Friday, 18 August 2017

FFS Friday - Torture

I'm pretty sure Chai's school has a department who's job it is to come up with new and different ways to torture the parents. Dress up is one of their all time favourites. I hate dress ups, they suck.

Their latest one is a doozy. For Chai's assembly they had to dress up as a frog, echidna, kookaburra, wombat or snake. They gave us a little under two weeks notice and expected us to have costumes ready. WTF! We live in the country. There aren't many places to get costumes and with the amount of notice we had there wasn't enough time to order something as postage takes at least a week, usually longer.

It's not so bad when they have easy costumes, but the characters they chose were ridiculously difficult. I decided Chai would go as a frog so I could just dress him in green and make him a face mask. He was having none of that and decided he wanted to go as an echidna. FFS.

How the f*ck did he expect me to get him an echidna costume? I found one online for $40 plus $15 for fast postage. It was stupid. It was a dumb thing that wrapped around his waist, how they called it a costume I don't know cause it looked ridiculous.  There's no way I was going to pay $55 for a dumb thing to wrap around his waist.

Buying green clothes so he could be a frog was equally problematic. You'd think green clothes would be easy to find but they aren't. In the end I bought him a grey t-shirt (couldn't find a brown one), put pegs all over the back to make spikes, and made him a mask.

Some of the parents are so clever, there were a lot of simple but brilliant costumes. If I was arty and creative like some of the other parents dress ups would be easy, but I just have no clue. 

Poor Chai. He's destined to be the child in the store bought costume or the crappy home made mask.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

RMS Beauty Pop Collection Signature Set

I've lusted after RMS Beauty products for a long time so when I saw on Mecca's website that they had released two palettes containing five different products I bought one. I got the Pop Collection which contains Buriti Bronzer, Magic Luminizer, Demure and Beloved Lip2Cheek and Simply Vanilla Lip and Skin Balm. 

The palette is small so perfect for the handbag or travelling. It contains 1.1 gram of Bronzer, Luminizer and Lip2Cheeks and 1.5 grams of the Lip and Skin Balm.

RMS products are geared towards enhancing the natural beauty, so they apply quite sheerly and look very natural and undetectable on the skin. 

I love every one of the products in this palette. It's perfect for a quick, easy look. Because the products are so sheer I've even been highlighting and contouring! If (like me) you are a klutz when it comes to highlighting and contouring, this palette is idea because the products are foolproof. The bronzer and highlighter can also be used as eye shadow. 
From top: Buriti Bronzer, Magic Luminizer, Demure and Beloved Lip2Cheek

If you are after a very made up look then this is not the palette for you.

I paid $63 at Mecca Cosmetica for the RMS Beauty Pop Collection Signature Set.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil

It's fair to say I have a slight obsession for lip oils. In my opinion they're the greatest new addition to lip care in the last decade. I love how multi-purpose lip oils are. They're a balm, gloss and lip colour all in one. Technically not all of them are a lip colour, but a lot of them are, even if it's just a slight hint of tint. 

Of all the lip oils I've tried so far the Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils are my favourite. I love them so much that I have all of the shades they've released. Aren't they beautiful!

Colours shown are Honey, Raspberry, Red Berry, Candy, Tangerine, Mint and Honey Glam. 

As you can see in the photo above, they leak when left on their side, so don't do that. 

Whilst some of the colours appear quite pigmented they are clear on my lips. On first application there is a slight hint of colour but it fades within five minutes. My lips are very pigmented so the colours might show up more on those with a lighter lip tone. 

Candy and Tangerine are supposed to react with the natural PH of your lips to create a pink and coral tone, on me they don't but I still love them. Honey Glam is the only one that isn't clear on me, it has a lovely hint of gold shimmer. 

There are several reasons I love the Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils. They're convenient for carrying around, have an extra wide sponge applicator which makes application a breeze, they're reasonably priced at $33 each, the finish is beautifully glossy (hahaha) and they have the hydration of a lip balm. I get about three hours wear before I need to reapply. They also make a great base for lip gloss or to hydrate lips before lipstick application. See? Perfect!

When they were first released only Honey was permanent however it now appears that all the shades are permanent, yay!

If I could only choose two I'd choose Red Berry and Mint as they're my favourite flavours. 

According to Clarins each shade has a different star ingredient as follows:
Honey - noisette
Raspberry - framboise
Red Berry - bixorellana
Candy - amaranthe
Tangerine - buriti
Mint - menthe des champs
Honey Glam - noisette

I have no idea what most of those things are but they sound fancy.

