! There was also a voucher to try a snack delivery service, but I think if I got nuts and dried fruit delivered, then in a week I’d just have a mountain of nuts and dried fruit I’d be throwing away – healthy for you only goes so far before boredom kicks in.

Lust Have It – March 2013

I’ve been slack in not posting my thoughts on my monthly subscription boxes and even though this is now a week after I received it, I finally have some clear head time to go through my thoughts from the March Lust Have It subscription box.

This is only my second Lust Have It box, my first one came in a cute hot pink toiletry bag which my three year old daughter immediately snagged for herself, so the change to a box that she doesn’t want was excellent. I can also imagine after I get a few boxes that they will look really nice lined up on my office bookcase shelf, and they can hold a lot of knick knacks that I seem to accumulate.

Enclosed was a BioElixia Body Shaper Cellulite Contour Creme (I have no cellulite, do you think this works preventatively?), A Gosh Cosmetics Mono Eye Shadow in deep green which perfectly matches my eyes, two Natural Source Camoflage Body Crayon in both lime green (here you are, daughter) and brown which may work well on my eyes if I’m having a brown day, A Goldwell Dualsenses Rich Repair hair treatment (my hair has been so treated by two months of subscription boxes!) and an Advanced Natural Calming & Soothing Face Mask which looks good. I also got a lollipop and without a trip to the doctor!

I wasn’t amazed by the boxes contents, but mainly because I was hoping that every box wasn’t going to hold a hair treatment and a face treatment which to me are so standard and samely that trying different brands doesn’t thrill me. I also wonder how much product a company like Natural Source must have provided to get a nail polish in last months boxes and two pencils in this months boxes, which always makes me wonder how they can ever expect any of us to pay full price for their merchandise knowing how many thousands they must have given away for basically free. Which to me means they must recoup some serious cost on selling to us somehow. But that’s how my mind works – put something on sale and I’ll never pay more for it because I know you must still be making a profit so gimme that all the time!

The Cellulite cream I am fascinated by – I don’t understand the biological mechanics of cellulite cream – how does something applied externally fix a problem which is caused internally? Is it the massaging that makes the difference? Is it really some miracle ingredient? How can there be a miracle ingredient with so many different versions of cellulite cream on the market? How can a company who believes in their product provide a full sized sample to Lust Have It? Are they not selling it in the stores so need to lose some old stock to give new to stores? I’m such a cynic.

The eye shadow I’m really happy with – it’s a great colour and will hopefully work well with the brown pencil and / or my brown CK liquid eyeliner which is already in my kit. If not, I’m handing it off to one of the girls at work because I know it would totally work on her.

During the month, LustHaveIt have sent out an e-mail letting members know they have upped the price on their boxes to $20 per month but given us a six month reprieve on the price hike which was nice of them. I’m hoping this means next month things just get better and we get Lindt balls instead of lollipops! I’m also going to give them a couple more months before making a call on whether to continue or not. I’ve used almost everything from the Feb box so time to get moving on these ones!

I’ve also subscribed to the Lip factory box – $30 per month but almost entirely makeup based and out of the US so I imagine brands we wouldn’t normally get here (Australia). So the middle week of the month I now get three exciting packages – yay! Thanks Lambe for putting me on to that one – beautyheaven girls know how to lead each other astray!

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kevin.murphy – born.again hair treatment

Hair treatments. I have them in abundance. I wonder what the word is for a grouping of hair treatments – a flange of hair treatments? (no, it’s not a word, don’t urban dictionary it). A congress of treatments? Congress needs treatment, that’s for sure, and don’t even get me started on how many of our politicians need a good hair cut. And healthy food. And decent social policy…. but I digress.

So I have a bunch of hair treatments and I can’t review them too often because

  1. any more treatments in my thin excuse for hair and it may slide off my head
  2. once I open one, I kind of have to use it till it’s gone, otherwise I end up with six million tiny bottles in my tiny shower and my husband goes mental
  3. If I use too many in a short time frame, I can’t work out whether a specific treatment works or if it’s just working off the last one.

