Monthly Archives: September 2013

Cookie Hair

I always have trouble with my 3yo daughter when it comes to her hair. She doesn’t like me wetting it, washing it, brushing it or putting the myriad of gorgeous hair accessories I have bought for her in it. But Saturday night, it was time for the hair washing. To begin, she promised me that her dad washed it yesterday (he’s away), her grandma washed it that morning (she’s away), she washed it during swimming lesson (hasn’t been in a week) and that we washed it which in the bath that morning (no bath).

I could see her trying a new thought “but it’s clean mum, look…” thrusting her hair in my direction, “I don’t need a wash”.

At this point, it can go two ways. She’s either about to burst in to an uncontrolled tantrum (likely) or try and wiggle her way out of my reach to the point where she puts herself in an uncontrollable tantrum. Either way ends with me feeling horrible for forcing shampoo on my daughters head and clearly scarring her for life.  But… not this time.

“Mum, I want the grown up shampoo.” This is new.

“Which one sweetheart?” and I show her three which have been bought for her in the past in the hopes that she will be overwhelmed by calming scent and not dive in to tantrum land.

“No mum, the cookie one.”….. cookie one?

Unbelievably, I pull out my L’Oreal EverCreme (that smells like caramel sauce) and show it to her. “This one?”

“Yep”. And she puts the face washer over her eyes and patiently sits and waits. Could it be this easy? There has to be a trap. What’s going on? Is there a camera? Has her father put her up to this? Am I awake?

Carefully so as not to ruin the moment, I rub the shampoo in to her hair, grabbing all the bits that I often don’t get to in the fight that is hair washing night.

“Mmmmmm……. cookies”. Is this happening?

I lower her hair in to the bath and rinse it out.

“Mum, will my hair smell like cookies now? Like yours does?”

“Absolutely sweetheart and the moment it doesn’t, we’ll put the cookie shampoo back on it, okay?”

“Okay mum”.

So unexpected, and her hair looks (and smells) fantastic!

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Summer Feet

Winter for me means many things, but one of the main reasons I dislike the cold is the havoc it plays with my feet. Cracked heels, a build up of dead skin on my toes and the balls of my feet and I don’t paint my nails or even care for them much – I figure that my feet are constantly covered so why bother?

But when the first rays of spring poke their head out from the sky and the blossoms magically appear on the trees lining the streets, I stop and wonder… what am I going to do with my feet? How do I go to try on the latest summer styles of shoes without giving much needed attention to the neglected ends of my legs (let alone the legs themselves) and really – how long will it be before I can wear open toes? I have a bunch in my wardrobe and it’s a shame not to let them out of their cold-weather dungeon.

Each year I try a new magic thing – the product or treatment that will do it all! And each year it takes me longer than I anticipated and I end up with decent feet, but not magnificent feet. Some years I leave it so long it turns back to winter again and I leave them for the next year (ew). But not this year! I have taken matters in to my own hands and am trying the Scholl Velvet Smooth Pedi which is a battery powered version of the regular manual pumice stones or pedi equipment. For those of you tool inclined folk (don’t get me started on my love for Bunnings or tools), it’s like a low powered Dremel. For those of you who get your nails manicured, it’s like a big version of the mini mechanical nail file that they use to get the shellac off. For everyone else, it’s a rotating circular piece of sandpaper that looks a bit like a vegetable peeler.

So to the challenge- I need gorgeous, magnificent, expensive strappy shoe wearing feet. My reward? Expensive strappy shoes of course! Here are the before photos…..

