Thursday, November 26, 2015

Top 7 Beauty Purchase Regrets!

I think we've all bought things that seemed like a good idea at the time, only for it to become abundantly clear later on that it was, in fact, a rather shit idea. Sometimes, I even know it's a shit idea at the time I'm buying it, but my brain is still egging me on, insisting I MUST HAVE IT. Make yourself a coffee, sit back, relax and enjoy the gloriously bad decisions I've made, with my Top 7 Beauty Purchases Regrets!

Looks good in the tube...

7. Australis Velourlips Matte Lip Cream in Hon-O-Loo-Loo
When Australis first released this collection of matte creams I was so excited. I think we all were! Don't get me wrong, some of the shades are lovely. Just not this one, on me. I swatched this on my arm in Priceline and it looked so pretty I immediately fell in love and knew it had to be mine. Of course I completely forgot my arm and my lips are two vastly different colours and just because the arm swatch looked good didn't mean this would translate to my face. Hon-o-loo-loo is way too light and impressively manages to make my lips disappear into my face whilst simultaneously making my teeth appear yellow. Sexy! Hey, at least it's a multi-tasker.

6. Ulta3 Nail Colour in Honolulu
OMG, Honolulu again! How freaky is that? OK, so as much as I love Ulta3 for its cheap as chips rainbow of nail polish colours, the fact still remains, this is yellow nail polish. I have never worn this and I probably never will. Why did I buy this? Do I not know myself at all? Was I having an identity crisis that day? Did I have a particular nail art idea in mind? Had I been watching too much Sesame Street (damn you, Big Bird!)? I mean it's not even a pale lemon or pastel yellow, for shit's sake. It's..... well, it's Honolulu, and it's hideous.

What an extravagant cock ring!

5. Giant Hair Donut
I don't even know what brand this is, or its proper name (probably because I ripped the packaging off in an excited frenzy to try out my new hair bun maker, lolol *cries*), but it's huge. And therein lies the problem. I do not have huge amounts of thick hair. My hair is fine, and so damn fine (hey, girlfriend!) that it's a massive struggle to wrap it around this bastard contraption ensuring it's all covered. I used this once, and I remember spending ages poofing my hair around this 'donut' until my ugly bun covered up all the stupid sponge. Then I took countless photos, ripped it out, threw it to the back of the cupboard and went to my room to sulk. LOL.

What a stunning bottle though!

4. Lolita Lempicka Eau De Parfum
Oh My God, the bottle is so cute! It's shaped like an apple and has gold accents and the spray button looks like an apple stem and I have to have it! And so I did. I ordered it online, without even smelling it first. I'm not joking. This is the power of gorgeous packaging/bottle design, people. I am not proud of this impulse purchase. Turns out the scent of Lolita Lempicka gives me a huge motherflipping headache, so I can't actually wear it. At least it looks pretty. High Fives all round!

Yeah right!
Put this on the front of your packet, Lip Rock!

3. Lip Rock Metallic Lip Foils
I won't lie, the idea of having metallic gold lips excited me. The 'Reduced To Clear, Was $5.50, Now $2.00' sticker did not raise any red flags whatsoever, instead cementing the decision to purchase in my head. This was happening, goddamnit! You'll be shocked to know, my lips looked nothing like the perfect, shiny gold plump kissers on the packet. These were a bitch to apply, came out uneven, didn't adhere to my lips properly and weren't even gold. I chose my blurriest photo then filtered the crap out of it before posting it to Instagram, that's how bad it looked. #truthbomb

Seems sensible

2. Lime Crime Lipstick in No She Didn't
Yes, she fucking did! Hehe. And she regretted it almost immediately. Because it's blue lipstick. It's blue (like the nail polish was yellow); you just can't get around the fact. But more astonishing is knowing that that's the reason I wanted to buy this in the first place. I wanted blue lips! I'm an introvert, so it's not as if I'm ever wearing this outside the house. I have to work up the courage to wear Airborne Unicorn out, FFS. And no, I don't do the Zombie Walk or go to Fancy Dress parties ever. I have absolutely no use for this, besides slicking it on so my family can point at me and laugh.

1. BYS Eyeshadow in Limited Edition NEONS
Wow. Take a look at this thing! Soak up those fluorescent shades with your now-damaged vision. Marvel that the designer behind this palette had their super-fun novelty hues approved. What lovely, flattering, wearable colours, said noone ever. This jarringly hideous neon eye palette literally makes my eyeballs vomit. I can only imagine I was feeling nostalgic when I saw this, because I do love the '80s. More the movies and music than the makeup, but still. I like that BYS made this a Limited Edition, and yet I hope that I didn't get this thinking 'ooh, only available for a limited time, better grab one before they sell out!'. Because I'm pretty sure I'm the only idiot who actually bought one. Are you jealous?