But once a week I put a treatment in (twice if I’ve been swimming or it’s been hot and my hair feels disgusting and oily) on a Sunday after I put my daughter to bed or while my husband does it, then let it dry mostly naturally and then blow dry / style it for the next few days at work. I don’t tend to wash my hair more than a couple times per week. Partially I’m too lazy and / or busy, but also because I’m not a very patient hair person so styling via blow drying more than twice a week drives me batty. I’m lucky I don’t thrash about when I sleep, otherwise mornings would be more challenging visually than they need to be!

Which puts me on another tangent – there has to be a better way of styling hair than a blow dryer without spending a fortune on a damn gadget bound to burn my head. I’ve tried straighteners, but they keep busting (I use the GHD at my gym which is awesome buy can’t bring myself to fork out a couple hundred for one tool in the arsenal) or burning my head – I’ve looked at the InStyler, but for every good review, there seems to be a bad one and rollers just aren’t going to cut the mustard. I end up looking like a poodle. A poodle who isn’t groomed.

I’ll come back to the point. The hair treatment.

Just like face masks, hair treatments for me all work pretty well. This particular one thankfully did not deliver on it’s named purpose – I wasn’t born again because as a baby I was bald for a couple years – I still get chills looking at the photos – but it did feel like it nourished my hair and made it as easy as it can get for styling. I’ve also just cut my hair up to chin length, so there was less to style which may have helped the light feeling.

What I didn’t like about this particular hair treatment was that it stank like I was having a perm. (actually, I haven’t had one since 1989 so I don’t know if the smell has changed at all) So much so that I didn’t leave it on for the recommended length of time, I took it off after only a few minutes. But the results were really good, I would imagine if I could have withstood it for more time, then it would have blown my mind!

Being a sample, I have the luxury of trying without buying but this one won’t convert in to a buy from me – a lot of others leave my hair feeling and smelling great so I don’t see the need to forego smelling like a day spa, however briefly…

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Beauty Heaven

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I’ve just managed to go up one rung on beautyheaven.com.au from beauty lover to beauty fanatic. It took some doing – 10 reviews of beauty products, 10 posts, a bunch of details, some friend referrals, some comments, some “likes”, some “loves”… but I did it in 10 days (don’t tell work!). Only now, I need another 350 points to get all the way to where I can swap points for products and get in on all the cool trials.

I think I may have gone a little sample / product crazy of late – I’ve subscribed to two monthly beauty boxes – lusthaveit.com.au and bellabox.com.au and I’m on pinchme.com.au for all of their samples, as well as sending off for anything that comes past me. It’s not just the idea of a freebie that is all it is (although I have to admit it is certainly alluring), but I do want to get a good idea of what I should be using now that my skin is getting a little more “mature”. I want to update skincare, make up, hair care, I want to know how to do a face that doesn’t half rub off by the afternoon, how to choose style (and hairdresser) that can deal with my crazy excuse for hair, nails that are strong and beautiful plus I want to figure out whether all of this is even fiscally viable.

And all of this while working full time  and being at the gym a couple of lunchtimes per week, looking after a three year old at home  and running around after a husband who is away a couple of nights a week and works crazy hours. Add to this a salary negotiation, a project that’s barely holding it together and a schedule that has me up at 530 each morning and you can see why having samples sent to me to try and fit in with my life is easier than trying to get to department stores to try things out. This way, I can fit a facial mask in with reading a story to my daughter, try a cleanser while making coffee or testing new makeup in my post gym touch up. Work for me!

To get back to the original point – Beauty Heaven helps me put it all together in my mind – what kind of products to be used when, how, how much, whether they are worth the money, and there’s such a great community of people who are willing to answer most of my inane questions. Plus in doing that, I get points for more samples- how good is that!!

How about you – are you as product crazy as me at the moment?

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Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque

Face masques are amazing things. No, really. You take any masque – plop it on your skin, wait 20 minutes, then rinse off and your skin will always feel better. Always.

