Tag Archives: beauty

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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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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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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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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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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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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