What's your favourite lip oil? Please tell me so that I can add to my collection :)

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Thoughts of the week

1. I've been thinking about the direction my blog is taking. Right now I'm not sure. I blog at my own pace and about the things I want to write about, however lately it's been feeling more of a chore than an escape. Whilst I don't want to stop blogging, I may blog less frequently for a little while. I'm going to put more effort into my other blog The Lip Balm Encyclopaedia as it's been sadly neglected and it's something I'm passionate about.  

2. Instagram is less fun for me now too. It seems to be full of people asking you to like their latest post and sponsored posts for brands. It used to be a fun, interactive space with lots of pretty pictures of make-up. That's what I want more of, pretty pictures of make-up, so if you have any suggestions on who I should follow, please let me know in the comments. 

3. My love for the Clarins Lip Comfort Oils knows no bounds. I now have every shade ever released.

4. After a lazy patch the last few months, I'm back into decluttering. I'll get the junk room sorted out if it's the last thing I do! I have an ulterior motive too. I no longer wish to hang our washing on the line as it's either too hot or too cold, so I now use clothes airers. Once the junk room is cleared out that room will become the clothes airer room so I don't have to see our washing sitting in the dining room. Hah.  

5.  I've decided I'm going on a low buy. I've been talking about it for a while. It's going to happen. I haven't come up with any rules and I'm not sure that I will. I just want to make less impulsive, thoughtful purchases. 

Friday, 11 August 2017

FFS Friday - Wow

Oh my goodness. 

I've been a member of BeautyDirectory for years. It's a resource for bloggers, journalists and people in the beauty industry. I mainly use it to get brand contacts when I need to ask them some questions for a review. 
This week I tried to log in and couldn't so I contacted them to ask why. I got the following email:

In order to ensure that the BEAUTYDIRECTORY Media Directory continues to be a valuable resource to the beauty and health industries, we’ve put in place a new set of criteria that aligns with evolving industry demands.

To be included in the Media Directory, we ask that all bloggers and influencers fulfil the following criteria.

  • Be based in Australia
  • Have a minimum age of 16
  • Provide quarterly updated analytics to BEAUTYDIRECTORY as a screen grab (to be provided for the periods January 1–March 31, April 1–June 30, July 1–September 30, October 1–December 31)
  • Must have been in operation for at least three months
  • Must have posted on their chosen platform consistently two or more times each week
  • Must post at least 50% beauty/health content on their chosen platform
  • Content must align with a wide range of brand values
  • To be listed as solely an Instagrammer (ie if you post on no other platforms), must have minimum of 5K followers
If you feel that you meet the above criteria please do let us know and send us the necessary screen shots so that we can add you to the Directory.

I provided my stats screenshot then heard nothing further so I contacted them again and got this:

Thanks for sending through the screen grab.

We did a recent cleanse for those bloggers that didn't fulfil our criteria that I sent through on August 7. 

After looking at your blog, unfortunately it doesn't align with brand values.

Wow. Just wow.

So my blog "doesn't align with brand values". What does that mean? I'm too honest? Not complimentary enough? Or not all styled and magazine like? Who knows?
This is the perfect example of my growing issues with blogging. Blogging used to be authentic and real. Now it's becoming increasingly commercial and untrustworthy. Brands expect bloggers to prostitute themselves in order to receive free products. No longer are blogs a place where you can get an honest opinion, instead a lot of blogs are just glorified adverts.

The beauty community used to be full of lovely people who all blogged for the love of it. That community is gone and it feels like the blogging world is full of people who are all out to make money. Whilst there's nothing wrong with making money, I miss the good old days where I could trust what I read.  
I've been seriously considering the future of my blog for a while now. I was considering ceasing blogging but now I'm thinking that honest, genuine opinions are sorely needed. Stay tuned.  

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

I've found the best magnesium cream

Magnesium cream is the product I didn't know I needed until I started using it.It's brilliant for sore muscles, helping kids sleep better and all sorts of other things I've not yet discovered. The only problem is it's expensive, which is fine if you only use a little bit but we go through a lot because I use it on my sore muscles and I massage the boys feet with it every night. 

I was using the Electra tubes because they're reasonably priced and come in different scents until Lisa started making a magnesium rub. Of course I bought a tub (okay, I've bought four so far) and unsurprisingly it's perfection. 

Since Lisa is my own personal bath and body product maker (okay she's not really but I like to pretend), she even made one scented with watermelon for me, it smells amazing. I use it on the boys feet at night and the room still smells lovely in the morning. 

Now here's the best part. The It's The Bomb magnesium rub is only $18 for 150 grams! The one I used to use cost $26.40 for 100 grams! 