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I'm linking up to the Fabulous And Fun Life Monday Makeup Madness Linky Party!

What's your biggest beauty purchase regret?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Summer Essentials!

Summer is well and truly coming! Although if you live in Australia, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was already here. We've been having some scorchers lately, so obviously Spring is having an identity crisis. With real Summer only a week away, it's time to start thinking about the essential items you'll need. We all know the Aussie Summer is hardcore, so to be SunSmart we should Slip, Slop, Slap! Can you believe this campaign from the Cancer Council Australia first began in 1981? It's now been updated to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide:

  • Slip on a shirt
  • Slop on sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Seek shade or shelter
  • Slide on sunglasses

Whether you're a beach bum or not, Summer is the perfect excuse time to update the wardrobe and add a few new pieces. If you're looking for inspiration, check out the Boohoo Holiday Shop for funky options at affordable prices. Plus, it's a known fact that the onset of hot weather means buying pretty pink lip products and a rainbow of pastel-coloured nail polishes is completely justified! Because Summer. Speaking on Summer, check out my Summer Essentials below!

Caprice Printed Woven Shift Dress* from Boohoo
Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter
Dermalogica Ultra Sensitive Tint SPF 30
Physicians Formula Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil Bronzer
Ulta3 Nail Colour in Party Shoes
Ulta3 Nail Colour in Mojito
Lanolips Banana Balm
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
Memoir Beaded Wrist Bracelet in Rose Gold from Mimco
Turquoise & Gold Ring from Lovisa
Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm in Ingenue

Imogen Oversized Sunglasses* from Boohoo
Mossimo cap
Who Magazine
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Sugar Fix
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Pinky Promise
Jergens Natural Glow 3 Days To Glow Moisturizer
Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray
Chase Adventure Premium 2016 Diary from Typo
Models Prefer Moisture Lust Glossy Lip Tint in Best of Britain
Face of Australia Sheer Gloss Lip Crayon in Macaron

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Disclaimer: *Caprice Shift Dress and *Imogen Sunglasses were provided for editorial consideration. This is a non-sponsored post and doesn't contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. For more information, see the Disclosure page.

What are your Summer Essentials?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mani Monday: Rimmel Rita Ora Bestival Blue!

No wonder this blue mani brought on a serious case of deja vu! How similar is it to Essie Bikini So Teeny, which I blogged last month? Seems I have a thing for pastel blue. This polish is from the Rimmel 60 Seconds Super Shine Rita Ora collection, which is apparently '3-in-1 nail technology'; it includes a self-adapting base coat, polish and protective top coat all in the one formula. Hey, I just liked the colour and the pretty daisies on the bottle handle. This is two coats of Bestival Blue and one coat of Sally Hansen Miracle Gel 2X Volume Top Coat*.

There are eleven gorgeous shades in the Rita Ora collection, and you can click here to see nine of them in a beautiful swatch post on Mllelisaloves blog. The colours are just so pretty, I definitely want to add to my collection!

I'm linking up to Monday Makeup Madness at Fabulous And Fun Life!

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Disclaimer: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel 2X Volume Top Coat was provided for editorial consideration. All opinions are my own. Please refer to the Disclosure page for further information.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: 2015 Credit Union Christmas Pageant!

Last Saturday, we took Mr 8 to his first ever Credit Union Christmas Pageant. He's never expressed a desire to go before, and he still didn't this year, but I wanted him to experience it at least once. We stayed at the Mantra Hindmarsh Square Friday and Saturday nights, the perfect location as it was right along the Pageant route. I looked out of our hotel window at 5:48am Saturday morning and there were already people filling up the front row! Hardcore! We got down there about 7:30am and still managed to score a good position. I thought waiting two hours for the festivities to begin would suck, but Zach loved drawing on the road with chalk (an annual tradition, apparently), there was a park to play in a few steps away and anytime we needed to do a wee, the hotel room was one minute away!

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Skincare Routine Update!

I haven't done a Skincare Update post in quite a while, so what better time than the present? Experiencing an extended period of shitty breakouts a few months ago really made me re-assess my skincare routine (or lack thereof!). After switching up a few products and sticking to a morning and nightly skincare routine, my skin is clear and looking pretty healthy on the whole. I'm not going to lie, I am using a lot of different products right now (partly because I'm trying to use up my samples). Most of them are geared towards either clearing and preventing breakouts or anti-aging, as those are my two main concerns. Here's what I'm slapping on every day....

