Monthly Archives: April 2013

L’Occitane – Cherry Blossom Perfume

ts that define periods in my life which I’m sure is like most women. My first ever perfume that I loved was Issey Miyake – delicate, different, Japanese – and  wore that all through my last two years of high school and in to college, then I switched to mens Davidoff because it smelled like water. As I matured, I moved away from the pure perfume scents and in to more woody and earthy tones, but nothing stuck until I found Chanel Allure which I’ve been wearing now for about 10 years. Yeah – I’m not big on change once I’ve found something that works! During this time, I’ve tried Britney Curious, Elizabeth Arden Red Door, and Covet by SJP.

But now.

I had a voucher to go in and get a hand cream sample from L’Occitane (Shea butter, just about the worlds best hand cream) and, of course, they always get me with a 15% voucher just in case I want to pick up something while in the store. I had a wander and mentally spent about $400, but could only justify purchasing three things (total $70) “because I am travelling soon and need travel sized products”. My brain didn’t register that I have a bunch of travel sized containers and samples at home…. not when faced with L’Occitane beauty.

L’Occitane have been producing perfume for years and I’ve always loved the Cherry Blossom on friends (and taken a sneaky squirt when in store) but wasn’t sure how it would work for me as a daily scent. Would it be too cloying? Would the floral signify another change in my life and, therefore, that I am getting older? Am I in a new phase? Am I ready to change? Does it really need to be this hard? I bought the perfume in a roll on, thinking it would work better for travel and be less likely to leak and then promptly got home and used it. Then woke up the next day and took the choice to use it again. And it’s a week later, and I haven’t worn my Chanel.

And I may have made plans to get a bigger bottle of Cherry Blossom for home and perhaps a bottle of the rose aurore and some body wash to layer the fragrance. Did I mention L’Occitane will make me poor if I don’t watch out?

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Lancome – Genefique Facial Serum

I’ve had the privilege of being part of a trial for Lancome Genefique new generation anti-aging product (Youth Activating Concentrate). It’s a facial serum slash new generation age fighter (with a cape) and I’m half way through my allotted 7 day product allowance, so an update is in order.

Firstly – I’m not a huge Lancome buyer, but I’ve used their product a lot because my mother happens to use Lancome as a matter of choice so through that I’ve sampled a lot of their range. The only product I use with regularity that I buy from Lancome is the Hypnose Star mascara (loving it for daily use). It’s not a money thing, it’s just a doesn’t-enter-my-mind-because-it’s-not-in-front-of-me-when-I-buy-my-daily-make-up thing.

That being said, they aren’t cheap, which is understandable because they are a luxury brand.

Now – on to the Genefique. It’s beautifully packaged which absolutely appeals, I love a good bit of packaging. It lets me know whether it’s meant to be used sparingly, whether it’s something for fun times or something that travels well and should be used for touch ups during the day. The dark colour of the bottle appeals because it’s classic, like an LBD, and says to me that it should be considered a staple part of my skin care wardrobe. The materials say it should be left at home, but in pride of place because of it’s attractive curves….

It’s not quite a serum because it isn’t oily – it’s more of an emulsion which, as was painstakingly described in the notes provided for trial, should be dotted on the forehead, upper cheeks and lower cheeks, then rubbed in a circular motion around the face until absorbed.  I was a bit surprised that the product didn’t spread quite as far as I thought so I feel like I’m using a bit more than I should be, but it does soak in really quickly and evenly.

There’s no offensive smell (hardly a smell at all) which is great because it goes under my daily face and perfumes, so it’s not overpowering. My only nit-pick is that I’m used to a more moisturized feel to my base product but at the same time, it did give great moisture to my face as evidenced by no flaky skin and a healthy “glow”.

So – half way through the trial and things are looking positive. Husband has noticed that I’m looking pretty good (always a plus) although he did have to be prodded to provide comment, so hopefully it’s genuine. Another three days, and it’s time to finish which will be a shame, but I think Genefique might make it back in to my routine in some form in the future, whether “borrowed” from mum or bought on my own!

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BellaBox – April 2013


Once again, the BellaBox packaging has me so impressed, from the teal outer wrapping to the simple, stylish and quality brown box packaging and black tissue paper. It’s always a pleasure to unwrap the BellaBox.

This month everything in the box is considered “Innovative” products, which I guess means they all have some quirky ingredient or do unexpected things or use questionable technologies in trying to convince us of their worth. We shall see.

First up is the full size Sally Hansen Magnetic Nail Colour ($17 RRP). Interesting that anyone would think to put iron filings in a nail polish and then a magnet in the brush cap. You have to ask yourself why, but I’m guessing the new fascination with odd nail art is to blame. It’s a gorgeous colour (deep brown) so looking forward to adding this in to my rotation, even if I possibly won’t use the magnetic features!