 

My first few goes worked really well, the feet are softening and looking better and I can feel that they aren’t grabbing at my stockings as much (yes, still stocking weather – boo). Photos after a weeks worth of treatment show that my house is filthy and that it’s working!
I still have a few weeks of filing and scrubbing before I can reward myself – I’m thinking the end of October to really ensure that this will be my best foot summer yet! I think I’ll also need to try out some moisturising / foot products to see if they make any noticeable difference of which I have a few in my arsenal.
Plus obviously I’ll need to narrow the shoe choice – so much to do! Do you have any tips for me? Any ideas on ways to make my tootsies perfect is highly welcome!
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Shoe Hack

Without resorting to buying new shoes, I’ve been wanting to update my shoe wardrobe so have been stalking sites like Brit & Co, Pinterest and DDG Daily for ideas and last night, I put the first one to the test. Chevron nail polish hand drawn soles for my regular black work heels. The polish I used was a nail art pen as I didn’t quite trust myself with a regular brush to get easy lines (and was too lazy to grip up a template) and the results are pretty impressive. I mean, impressive for a first go and all. (ignore the mud and dirt, I know I need to polish my shoes!)

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It’s now official – I have the hack bug. Clearly this needs to be taken up a notch. I’m thinking glitter, mini paintings and possibly something textural like a material. This will obviously translate to decorating the front of my shoes too – think brightly designed toms or possibly glitter edging some heels or even switching out laces for something far more glamorous.

Any ideas?

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September Hauls

I’ve had a great month with regard to hauls – firstly because I changed jobs, but also because I’ve gotten a few products for review which is always a thrill when going to the mailbox.

Early September

In my final week at my “old” job, I took a lunchtime to spoil myself and decided to do that at Daiso. In case you aren’t aware, Daiso is a huge store which stocks Japanese made products (beauty, food, home wares, toys, stationery) and every single item in the store costs $2.80. It’s the most amazing place to stock up for a party, grab something small for the house or really get bang for your buck on gifts. This time I was a bit pressed for time so didn’t do every aisle, but I managed to pop in my basket…

Border Tape x 2 – rolls of patterned, coloured paper that can be used to create a scene or put a border on cards. My daughter uses it for craft.

New glasses – I don’t wear glasses with prescription, but I do have a growing collection of plain glass glasses to give me some cred. It’s a little bit odd, but I do love wearing them for meetings. It gives my hands something to do and frames my vision which makes me focus on what is before me.

Engrish Notes x 2 – Daiso have a huge collection of little note cards with hysterical translations of what I am sure are heartfelt messages. I use them as gift cards and my daughter loves giving notes to her friends on them too – much cheaper than a $1 gift tag or a $6-7 regular card each time.

Mini breakfast tray – My daughter has taken to having food “brought” to her either while playing at her table, on the couch or even in bed if we are having an especially decadent morning. The tray we currently have is adult sized and unweildy, so this smaller (pink) version gives her one all her own!

Floral Wrapping Paper – You can’t go past these gorgeous designs and even though you don’t get a lot of paper, I use this for crafts and smaller gifts. Such gorgeous colours.

Not from Daiso!

“The In Between” by Jeff Goins – a follow up to his successful “Wrecked”. I got on to Jeff Goins after hearing him speak in the TeD Radio Hour podcast and realising that the library didn’t stock his catalogue. This one is from bookdepository.co.uk (the best online book retailer hands down)

Fancy Sunglasses – My husband was in the market for new glasses and we found a great site that had the frames he was quoted $540 in the Optometrist (not including lenses), for $220 which included the lenses and they give a free pair of glasses to an impoverished person. Score! So of course I had to get myself some sunglasses to celebrate! These are Tory Birch and come with a cleaning kit and a gorgeous cover which just so happens to match my purse perfectly!

On my final day at my “old” job I was also treated twice to lunches – once at the new fancy China Bar and the other to dim sum. Yes – asian food is my kryptonite, I can’t help it. So aside from that, the lovely girls there spoiled me with parting gifts from Kikki K and Aesop.

Kikki K Red Leather Notepad compendium with matching pen, bulldog clips and notepad cube – which has become completely invaluable in jotting down my notes for my new job.

(not shown) Kikki K 2014 Desk Calendar – so that I can keep up to date with the important things, like lunches to catch up with what’s going on.

Aesop JetSet pack – Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash and Body Balm. This was the only set I took on holiday with me and I smelled and felt amazing – Aesop really know hoe to do products well.

And when I got home on my final day, I had waiting for me my L’Oreal pack which included a bunch of samples and some full sized product to review, as well as the book “Longbourn” which I won by writing a short story about Pride & Prejudice for Random House.

