Category Archives: Reviews

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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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.


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 ( 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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Garnier – Olia Hair Colour

I was also lucky enough to be on the Olia trial team and received the PR box for this product which was a huge glossy package which deconstructed what it would be like on a shelf. Right off the bat, it was impressive! (See video for more on that)

The colouring system itself is very similar to any other home colour – add the colour to the developer creme, shake and apply. The little twists that I liked was the hole in the box to hold the bottle to stop spilling and the applicator bottle itself has a really long nozzle so you can get right in to the roots.

No ammonia removes the horrid normal colouring smell with a lot of the others. It’s ultra nourishing and there is no tingling or itching while it’s being applied and it sticks without drips, so I could keep doing things while it was colouring.

I may have chosen the wrong colour (Golden Brown) as it didn’t seem to change as the bottle suggested. No-one has noticed the colour of my hair, although I have had a lot of comments on the condition of my hair so in that way it’s a win. I think that I’ll chose two or three shades lighter next time and hope to see a real difference.

In the end, I have had more vibrant colour, but I’ve never had such a conditioning result from a home hair colouring system. It’s easy to use, beautifully packaged and very clean to apply. Choose the right colour and you’ll be glad you did!

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Neutrogena Naturals – Purifying Facial Cleanser

I’ve been using the Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser for about 10 days now (morning and night) but it’s been so drying to my skin that I’ll have to stop. It’s unfortunate, because there are a lot of positives about this product.

The packaging is gorgeous – I was excited to get the Naturals range for it’s pure beauty in the shower – the pump is a little stiff, but eases up after a while.

The smell is heavenly – I think it must be the willow bark (although I’m not sure what willow bark smells like so it could just be the fragrance ingredient) that is so refreshing.

The number of ingredients – often cleansers have up to 20 ingredients, a lot of which are unpronounceable, but this has only 12, of which 10 are naturally derived (and one is water) and all are pronounceable in easy english – a big plus to know what’s going on my face.

The gel formulation was easy to use and it spread to cover what it needed to cover using only a small amount of product. It wasn’t too “chunky” so didn’t need extra water to lather.

However, with all of these good points, the one point that matters to me over all others is how it’s made my skin feel and for that, this product has unfortunately failed. I don’t have problem skin at all, I’m pretty middle-of-the-road, but I think this may work better for very oily skin or perhaps used in hotter weather where the moisture of the air can compensate.

Thanks beautyheaven for the trial, but it’s too drying to buy for myself.

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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