I use Lush Ultrabland Cleanser (see my review herewhen I don't have any spots. It leaves my skin feeling plumped out and super-soft. The thick, oily texture means I have to remove it with a washcloth, but it's totally worth the extra effort. When my skin's playing up, I cleanse with Paula's Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser (Blemish-Prone Skin) which is an amazing gel that clears my breakouts up fast. I would highly recommend this cleanser if you have problem skin.

Again, I alternate between two products when it comes to Toner. My old favourite is TN Dickinson's WitchHazel which I love for the super-cheap price (around $6) and its ability to minimise my pores and clear my skin. I also use, albeit less frequently, The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner. Anyone else love the smell of tea tree, or is it just me? Confession time! When I can't be stuffed cleansing before bed, I actually use one of these toners to remove my makeup. Hey, it hasn't killed me yet!

I've pretty much switched from gritty to liquid exfoliants now. The two products I'm using are Alpha-H Liquid Gold and Paula's Choice Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment (with 2% BHA) both of which are pretty potent, so I only use them every two to three days. I like keeping my skin on its toes by using Liquid Gold before bed, then in a few days I'll use the Paula's Choice exfoliant, and so on and so forth. Although Liquid Gold isn't classified as an exfoliant (it's marketed more as an acid toner), that's the way I see it. It's actually a treatment containing Glycolic Acid and licorice that firms, revitalises and boosts radiance. The Glycolic extract does exfoliate, but I really appreciate the multitude of skin concerns Liquid Gold addresses. When a product reduces fine lines, tightens my skin, makes it glow, reduces pigmentation, smooths, clears and makes me look younger, I will keep using it.

So many eye creams (mainly samples)! I love trying lots of eye creams, even though I know my Holy Grail is La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Lift, a true miracle worker. I've not featured it here because I only use it for special occasions; I have a tiny amount left in a sample tube and the full version costs $380 for 20ml. I just can't bring myself to buy it yet. I've been using La Prairie Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex instead, which has a watery consistency and is still effective. I've also been enjoying Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Eye Cream and Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar Eye, both of these do work well. FreezeFrame Revitaleyes (which I wrote about in Five Fabulous Faves) has also been improving my under-eye area, and once a week I use Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisture Cream (not pictured) under my eyes for an added moisture boost.

I am loving facial serums at the moment! I'm using a number of different products, basically just depending on how I'm feeling that day. And again, I'm working my way through the various samples I've accumulated. La Prairie is a favourite brand of mine (why do they have to be so expensive, though?!) and the La Prairie Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster is great. Their products work so well. Since hubby bought me the Elizabeth Arden GWP a few months ago (blogged about here) I'm falling more in love with this brand. I'm really enjoying the Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Daily Serum, with the Flawless Future Powered By Ceramide Caplet Serum a close runner-up.

Every morning I pop on Elizabeth Arden Skin Illuminating Firm and Reflect Moisturizer half an hour before applying my makeup, as it needs that amount of time to properly absorb. I love the way this makes my skin look as it really does give my face a firmer appearance. Nightly, I use Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered By Ceramide Night Cream, another winner in my book. About twice per week I'll use Alpha-H Liquid Gold Rejuvenating Cream before bed instead, but not on a night where I've used Liquid Gold itself, as it might be a bit much for my skin. This cream is pretty sticky and I wouldn't even attempt to use it under makeup!

My go-to for any spots is Paula's Choice Clear Daily Skin Clearing Treatment, which I bought as part of the Clear Extra Strength Kit. This range is amazing and completely cleared up my persistent breakouts. I rarely need to use this anymore, but I like knowing I have it on hand, just in case. If you're interested in purchasing from Paula's Choice, you can use my link to get $15 off your first order, and I'll get $15 credited to my account!

I'm not really using Face Masks at the moment, because I don't love any of the ones I have. However I have found a few sample sachets and once-off masks in my stash (hello SK-II Facial Treatment Mask) so I might bring back Pamper Sunday!

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Disclaimer: All products were purchased by me, my husband or were free samples I got instore or with online orders. All opinions are my own. Using my Paula's Choice link means you get $15 off your first order and I get $15 credited to my account.

I'm linking up to Fabulous and Fun Life's Monday Makeup Madness Linky Party!

What's your favourite skincare brand or product?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel 2X Volume Top Coat*

Exciting news for fans of Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail colours: the special top coat that seals and protects the polish has been redeveloped and improved to give twice the volume and shine! Miracle Gel 2X Volume Top Coat has been released, and I was generously sent a Duo Pack*, which includes Up The Ante, to try.