So my first week of September which was also my last week at my old job was pretty good haul-wise, wouldn’t you say?

Mid September

After Queensland, I came home to a couple of lovely packages (I won’t bore you with what I bought in Queensland – suffice to say I overloaded on summer clothes and a new azure coloured handbag for work) from Beauty Heaven and my Lip Factory September Box!

Neutrogena Beach Defence Sunscreen- a product to review for Beauty Heaven once there is sun (could have used it in Queensland!).

Scholl Velvet Smooth Express Pedi – another review product from Beauty Heaven which my husband actually opened and he and my daughter played with before I got a look in to it! It’s essentially a rotating sandpaper for dead skin on the feet which I think of as the beauty worlds answer to a Dremel (man tool for sanding small areas among other things). Double thumbs up for this one, my feet are thanking me!

Lip factory Box – a pretty good month for Lip factory with the theme “Define Your Beauty”. Received two LA Fresh waterproof makeup remover wipes, a pencil sharpener which fits the big and small pencils, a bombshell lustre lip gloss in a copper colour (goes on sticky but covers beautifully), a Bombshell liquid eyeliner in Amethyst which I tried on my hand and it stayed there without budging for two days!, a Model Co neutral lip gloss which is extra glossy and has a mirror built in for application, a Big Eye pencil in dark brown which is creamy and so easy to work with and finally, 50 sheets of Green Tea blotting paper from Absolute. Totally worth the investment every month.

So that should keep me busy for a while!

And a reminder, if you haven’t entered my competition for a $50 Priceline voucher yet, there is still a week to go! See here for details.

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Still Worth It.

I’ve had my first week at my new job and it’s been really interesting. I’ve come from a huge global company where I’m considering the needs of 50 countries and planning for global uptake of my training courses, to a small engineering education company that has an Australia only market (looking to expand) and is really happy to get funky and lose the corporate feel. It’s so refreshing!

Add to this a week of my 3yo daughter being niggly and getting upset when she doesn’t like her shoes, or doesn’t want the shoes she has chosen to touch the ground (simple to figure out, right?), a husband who’s been away more nights than he’s home and atrociously cold weather after my week in Queensland and do you know what? I’m happy still. New beginnings trump everything. It’s like hitting a reset button and my cup is full for a while and I’m hoping it doesn’t get empty again because it is a b*tch to fill up.

Another bonus for my week? My hair. It’s now three washed in, and the L’Oreal EverCreme is holding up it’s end of the bargain. I’m still amazed and thrilled with the scent – seriously, it’s gorgeous caramel and even though I feel like I’m in a bakery, it’s also a really calming scent that is just… there. It also hasn’t become heavy and oily like a lot of other products I’ve tried even though each time I’ve washed, I’ve also conditioned. Believe me, this is a big deal as there’s nothing that brings down my day like stringy oily hair.

I’ve also been doing a little bit of research in my huge (!) downtime and did you know that L’Oreal are the same company that owns Garnier, Maybelline, Kerastase, Redken, Matrix, Lancome, Biotherm, Kiehls, Shu Uemura, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Caharel, Diesel, Viktor & Rolf, YSL Beauty and the Body Shop? I have seven of my all time favorite products represented here (which is possibly because they own half the beauty world) and I’m really amazed that so many awesome brands are all tied together, and they have their Australian headquarters in Melbourne on St Kilda Road…. guess where my next job just might be? Can you imagine how glorious my hair, skin and nails would be with access to the L’Oreal et al range?

And as a final thought – nine days left before the Priceline $50 voucher competition ends – have you entered yet? I don’t have any samples left sorry, the girls in my new office are sporting fabulous hair this week (and it always helps to get in on the first day with presents!) but I have sent to everyone who has contacted me, your samples should be with you shortly.

Have a great weekend everyone, I hope your hair is fabulous and the sun shines. Either that or I hope you watch a Ryan Gosling movie and realise that you can always see beauty in the world….

You’re welcome.