And this one is no exception, although I have to ask – it doesn’t seem to matter which mask I use, my skin tends to feel the same. Is it the action of having something on my face which makes my skin react as it does? Is there a common link ingredient-wise which does the same thing? Does it not matter what I would use so long as it is moisturising in essence (for example, would my skin feel the same with a mask of avocado or aloe vera?) I can’t say that any masque I’ve ever used (and it’s in the hundreds by now) has been mind-blowingly different. I almost never go out of my way to buy a particular brand or style of masque (mud, heating, cooling, moisturising, cleansing, detoxifying, organically natural, expensive, single use sachet…) and yet rarely does a face mask disappoint or impress.

This isn’t to say I don’t like face masks – I do. I love the sense of home-day-spa they give me, but I have to wonder whether their use (especially in a day spa environment) isn’t just a going-through-the-motions event rather than of beauty / therapeutic benefit. It’s why I don’t pay for facials – 20 minutes of whatever time they are charging me for is spent with a mask on my face, relaxing, while they have a cup of tea and laugh at how much they are fleecing me. And I KNOW that I’m falling asleep while the mask is on, so it could be 30 minutes and I would never know – it’s not like I wear a watch or can view a clock while I’m in there.

Face and hair masques are a pretty good staple in my monthly subscription beauty boxes too, so I get a good stash of them each month!

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Natural Source – Nail Polish

The Natural Source Gradient

I’m the person who always has their fingernails done. I get them shellacked with a standing two weekly appointment at my local nail salon and every couple months I’ll throw in a pedicure with polish but for the most part I do my feet myself. It begs to be asked why I have over thirty colours of nail polish, but I also share them with my princess of a three year old daughter, so that could explain my justification of such an obvious retail weakness.

I am quite excited about this polish – natural ingredients and such a bold colour choice – plus don’t even get me started waxing lyrical on the gorgeous apothecary-style bottle, I’m a sucker for a good bit of packaging. The bottle is also small enough that I’ll use it all before having to throw it away from drying out and it’s possible that it will get re-used storing home-made glitter or something like it for the ever-growing craft box in the corner of my lounge room.

My plan for this polish was to put it on the night before a wedding we have been invited to, then wear peep-toe shoes so that it has a chance to shine. I’ve since remembered my good peep toes are at work, so I may have to slightly adjust that idea and go with a pair of nude peeps and brighter dress – oh the first world problems I have to deal with!

The polish itself is not what I would call boldly coloured – a couple of coats and it gave a bit of depth, but it’s certainly not the stand out I was hoping for. However, it has a real classiness that I’m super impressed with and it’s shiny as all getup, a big win for my feet so I’ll be feeling good in that department.

As now for what to wear to a “smart casual or semi-formal” wedding with the weather predicted to rain and be cold for the first time in weeks? I think I need a wardrobe makeover. Help! I am getting my hair re-styled tomorrow morning, so perhaps that’ll give some inspiration….

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“…don’t be ridiculous. I don’t make ugly, fat, stupid or frumpy children. Therefore, you are perfect.”

my mum – words to live by.

Lonvitalite – 24K Gold Face Mask

I actually have a couple of face masks that I have to try, but since I’m getting in to the whole cloth mask thing, I’ll give the Lonvitalite 24K Gold mask a try first.

You can really tell that this whole product concept has come from Asia, because no matter whether you buy the one that’s meant to moisturise or meant to whiten, they both use pure whitening essence milk in the mix and the claim is for even, fair skin. Which leads me to think there is some kind of bleaching agent in here which I can’t imagine means the moisturiser gets a lot of a chance to work. But I’d love to be proven wrong, so let’s give it a whirl….

The first thing that struck me was that I looked like Jim Carrey doing the Silence of the Lambs once I put it on – there is just no possible way that you can make this look flattering without a complete crew of lighting technicians, a stylist and a damn good photographer. And the next thing that struck me was that it froze my damn skin. I’ve had cooling masks before, but I usually buy them as cooling masks – this was completely unexpected and really quite an odd sensation.

After 15 minutes, I rinsed off and I almost couldn’t feel my skin, I had to give it some time to warm up. When it did, I was impressed – my skin is soft and relaxed and I’ve taken 15 minutes out of my day to sit with my head back just relaxing. Now that I know what’s coming, I could totally do it again.

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