If you'd like to purchase magnesium rub you can contact Lisa on Facebook or catch her at markets around the South West.

Ingredients: magnesium chloride flakes, coconut oil, shea butter, distilled water, jojoba oil, nipaguard preservative, lavender essential oil.

Monday, 7 August 2017

July Empties

My effort for July was dismal. Very dismal.

Seven products and one of them was a sample. Terrible effort. Thankfully August is looking better already. I've managed to finish two make-up items too, yay!

It's the Bomb Coffee Sugar Scrub - Lisa made this specially for me and it was amazing. I have one more stockpiled then I'll be begging her to make another batch.

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter - One of my all time favourite cleansers. I can't decide if I prefer a cleansing oil or a butter, they're both awesome.

SKN Complex - This is a lovely, light, gel moisturiser. It doesn't contain SPF so can be used as a day or night cream. Despite being a light gel it was hydrating enough for my dry winter skin.

Skinstitut L-Lactic cleanser - I received this as a GWP from Adore Beauty and was excited to use it as I love Skinstitut products. Unsurprisingly it's lovely. It's a gel based, slightly foaming cleanser that's hydrating, reduces sensitivity and strengthens skin integrity. It was ideal for my allergic winter skin.

Skin Again AHA Exfoliating Cleanser - If I could only choose five cleansers to use for the rest of my life this would be one of them. It's not a product I'd use every day, but it's perfect to use every few days for an extra deep cleanse.

RMS Ultimate Make-Up Remover Wipe -  One use of a wipe isn't really enough to form a solid opinion. It was pleasant to use, did the job and felt quite hydrating.

Aura Raspberry Lemonade Lip Balm - Oh how I love these beautiful balms. They come in unique flavours, are super hydrating and all round amazing. 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Thoughts of the week

1. This week two big things happened. Eljay turned four and he got accepted in to Kindy for next year. 

2. Mecca Max launched this week. I've purchased a few products from the range and look forward to trying more. There will be a review coming in the next few weeks.

3. There was an incident at Tigers work last week. If things had gone wrong he would have died instantly. I know he does a dangerous job, but every now and again it hits home. His company takes safety very seriously and there's an investigation happening which is great. Him being hurt at work is always at the back of my mind. Every time I get a phone call from his work I hope it's not bad news.

4. Pumpkin and lentil soup is amazing.

5. After cutting my hair to collarbone length I'm thinking of cutting it even shorter. It's so much easier than long hair was.  

Friday, 4 August 2017

FFS Friday - Support

Over the last few years I've noticed businesses talking about support. They complain when they don't get support as if the community as an obligation to them.

In my opinion it's a cop out. Since when is the community obliged to support a business? If you're providing a product or service that's needed, you have reasonable prices and good customer service, the customers will come. 

A few years ago there was a gorgeous homewares and furniture store in town. They had lovely, brightly coloured products but were ridiculously expensive. There was a cushion that I wanted, it was a regular sized cushion, for $60. What a joke! Even when they had their closing down sale it was still $30. I would have loved to support them, but paying $60 is just not in my budget. 

When they closed down they left a bitter sounding message in their window saying that they'd had to close down due to lack of community support. Their ridiculous prices had nothing to do with it?

Then there was the after hours Dr service. I called them on three separate occasions. Not once did they call me back. My neighbour called them, they came to her house, stood in the doorway and looked at her son (who was laying on the couch), told her he had tonsillitis and left. They didn't even get close to him!
When they closed down they said that it was due to lack of community support. Really? Funnily enough the other after hours Dr service is doing well, probably because they answer the phone and examine the patients they visit.

It seems to me that people are very quick to blame others instead of accepting that they have some role in things. That goes for a lot of people, not just businesses. So often I hear people laying blame. What's the point? Even if someone else was responsible, the situation is what it is. So instead of complaining, deal with it and move on. When we blame others we take away our own power. If we accept responsibility that gives us some control. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd like to have some sort of control over my life.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Go-To Pinky-Nudey Lips

I've been lusting after the Go-To Pinky Nudey Lips! since it launched. The one thing stopping me purchasing it was the lack of swatches online. I've searched and searched but haven't been able to find any swatches other than lip swatches which I don't find very helpful as everyone has different coloured lips. So today, for those of you who also want to see swatches, here they are.

On me Pinky-Nudey lips is a cool, mid tone pink. It applies sheerly with just enough colour to brighten up my lips. If you've tried Go-To Lips!, this is quite different. I didn't like Lips as I found it too thin and not hydrating enough. Pinky-Nudey lips is thicker and more hydrating. I get about two hours wear which isn't bad for a gloss. It's hydrating enough that I don't need to wear balm underneath, even in the freezing cold weather we're having at the moment. It has an SPF of 15 which is an added bonus.