Next is the Avene Micellar Lotion which I have used before in the trial size and didn’t really get in to. It didn’t seem to fully clean my skin, and I kept having to use other products to do the same job, so this one will be getting tossed.

I’ve been getting in to dry shampoos lately, so the addition of a travel sized Dry Conditioner (Cedel) is fantastic, and I can’t wait to try it out. I’m glad it’s travel sized because I have an OS trip coming up and I may be drinking too much to remember to wet wash and condition my hair each day before fronting up in the office… a quick version is going to be so well received.

The Lash Card. Now, call me crazy, but I actually don’t have a problem with applying mascara and a piece of cardboard is unlikely to make me better. But just in case, I traced the shape of one of the cards on to a piece of paper and uploaded in to my digital cutting machine so should I find that it’s worthy, rather than paying $8 for 10 cards, I can make them for the price of a sheet of card – about 20 cents.

The Indio Facial scrub I am looking forward to using, but with the size which allows for maybe one use, I’m not sure that I’m going to get a good enough understanding of it’s potential, so not sure it’ll transfer to a purchase. It’s a shame about facial scrubs, I’m in the market for a new one, but trial sizes never give enough to know whether it’s worth a switch.

And to finish – two products that while under the category “Innovative” could just as easily be under the category “marketing hype”. First, the Cellilux Glacial Mineral Gel containing negatively charged molecules… to draw out positively charged bacteria. I would hope that I don’t have a lot of positively charged molecules or I’d be in constant fear of sparking, but I’ll give it a whirl in case it’s a decent moisturiser (once I finish my current Lancome trial – more on that soon)

And to finish – Proplenish Marine Collagen Sachets – three sachets to put in a drink and swallow the secrets of youth. If only it were that simple.

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Nude by Nature Mineral Primer

Ah, Nude by Nature. I have had such a long lasting relationship with your bronzers, your mineral veils, and I love your lipsticks, but what happened when you delved in to primers? I thought for sure this was an easy knock-out-of-the-park answer to an intro skin primer, but I’m left a bit disappointed. Why? I’m glad you asked.

Firstly – it has the consistency of moisturiser which confuses me as I’m sure primers are thicker to give the feeling of a barrier. From my understanding, a primer is a barrier between my precious skin and the evil foundation, it’s like a staging area for the face I want to show the world. Making the cream light and feeling like it absorbs quickly is mentally challenging for me as I don’t feel it doing anything special.

Secondly – seriously, what’s with the smell? I’m putting it on my face – surely that warrants if not adding perfume, then losing the smell it currently has? Another mental roadblock, poor chemical smells make me feel less pretty, not more.

Thirdly – It makes my face feel wet which means in my time-challenged morning, I have to either stand there waiting for it to dry and wondering why I’m not still in bed tucked up with my husband for an extra 30 seconds (precious moments) or lightly pat my face dry before I apply foundation.

Okay, so the application of this primer has it’s challenges, now for the good news. It works, kind of.

I’ve used this primer now for a weeks worth of work days and have been to the gym three times. The first was heavy cardio and my foundation basically dripped off my face so okay, I’ll forgive that one, a straight shower and reapply required. The second time was a Body Balance class which got me hot but not sweaty and… foundation was gone again. But interestingly, my eye make up remained perfectly in place. A quick lick of mineral veil saw me through the rest of the day, no biggie. The third time was like the second, but I had to go out that night, so had to reapply everything from the start.

On the other days, it worked a charm, things stayed where they were meant to stay, but I have to say – no more than regular foundation would. I’ve been using Garnier BB Cream and mineral veil most days which works a treat generally, the primer didn’t seem to make much of a difference except it did give my eye make up better longevity at the end of the day.

I’m still in the market for a new face primer, I’ll use this for my eye area going forward unless another lands in my lap, but it wasn’t the most awesome thing ever. Or even the most awesome thing this week. A shame, I’m still a Nude by Nature fan, I can forgive one product out of an amazing line!

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Aromatherapy vs Allergies?

It’s something I’ve been wondering for quite some time. Aromatherapy is meant to work through the olfactory passages (I’m showing off my words – I mean nose) and so many products have such amazing smells meant to enhance the experience but…. if you can’t smell, does it still work?

I get quite bad allergies from time to time and often while I’m dosing up on drugs, the first thing to disappear is my sense of smell. I’m quite used to it, but it seems that when I do lose my sense of smell, the only thing I really want to do is to light my ridiculously expensive but amazingly gorgeous aroma candle and start rubbing on pampering creams. But then I think why bother? I’m just wasting half the goodness.

Or am I? Does the act of pampering myself, my instinct for smelliness in the best sense tap in to some deep rooted need that my body says “You maybe can’t smell it, but it’s helping you anyway”? Does it work on a cellular level even if it doesn’t tap the scent-ecstasy button in my brain? Is that, in fact, the perfect time to be smelling lovely so that I’m not quite so gross to other people as they watch me stuff tissues in my sleeves, pockets and bag?