L’Oreal Trial – Wash One

I’ve been on holidays in the sunshine for a week which, if you have been living in Victoria over winter, you’ll know how sorely needed it was. I finished one job and had a week of unemployment before beginning another, so high-tailed myself and the family to the Queensland coast, staying at a gorgeous apartment in Burleigh Heads.

We spent the week in the apartment pool, wandering the gorgeous coastline, trialling the different playgrounds, shopping, eating, drinking and spending my down time together. My husband’s brother and his family also live close to the Gold Coast so we spent some time re-connecting and the two girls spent a lot of time in imaginative play and dress up concerts, which is always a joy to see.

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On my return, I’ve finally begun my L’Oreal trial using the new “Hair Expertise” EverCrème Sulphate Free Moisture System (fancy way of saying new shampoo and conditioner) and will be using only the L’Oreal set for the next three weeks. I’m not going to use anything else on my hair – no styling products, just eau natural to give the new line a chance to work.

L’Oreal Claims and My Initial Thoughts.

Sulphate Free. (My inner grammar police spells with a “ph” but L’Oreal have gone with the American “Sulfate”, apparently both perfectly acceptable). What Are Sulphates? Sulphates are cleaning agents, the kind that you clean your sink with, so for the most part, they are effective on your hair, but not particularly kind to it, so the removal of sulphates is a good thing. It also is much better for people who have allergic reactions, psoriasis, or just a sensitive scalp area. Sulphates have been linked to excessive hair loss and slow hair growth, so with any luck, using the new system will leave me with a fuller head of hair which grows faster – win!

“Boosted” Omega 3 & 6. The inclusion of these essential fatty acids in the L’Oreal products promotes hair strength, elasticity, moisture retention and hair growth, which can only be good, but from what I can tell, these fatty acids are usually meant to be ingested rather than just rubbed on your head. The down side? They are fats, so overuse can possibly make the hair oily which has been a problem when I have a busy week and don’t get to wash my hair as often as I would like. I tend to run my hands through my hair a lot too as I’m growing my fringe and it doesn’t quite tuck behind my ear yet.

Infusing Moisture Without Weighing It Down. I can’t count the number of shampoos and conditioners I’ve been through which claim this, some with sulphates, some with silicone, some which claim to be cleansing shampoos. I guess that any shampoo and/or conditioner is going to coat your hair, so how that equates to not weighing my hair down has always been a mystery to me.

My First Wash.

I have to say, I’m impressed. The packaging is top notch, although the same shaped bottles for both shampoo and conditioner make me squint a bit in the shower to know what I’m using. I’ve solved this by removing the sticker on the conditioner bottle, but I think I have been given a pre-release package so this may not be available to those bought from shops. The shampoo is a gorgeous golden pearl colour and nice and thick. Initially, I thought the scent was cocoa butter, but after reading the ingredient list, it’s definitely caramel I smell. A sweet, luscious caramel. Makes me want a cookie.

The shampoo lathers well, the conditioner goes a long way when coating the hair, and they are easy to both work through the hair and rinse out (no residual product left). The sweet scent also stayed with my hair after a blow dry and straighten which was nice.

The claims of boosted hydration without weight so far hold water, my hair is light and two days after the wash, still not weighed down with excess oils and styling well. I’m planning on washing two or three times per week for a three week trial so if I still have no build up by the end of that time frame I will be highly impressed!

Want a Sample or a Prize?

I have a few sample packs left of the L’Oreal products, so if you do want to give it a try, send me your postal details (redsage@me.com) and I’ll get them out to you shortly. L’Oreal have also sponsored a little giveaway for Priceline lovers (is it just me or is Priceline a piece of heaven?) – see here for details and a chance to win a $50 voucher. Competition guidelines and rules available here.

If you have received a sample, I’d love to know what you think of the new products!

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I’m Worth It!

A fun little project for me this week – L’Oreal Paris (Australia) have provided a small prize to give out and it’s a great one – a $50 Priceline voucher which the winner can use on anything at Priceline (valid 6 months, although I doubt it will last that long!)

loreal hair expertise

The competition is pretty simple – just like red sage and L’Oreal on Facebook and follow me on Bloglovin’ – all the details and entries available here. Fine print for competition is available to read here.