Interestingly when swatched on a white background it looks a little warm toned and when swatched on my arm it looks cool toned. 

Pinky-Nudey Lips! costs $17 and is available from the Go-To website.

Have you tried Pinky-Nudey Lips!? Is it cool toned or warm toned on you?

Ingredients: ultra medical grade lanolin, shea butter,  zinc oxide, beeswax, apricot kernel oil, coco-caprylate/captrate, sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil, fragrance (pure pomegranate), vitamin e oil, polyglyceryl-3 polyricinoleate, jojoba oil, calendula oil, pomegranate seed oil, mica, iron oxide, isostearic acid, titanium dioxide, flavour. 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Thoughts of the week

1. The Bachelor is back! There are only two tv shows that I watch, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I think Lisa or Elura will win, possibly Laura. My money is on Lisa though. 

2. Clarins have recently released new flavours in the Lip Comfort Oil. I need all of them. All seven flavours are available on their website. 

3. I am seriously considering going on an indefinite no buy. I have enough make-up to last me for years, I definitely don't need an more. 

4. Slowly but surely I'm working on reducing our waste. We've got metal straws, take reusable cups with us when we get coffee and take our own shopping bags. We rarely use gladwrap, once my current tube is finished I'll replace it with beeswax wraps. It seems small but every little thing helps. 

5. I need to get back on the minimalism bandwagon and start getting rid of more stuff. 

Friday, 28 July 2017

FFS Friday - Saga volume two

Those of you who were following along with the lounge suite saga from last week might like to know how it ended.

Friday evening there was no trace of our money. Tiger spoke to our bank and they said it would probably take two days. Sunday Tiger started getting a little bit concerned, but since we'd seen their internet banking receipt I was pretty sure it'd be okay.

Monday we still had no money. Tiger went it to the bank and they said it'd probably be there Tuesday. It was finally in our bank Tuesday morning.

After all that obsessive searching, Tiger decided he didn't want a second hand lounge. Can you believe it? Those poor people had been holding on to the lounge suite for us and he decides he doesn't want it!

So after weeks of searching and all that drama, he decides he wants to buy a new lounge suite. By this time I was over the whole thing and definitely not interested in traipsing around the shops with the kids in tow, looking for a lounge suite.

Saturday we went shopping. We found one we liked in the first shop, it was on sale and ideal for what we needed. I wanted to layby it straight away but Tiger wanted to shop around. I refused. I told him he could look at one other shop and that's it.

We went to Harvey Norman, didn't find any that we liked so went back and put the first one we'd seen on layby.

We won't get it until the middle of next month so meanwhile our theatre room is empty, hahahaha.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Rimmel Brow Products

For years I've been loyal to my Shu Uemura Hard Brow pencil. I've tried other products but they just don't measure up and I always come back to my Shu pencil. One of the reasons I struggle so much to find a good brow product is because they are often warm toned. I need cool, ash tones for my brows, not warm red shades. 

I tried to get on board with the brow gel/pomade trend but it just doesn't look right on me. I want my brows to be defined and the light patches filled, so that they looked groomed but natural. As much as I love bold brows, they just don't suit me.

I've recently had the opportunity to try some new brow products from Rimmel and was pleasantly surprised at how good they are. I've finally found something to replace my beloved Shu pencil! The two Rimmel products I'm loving are the Brow This Way Fibre pencil (pictured above) and the Brow Shake Filling Powder (below). 

The Fibre pencil is designed for sparse brows to plump them up. It contains small fibres and subtle colour. The fuzzy bit that you can see at the end of the pencil in the photo above is the fibres. They're small and work really well to fill in and plump out my brows. This is my daily, go-to brow pencil. It's quick and easy to use, isn't warm toned and lasts all day.

When I have a little more time in the morning I use the Brow Shake Filling Powder. A light hand is required with this one as it packs a great punch of pigment and is easily overdone.The first time I used it I made a huge mess all over my brow area and had to wash it off then start again. The brow powder is water proof, transfer proof and sweat proof, so will be great for summer. I wore it to the gym and it didn't budge!

Filling Powder on top, Fibre Pencil bottom swatch

I use the medium brown shade in both products. Even though I have dark brows I find the dark brown shade is way too dark for me, however if you wear bold brows it'd be perfect. 

When my eye allergies are gone I'll update this post with photos of both products in action.