There are of course those who say aromatherapy doesn’t work anyways and so who cares if I burn my money when I can smell it or not and to you I say – you may be quite right in the scientifically proven sense of things, but I also say to you that there are things that once were thought weird in this world and they ended up being proven correct. I get the argument goes there are plenty more that remained useless, but hey, we could talk all day on this and you won’t convince me either way. I remain neutral and a lover of lovely smells.

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Beauty in Hope and Thankfulness


I’ve spent the last week in hope.

My beautiful brindle puppy, Abigail, had an embolism in her spine on Easter Monday and has been paralysed from her waist down. Imagine a stroke, it’s kind of like that but in her spine which has blocked all movement to her hind legs and tail.

This is not a dog who likes to sit still. This is not a dog who spends her days in comfortable recovery pose – this is a dog who runs everywhere and all day. This is a dog who has her protective mode on 24 hours per day and drives us crazy with barking and energy. This is a dog who greets you when you so much as stand with a wagged tail and a cheeky grin. This is a dog who completely dominates her much larger kelpie brother (Toby) and he loves her more for it.

In other words, she is the worst patient. ever.

My husband luckily worked from home all of last week and helped her out, she needed to be carried everywhere and had to be encouraged to go to the toilet not inside, but couldn’t move to make anything known. After the first day, she had had enough and started trying to pull herself around with her front two legs, her back legs dragging behind. This was not good, it put so much pressure on her spine, but she was being driven crazy inside.

The next day, my husband made a pen for her outside and put her there for a couple of hours and she perked up a bit. We also noticed that the embolism had stopped her being able to bark and noticed she wasn’t wagging her tail.

Thursday we got worried, she was meant to be getting better and having some movement. She wasn’t improving and we talked to the vet about talking about maybe discussing “welfare”. I spent the evening with her head on my lap just watching her sleep and the thought of it nearly ripped my heart from my chest.

But Friday.

Friday, I spent the day with her and watched her stubborn little brain take over. I held her back legs while she took laps of the driveway, then could almost see her determination push feeling to her legs, it was like she knew her time to repair was limited. If I put her on to her legs, she stumbled forward. Short bursts, but enough to give hope and exhaust her inexhaustible reserves of energy. In the late afternoon, she looked at me and I saw her tail give a little wag – a wag that signified she would get there.

The weekend was ups and downs, she woke Saturday exhausted from her Friday stumbles and looked like she was headed backward, but then Sunday she stood. All. By. Herself. She lifted her cute butt high to the sky, her tail pointed upward and she looked at me as if to say “Mama, I am BACK!”. Even if she bumped off the walls like a drunken sailor.

She’s managed to scrape a bunch of skin from her legs as she was dragging herself around, she’s managed to knock herself out twice trying to jump on to the couch and she still wants to dominate Toby a whole lot more than she still can, but each day brings new hope. Each day makes me thankful that my tiny little bundle of brindle muscle who drives me mental six days to of seven is returning, because she is the stubborn little bossy britches in the family.

See? She’s just like me.



Alpha-H Liquid Gold

I think I may be the only person in the world who had never heard of Alpha-H. I blame my friends, I clearly wasn’t socialized properly, or perhaps this is more a wake up call that I need to talk more about things with them. Or maybe Australia is just so far behind the curve that it hasn’t reached us? Either way, I’m glad I now know because this is a product that even in the short time I’ve been using it, enough of a difference has been made that I have had my husband and work mates notice. And I certainly have noticed too – it’s just amazing.

I was a bit perplexed at first why anyone would put acid on their face. I get doing it in a clinical setting, but I also remember when I was a kid and my dad put a nail in a cup of acid and we watched it disintegrate before our eyes – who would want to do that to their face? So I did it to my husband first (just in case). Thankfully, curiosity and the lack of a husband writhing in pain got the better of me and I’m glad it did, because my aesthetic challenge in the morning is now only about channeling the radiance, not hiding the bags and covering the problem areas.

I’ve been reading a lot of reviews on Alpha-H, seeing whether it has drawbacks for problem skin or if it’s just a magic potion designed solely for me, but it seems to be consistently rave reviews across a lot of channels. And the most used word to describe Alpha-H? Radiance (and clarity, I think it means to same thing in the beauty world). The only drawbacks seem to be people whose skin reacts to alcohol. Well, if that were the case my drinking habits would have been in question well before now (yes, I do spill on my face sometimes when I am a little cheery and dancing at the same time – don’t judge) – apparently there are other glycolic acid serums, potions and magic dust for you poor folk (and try not to dance when drinking).

PS – I am loving this whole sample bandwagon because I swear I would NEVER buy a lot of this stuff outright without trying, but I can now say that this will firmly go in my buy bag.

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