The reason L’Oreal are being so generous is that they are launching their new range of Hair Expertise products which claim a double bonus – one of preserving colour, strengthening or smoothing, and the other to moisturise, smooth, add volume, tame or repair. It’s also sulphate free with natural botanical extracts, so hair is left conditioned and smelling fantastic.

L’Oreal have kindly sent me some to try and some samples of their range, so if anyone would like me to send them a sample  (Australia only, sorry!) then please let me know in the comments below. I only have limited stock, but you are all worth it! (too cheesy?)

Over the coming couple of weeks, I’ll be blogging about my thoughts on the new L’Oreal range and while the product has been given for consideration, the consideration and thoughts will be all my own. And possibly my husband – I often try things on him too.

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Late August Swag

I have this thing. I love getting parcels in the mail.

My name is Sarah and I’m an online shop-a-holic. I also enter a lot of competitions and get lots of samples. And I send a lot of them to my office so my husband doesn’t see.

So I’ve decided to start photographing things that I buy / get on a regular basis. Some days I’m overcome with abundance and the joy of packages and I look forward to sharing them with you all. So… for the last day of August, this is what came to me.

Late August Swag 2

A bit of history – I do a lot of reviews and spend a lot of my time on Beauty Heaven – it’s an amazing community of beauty-minded ladies and the information, reviews and advice are second to none. It helps that they are Australian so that the products they talk about are available to me and  think all of us are Priceline-obsessed. As an active member, I do a bunch of reviews on products I try when  have an opinion to give. A few weeks ago,  won a Bomb Cosmetics “Hanami” gift pack which was amazing, but unfortunately seemed to have no smell when I tried using it, and I said so in my review, giving the products only two stars overall.

A couple of days later, I got an e-mail from Beautyheaven that the company who sell Bomb in Australia (Get Drenched) wanted to send me more product so that they could try to change my mind. Mission, accomplished! Paul from Get Drenched and I went back and forth with emails to determine best scents and whatnot, then he quickly sent me a four piece kit including a Queen of Lemon Tarts candle, a Tangerine Queen Bath Creamer, and Urban Rose Bath Mallow and a Skin Therapy Hanging Shower Butter. Divine, and packaged so beautifully, he’s certainly changed my mind on Bomb!

On the same day, I also took home

Late August Swag 1

Food for Health Kids Snack Packs in Chocolate Banana and Strawberry Yogurt. I was quite excited by these, giving my daughter something that felt like lollies (called treaties in our house) but it fell flat, she didn’t like them and after I tried them, I had to agree. They taste like health food disguised, like avocado ice cream or carob. I got these from a Facebook competition the were running.

Madame Flavour Green Jasmine & Pear Tea Sample – this came in a Frankie magazine a friend gave me. I’ve had a couple of Madame Flavours before and as with the others, it wasn’t hugely flavourful. The green and Jasmine were lovely, but there really was no pear overtones which I was looking forward to.

Garnier BB Cream from Coles – the Coles blog was a recent find of mine and they were running a competition for the Garnier BB Cream. Lucky this turned up,  was about to run out! Garnier BB Cream (light) is my holy grail of daily products.

Aveeno Daily Moisturising Cream – a sample sachet from pinchme. I don’t much like sample sachets, I try and steer clear of them where I can because they never give me enough product to form an opinion, and I love having an opinion! It’s a large sachet so if t can do a couple of applications, I’ll be happy.

What Maisie Knew Double Pass – a competition win from the Mindfood magazine which if you don’t read, I highly recommend you start. It’s a magazine that comes from New Zealand and it’s lifestyle and interesting, properly written content. I think this movie will be a complete tear jerker… I may need to take my husband and a box of tissues.

So all in all, a pretty good haul for a single day, I felt very special! I’m also looking forward to quite a few things I have on order which I’m hoping come in this week as I’m off to sunny Queensland for a week on Saturday. What about you? Are you waiting for something amazing in the post?

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