Note: These products were provided for review.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Grants Toothpaste


Since I had the boys I've been on the hunt for an effective natural toothpaste. There are a lot around but most of them are quite expensive. I've always bought natural toothpaste for the boys but haven't found one that I liked for Tiger and I. The Lush ones are good but I don't really like the flavours, I like the traditional mint toothpaste and the Lush flavours are just strange. 

A few months ago Nourished Life had an offer and I received a free Grant's Blueberry toothpaste with my order. The boys loved it, I had to hide it because Eljay ate it like it was food. When I was ordering them some more, I discovered that Grant's have a range of natural, cheap toothpastes, bonus!

We are now a Grant's toothpaste family, it's the only toothpaste we use. Tiger loves the Cinnamon Zest flavour (it's surprisingly nice), the boys love Blueberry Burst and I use either Fresh Mint or Xylitol with Mild Mint. 

The kids toothpaste costs $3.95 for a 75 gram tube and the adults toothpaste costs $4.20 for a 110 gram tube. 

I purchase my Grant's Toothpaste from Nourished Life or The Natural Supply Co. Coles stock the Fresh Mint but none of the other flavours. A stockist list can be found on the Grant's website

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Thoughts of the week

1. We've been in home improvement mode lately and I love it. Tiger put in a wood heater and he put up curtains in our bedroom and the nursery. It makes the house look so much better. The front garden is next, I want to pull out all the plants and just have lawn out the front.

2. I'm still adjusting to having a warm house, it's wonderful. Before we just had a gas heater and the house was constantly freezing. Now the whole house is warm and I'm loving it. As much as I love winter, I do not love being cold all the time.

3. Recently there have been a lot of attacks on police officers, it's disgusting. There should be mandatory sentencing for anyone who attacks a police officer, they should get a minimum of five years in jail, more for a serious attack. 

4. I've decided that using a bullet journal for my daily appointments just isn't working for me. I'll use the bullet journal for note taking, blog posts and a record of the things we've done and a regular diary for all my appointments.

5. I got my hair cut on Friday and I'm loving it. I've gone from bra length hair to just below my collarbone. It's so much easier. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

FFS Friday - Saga

You know when things go spectacularly wrong? Happens to us a lot. Last week was the perfect example.

The lounge suite in our living room has been falling apart for ages. It's bonded leather that's peeling so we constantly have flakes all over the floor, despite having a cover on it. Whist we have a little bit of spare money we decided to buy a new lounge suite. Tiger searched obsessively for weeks and finally found one we wanted to buy. He arranged for a courier to pick it up then two days before he was due to pick it up the owner sold it to someone else. Great.

He started searching again, found another one (that was more expensive, naturally) and arranged for it to be picked up by the courier. We put the money to pay for the lounge into the courier's account and got busy preparing for the new couch to arrive. We cleaned the lounge room, moved our other couch from the theatre room to the lounge room, cleaned the theatre room etc. 

The courier was due to pick up the new lounge suite at 1pm. At 1.30pm we got a phone call from the owners asking where the courier was. We called him and he didn't answer. Over the next few hours we called him at least five times and left messages, he didn't reply. I called him from my phone and we called him from a private number, he didn't answer. 

By 4pm we were starting to think he'd done a runner with our money. Tiger was furious, the owners of the lounge suite wanted to know what was going on and we had no idea. I sent him a message saying that if he didn't respond within an hour we'd be starting legal action. 

About half an hour later we got a message from his wife. He'd had a medical emergency and was unconscious. She wasn't sure when or if he'd regain consciousness. She didn't have access to his business accounts and couldn't get them from him until he regained consciousness. 

The owners of the lounge suite agreed to hold it for us until we could get our money back and arrange to have it picked up.The couriers wife told us that she'd get our money back to us but it wasn't her first priority (naturally).

We messaged her the next day and she told us that he was conscious and she'd get the bank details from him when she got to the hospital. By lunch time we still had heard nothing. Tiger was getting more and more worried. I wasn't overly worried because they have a registered business and I'd found their home address so I knew we'd get our money back eventually, even if we had to go through the court system. 

At 2.20pm I got a phone call from the courier. I'd left a message for him the day before pretending I had a job I wanted him to do. He told me that he'd been out of the state so hadn't been able to return my call. Tiger called him immediately and he didn't answer the phone. 

By this time Tiger was irate. He sent him a message saying that if he didn't return our money he'd commence legal action. The courier told us he'd give his wife the banking details and she'd return our money after school pick up. By 8.30pm we still hadn't had any proof that our money had been returned and Tiger was ready to get into the car and drive to his house.

Finally at 9pm we got proof that they'd transferred our money to us. 

What a saga. 

You'd think it ends there wouldn't you? 

No such luck. 