If you missed the whole Miracle Gel boat, here's the skinny. Basically it's a range from Sally Hansen that claims to provide you with a salon-calibre at-home gel manicure, without having to use light lamps to set the polish. Instead, the special top coat seals everything in and activates the curing, and natural light does the rest. The brand claims you can get up to 14 days of gel colour, so it's supposed to be long-lasting, just like a salon gel mani.

Although I never get close to 14 days without chipping at the edges, I was still eager to trial this new version, because a volumising top coat not only sounds intriguing, but also a bit out there! In hindsight, I should have used my original Miracle Gel Top Coat on one hand and the new 2X Volume one on the other for direct comparison, but I didn't think of it until afterwards. D'oh!

I am loving the pretty shade Up The Ante. It's a medium-toned plum that's perfect for Spring. And in fact, it's one of six Spring/Summer shades that have been released in Limited Edition Duo Packs, the others being coral, teal, blue, watermelon and spearmint hues. I love the sound of every one of these, they are right up my alley!

Up The Ante was very easy to apply, thanks mostly to the fairly wide, flat application brush. The new 2X volume top coat is quite gel-like, meaning it's not as runny as the coloured polishes. I found that the brush picks up a lot of product, so you really have to ensure you wipe the excess off against the inner neck rim of the bottle, otherwise you just get far too much on your nail. Other than that, this was a fast, easy application. I applied two coats of Up The Ante and one of the Top Coat. As you can see, the result is a super-glossy finish. I'm very impressed by the shine factor and would agree with Sally Hansen's 2X volume claim. However for me, this lost its impact over the next few days. My nails lost their glossy WOW factor, and what started off as a super-professional looking mani began to look, well, still good, but just not as fantastic. I also started to get minor chipping on four out of ten nails on Day 2. I really do use my hands a lot, and I am used to my manicures chipping early. Still, I was hoping it might last a bit longer.

Overall, I love Up The Ante, it's such a pretty shade of purple. I'd also give the Miracle Gel 2X Volume Top Coat a glossy thumbs up based on the stunning shine, wow factor and professional-looking finish. My only criticism is the early chipping I experienced. This happens to me across the board, with every nail polish I wear, so it's not specific to this product, although given it's a gel it should be lasting longer than normal polishes. Clearly I'm using my hands too much, and will cease all housework immediately :D

Limited Edition Duo packs containing a Spring/Summer shade and a 2X Volume Top Coat are $19.95, and can be bought from Priceline, Target, Chemist Warehouse, Terry White Chemists and independent chemists. Look out for sales and specials to get it cheaper!

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*Disclaimer: This product was provided for editorial consideration. All opinions are my own. Please see the Disclosure page for further information.

What's your favourite nail polish shade for Spring?

Friday, November 6, 2015

FFS Friday: The Week From Hell

Oh hi. The is my first ever FFS Friday post. After living through The Week From Hell and not being able to blog since Monday, I thought if ever I had enough material for a FFS Friday post, it's this week. Here we go.

Last Wednesday I had to have a Biopsy on my right boob to see if what they found in there was cancer. I was supposed to call the Doctor at the Breast Unit 10am Monday morning to get the results. I was told he would know I was calling then and would have my results with him to discuss with me. I rang but he wasn't available. FFS

I left a message and was told he would ring me back that morning. He didn't. FFS

I stressed all fucking day not knowing if I had cancer, then rang back late afternoon. He still wasn't available. I was told he would ring me back that day and don't be surprised if I got a call at 6pm as sometimes he does that. He still didn't call me. FFS

Guess what? No fucking phone call Tuesday either. Wasn't that Melbourne Cup Day? He was probably watching the race instead. Maybe he was busy working, but still. Have some fucking consideration and make the time to call someone to let them know if they are dying or not. FFS

By this stage I was an emotional wreck. I was stressed, annoyed, frustrated, angry, depressed and worried. At the same time I started getting a huge pain in my right calf muscle, for no discernible reason. FFS.

On Wednesday, hubby was home sick. I reached breaking point and had a bit of a meltdown. The husband rang the Breast Unit on my behalf for the results and was told the Doctor will ring me that day. Not FFS

I shit you not, within 5 minutes the Doctor called me. What a fucking surprise. The mammogram and biopsy both came back benign although they can never be sure with the biopsy. I won't go into the details, but the end result is I have to go back for a mammogram in 6 months to check on it again. Not FFS.