Tiger arranged for another company to deliver the lounge suite to us, then Friday night he decided he didn't want the lounge suite any more. I kid you not! All that fuss and then he changes his mind! Unbelievable!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Aussie Brands I Love

There are some amazing Australian brands available, every few weeks I discover a new brand, it's so exciting. Today I thought I'd talk about a few lesser known brands that I don't see much about on blogs and social media.  

Audra James
If you want to feel like one of those rich people who have bespoke products made just for them, Audra is your go-to. Aside from being an all round lovely person, Audra hand makes beautiful, bespoke products. If you have a skin problem I guarantee Audra can fix it for you. Email Audra with your requirements and she'll find you a solution. When I was pregnant with Eljay Audra made me a morning sickness blend that I'd put on my wrists, temples and breathe in to help ease the nausea. Her custom blended perfume is the nicest scent I've ever used and her facial oils are amazing. 

Shanghai Suzy
I've used Shanghai Suzy lipsticks since they first launched. Back then I liked but didn't love them because they had a grape bubblegum scent that I wasn't a fan of. Fast forward a year and they introduced  a gorgeous strawberry flavour that I love. Shanghai Suzy lipsticks are a bargain at only $14.95, they're Australian made and owned, vegan and cruelty free. They have a range of eight permanent lipsticks and release limited edition seasonal ranges twice a year. The permanent range lipsticks are the matte formula, it's easily the nicest matte lipstick I've ever used. Despite being matte, they aren't drying and don't feel tight or uncomfortable on my lips, they're surprisingly hydrating. I can wear my Shanghai Suzy lipsticks daily without getting the dreaded dry cracked lips I usually get from wearing matte lipsticks.

The Physic Garden
I first discovered The Physic Garden on Instagram when I was searching for a natural deodorant that didn't contain bicarb soda. Whilst there are plenty of natural, bicarb free deodorants, finding one that actually works is difficult. The Physic Garden's Sensitive deodorant is one that does work, even through summer. For those who are interested in zero waste, their products come in reusable glass jars or little tins. 
I use and love their lip balms, Sleep Balm (it's magic for kids) and Sensitive Deodorant, they're all winners. 

Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez
Firstly, don't you just love the name? I do, it makes me think of those awesome, retro 60's people. Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez are a South Australian brand. They do a range of perfumes and skin care that all sound and look gorgeous. So far I've only tried the lip balms (no surprises there). 
I have no idea why more brands don't do caramel lip balm, surely they would be super popular. When I opened my package the first thing I could smell was the caramel lip balm, it smells amazing. The rose balm is just as good, rose and white chocolate are a match made in heaven. 
If you're a lip balm lover, do yourself a favour and buy some of these balms, they're perfection. 

Concordia Handcrafted Skincare
Concordia is another brand that I discovered on Instagram. Their products are hand made by a naturopath and designed for sensitive, eczema prone skin. Every product that I've tried so far is beautiful and I can't wait to try more of the range. If you only try one of their products make it the Brightening Moisturiser, it's beautiful. 

What are your favourite Aussie brands?

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Super Elixir by Welle Co

Image credit

Pre kids and Crohn's I always had plenty of energy. As long as I got eight hours of sleep a night I was good to go and woke up each day full of beans. After Crohn's and then having Chai I've turned in to one of those people who are always tired. I don't remember what it's like to wake up feeling rested and full of energy. I start each day feeling exhausted and wanting to go back to sleep. 

I've tried all sorts of things to fix it. I've been to five different naturopaths, tried exercise, acupuncture, all sorts of multi vitamins, diet changes etc but nothing worked. I'd resigned myself to living like that when I found The Super Elixir. I looked at it for months before I eventually bought it, mainly because it's so expensive, a 300 gram packet costs $85. I also have to be very careful with the supplements that I take due to my Crohn's. 

About four weeks ago my package arrived and I started taking The Super Elixir daily. I have it in the morning after my coffee and before I run out the door. At first I didn't notice any difference but then one day I forgot to take it and realised what a difference it was making. The day I forgot to take it I was ready to climb back into bed by lunchtime. It was then that I realised I'd been waking up feeling rested and hadn't been struggling to get through the day. 

Unlike other greens supplements I've tried, The Super Elixir tastes nice, it has a pleasant lemon flavour. It's also dairy and gluten free which is a bonus for people with allergies. 

I purchase the 300 gram refill pouch. I haven't purchased the caddy, paying $55 for a glass container seems pretty crazy to me, especially when you can purchase the refill pouch and just leave the product in the pouch. Plus, the caddy is quite big so would take up a lot more space than the pouch does.  

Now that I know that Super Elixir works I'll buy the Season Saver as it's great value for money. Luckily they have Afterpay so I'm not forking out $195 in one hit.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Thoughts of the week

1. I've been using The Super Elixir by Welle Co for three weeks now. It's amazing. I've finally found something that helps my energy levels! 
Since I had Chai I've struggled with my energy levels. Six years of broken sleep means that I'm always tired and lacking energy. I've tried all sorts of supplements but nothing worked for me until I found The Super Elixir. At $85 for 300 grams it's expensive, but worth every cent. Since I started taking it the only low energy days I've had were the two days that I forgot to take it. I have a full blog post coming tomorrow, but in short, if you need a good energy hit, check out Welle Co.

2. This weekend Mum and my Step-Dad (SD) came down to help Tiger put in our wood heater. Our house has been so very, very cold with only a small gas heater now we have a wood heater and I'm finally warm, it's lovely. I'm hoping that we won't get sick as often now that we are warm.

3. Friday I'm chopping my hair off. It's halfway down my back at the moment and I'm getting it cut to a collarbone length lob. Can't wait. 
I haven't told Tiger. He likes my hair long. Unfortunately for him it's not his hair so he has no say in the matter.  

4. Tomorrow is the last day of school holidays. I don't want school to go back.

5. That's all I've got today.

Friday, 14 July 2017

FFS Friday

Well would look at this. I have nothing to whinge about. How did that happen? I could tell you that we've all been sick the whole school holidays and Chai now has a horrible teenager attitude but I can't be bothered so instead I'll subject you to some of my random thoughts on minimalism.

Whilst I really like a lot of the principles of minimalism I do also think that there is space for some "wants". My Mum was always frugal with money. She didn't buy anything that we didn't need, she was careful with her spending and bought things on sale where possible. On the very rare occasion that I'd ask her to buy me something her first question to me was always "Do you need it?"

When I was around 11 we were on holiday. I was feeling very vulnerable and desperately wanted a soft toy to cuddle to help me feel better. I found a tiny teddy bear in the supermarket and asked Mum if I could have it because I wanted something to cuddle. Of course Mum asked if I needed it. Saying no was one of the hardest things I've ever done because I desperately needed something to bring me comfort. 

Looking back I should have just said yes. Even then I doubt that Mum would have bought it for me. But, it's this story that makes me realise that even living a minimalist life there has to be room for wants. Sometimes wants are important and that's perfectly ok. 

Monday, 10 July 2017

Antipodes Remarkably Red Moisture-Boost Natural Lipstick

The Antipodes lipstick range has recently become available at Priceline so when they were on sale recently I took the chance to pick one up.

I chose Remarkably Red, which is remarkable not for being red but instead being a gorgeous berry pink. Antipodes say that it was inspired by the theatre of bright blue skies against the towering peaks of The Remarkables.

Antipodes really got it wrong with their shade names. Most of the shades have a name that's nothing like the actual colour. The coral isn't coral, the sunset shade isn't anything like your usual sunset colour, the brown shade is mauve, they've got it so very very wrong. It's for this very reason I recommend looking at the testers for each shade. When they first arrived in Priceline I looked at the shade names, picked up a few that sounded like colours I'd wear and when they weren't I didn't look at the rest. It wasn't until I saw them on Instagram that I realised the shade names were off so I went in store and looked at every colour.

Aside from the shade names, this is quite a pleasant lipstick. Antipodes say that it's so healthy you could almost eat it. Whilst it's called Moisture-Boost, I don't find it very hydrating, nor do I find it drying. It has a long lasting, matte finish and lasts for around six hours before I need to reapply. I can't say I'll be rushing out to buy another one because funnily enough, there's nothing remarkable about it. It's a good, decent quality lipstick but nothing amazing. It's not bad, it's not great, it does the job and that's it.

Antipodes Moisture-Boost lipsticks cost $29.00 and are available from David Jones and Priceline.

Ingredients: castor oil, candelilla wax, jojoba wax, carnauba wax, ethylhexyl palmitate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, beeswax, avocado oil, calendula oil, alcohol, vitamin E, evening primrose oil, shea butter, cinnamon oil, sweet orange oil, linalool, d-limonene.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Thoughts of the week

1. This week I discovered that if you write a negative review of a product on the Priceline website they don't publish it. This means that the reviews on their site are worthless.

2. With that said, the Model's Prefer Samantha Jade Gold Leaf lipstick is truly awful. It's one of the worst products I've ever tried. It has a vile, overwhelming plastic scent that doesn't go away, I wiped it off after half an hour because I couldn't stand the horrible smell. Leaving the tube open overnight didn't help the scent fade. Added to that, it leaves a very strong, bitter taste on the lips which I could still taste even after washing my lips twice and totally removing the product.
As if that wasn't bad enough, there's no gold to it at all.
I returned mine to Priceline and got a refund.