On Wednesday the pain from my calf had moved up to my thigh area. At some stages of the day it hurt pretty badly. Then it started hurting in my arse area. LOL. I CBF looking up the medical name for it. FFS

I wanted to get a couple of blog posts done this week but couldn't because I was so fucking stressed and not in a good place mentally. Which means now I'll be even busier trying to get shit done, especially reviews for brands/PR I'm working with. I will get everything done on time, it just won't be as relaxed as I expected. FFS

Earlier in the week, the guy assigned to replace our linenpress that was badly damaged from a bathroom water leak asked if he could start working here Thursday 8am. I suggested Monday instead as I had an appointment Thursday and Jim's Mowing was coming Friday. He agreed. Not FFS

I had a Doctors appointment Thursday morning for my Pap Smear results. YAY! Let's talk about those results first. Because of course they were fucking inconclusive. Not enough readable cells. So that means I suffered through my last pap smear for nothing. FFS

I have to get another pap smear done in 3 months. FFS

I told the Doctor about my leg pain and she pushed and prodded and asked questions, and then she was concerned it may have been Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). FFS

This is a fucking serious condition as the blood has clotted and if it dislodges and travels to your lungs it can kill you. FFS

I had to have an urgent ultrasound on my leg that day. In a suburb I can't drive to. FFS

I couldn't reach my Dad who lives 10 minutes away from the Doctor Surgery I was at, so I rang for a Taxi instead. I'd have to leave my car at the Doctors. Thankfully Dad called me back while I was on the phone to the Taxi, in queue. Not FFS.

I went and had my ultrasound and blood test done and thankfully it wasn't DVT. Not FFS

I finally got a bit of grocery shopping done. I thought after avoiding death twice this week I might actually cook dinner for hubby. I had been too stressed all week and had been letting him get his own dinner every night. I had still been making my sons dinner nightly because he's 8 and can't really do it himself yet. So I planned to cook dinner but by that stage hubby was so used to fending for himself he had already eaten in town after work. LOL. FFS

Now when hubby leaves for work in the morning he says "try to not die today, OK?" LOL. Not FFS

This morning we walked to school as usual, but in the rush, I forgot to bring the class teddy bear and journal that was due back. I couldn't bring it in at school pick up as my son wouldn't have been able to share his story with the class and choose the next student to take the bear home over the weekend. So I had to walk home, grab the bag with the bear in it and walk all the way back to school. In the rain. Also, this aggravated the pain in my leg and by the time I'd finished two return trips, my leg was really fucking sore. FFS.


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Monday, November 2, 2015

November Goals!

Look, it's the Organic Coconut Chips from the Native Box sprinkled on top!

Look how well I did with my October Goals! It was a struggle to write 10 blog posts and I still haven't bought new clothes, but overall, a successful month!

  • Publish at least 10 blog posts ~ YES!
  • Remove makeup and stick to a strict skincare routine every night ~ YES!
  • De-clutter emails by unsubscribing from as many unnecessary email lists as possible ~ YES!
  • Go out for a walk every weekday for at least 30 minutes ~ NO :(
  • Empty and clean the second Linenpress ~ YES! Finally completed on 25 October!
  • Finally set my overdue Doctor's appointment for a Pap Smear and just get it over with ~ YES. Suffered through it on 22 October.
  • Bake a Banana Cake and make Cream Cheese Icing for it! ~ YES! See the above photo
  • First-time watch 5 movies! ~ YES! (watched Pixels, Minions, Jupiter Ascending, The Way Way Back, Interstellar. Check out my review post here: Max My Movies - October Wrap-Up!)
  • Go through boxes and throw out as much rubbish as possible ~ YES
  • Buy new clothes! ~ Still NO :(

I achieved 8/10 of my October Goals! It really was the month for getting stuff done, and I hope to continue that trend with my November Goals. I still can't manage to exercise daily (apart from the school run) but at least I'm taking my makeup off every night without fail. This has become second nature now, something I'm very pleased with. My banana cake sank in the middle (booo!) but was still delicious-tasting and the actual cake itself was well-cooked, despite being concave. Here is the recipe I used from the Taste website, in case you're interested. And now for my...

November Goals

  1. Publish at least 10 blog posts again
  2. Create a Beauty Spreadsheet listing staples with prices and dates
  3. Finally change to my married name!
  4. Clean out and re-organise cutlery drawer
  5. Set up regular online grocery shopping and home delivery
  6. First-time watch 7 movies
  7. Clean out and re-organise makeup organiser
  8. Clear and clean my desk
  9. Be awesome (sorry, I wanted an easy one!) LOLOL
  10. Buy a 2016 Diary!

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What are you hoping to achieve this month?