3. Priceline are surprisingly good about refunds. The girl at the checkout was rather snooty and told me that "all the see through lipsticks smell like plastic" (I'm sure that's not true), but the manager was lovely and happily gave me a refund. 

4. Considering the snooty girl didn't even know where in the store they kept the SJ lipsticks, I have trouble believing that she's tried other see through lipsticks. Funny fact, I have and they don't smell like plastic. 

5. If you want a translucent lipstick, the Chosungah 22 Flavourful lipsticks are lovely as are the Duwop Iced Tea's. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

FFS Friday - Calamity

Last Monday started out like any other day. I had a busy day, raced around, got everything done and finally made it through the day. I was complimenting myself on making it through the day unscathed when it happened. 

As I do every night, I washed my face. I had the usual dilemma of which towel to use to dry my face. Do I use the hand towel that everyone uses and I have no idea what they've done with it, or do I use my towel and risk drying my face with the same part of the towel that I've dried my bum with? It's a tough one. I would have a dedicated face towel but with Tiger and the kids around any towel left around gets used for all sorts of unimaginable horrors. I went with the safer option of using my towel. I always dry my bum with the end of the towel, so using the middle of the towel to dry my face is a pretty safe option.

I dried my face and was about to leave the bathroom when I realised there was something very, very wrong. My face smelled like stinky armpit. Since Tiger was away I couldn't blame him and had to face the awful truth. 
It was my stinky armpit. 
I'd wiped my face with stinky armpit. Oh the horror. 
As if it wasn't bad enough that my face had been contaminated with stinky armpit and had to be rewashed, it also presented a whole set of different and equally awful horrors. 

Clearly I'd failed at the very basic task of washing myself in the morning. How I managed to do that is a mystery. It's not that difficult. It's not like I could have been distracted by anything else, my sole purpose of showering was to get clean, so how I failed at something so basic is an embarrassing mystery.  

Secondly, if I hadn't cleaned my pits properly it's highly likely that the deodorant I'd put on in the morning failed to hide my unclean scent, which means I went through the whole, busy day extremely stinky. I'd been all over the place. I went to school, to see my bff, to the Dr's surgery, for a massage, to two different supermarkets, to the chemist, the bakery and had a meeting with Chai's school teacher, all whilst smelling like the great unwashed. Oh the horror.

Questions have to be asked about how I failed to properly wash myself. I've had years of experience, I know what I'm doing, I wash myself every day. What went wrong on that fateful day? Was it user error, was it a failure of my body wash or was something more sinister happening?

I suppose we'll never know. 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

June Empties

I'm pleased with June's effort, I finished quite a lot of products including a lipstick, tinted moisturiser, two body scrubs and two lip balms!


Don't they look lovely all together? I'm so pleased with myself. 

Divine Company Body Scrub
If you like gentle scrubs this is the one for you. It smells lovely and is very gentle. I prefer more intense scrubs so won't repurchase.

Brauer Paw Paw balm in Raspberry
This was lovely, it tasted great and kept my lips soft and smooth.

Burt's Bees Mango Butter lip balm
One of my all time favourite lip balms, I've repurchased it countless times and will continue to do so. 

SKII Eye Cream
I had two little tubs of this and wasn't impressed. Other than keep my eye area hydrated, it made no noticeable difference.

Jacqueline Evans Chamomile and Walnut Scrub
This is way too harsh for me. If you are a fan of rough face scrubs, you'll love it. 

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
A definite repurchase, I really like this C serum.

Grant's Toothpaste
Our new family favourite toothpaste. The boys love the blueberry flavour, Tiger and I use mint or cinnamon. I have to hide the blueberry one because Eljay eats it.

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser
Love, love, love. I'm sad to see the end of what is one of my favourite bases. I was planning to repurchase once I've used up a few other foundations, but now that Nars are no longer cruelty free I'm unsure. I haven't chosen cruelty free products in the past, but I'm thinking it's time that I did.

Clinique Moisture Surge
A good, lightweight boost of moisture.

Revlon Ultra HD lipstick
These have been discontinued so my thoughts are irrelevant.

Dermaviduals Cleansing Milk
It's a cleansing milk, not much else to say really. I found this to be gentle, effective and pleasant to use. 

Thankyou Coffee Body Scrub
Another favourite. At only $14.95 this is a bargain and the coffee rose scent is surprisingly lovely. 

Condordia Handcrafted Skincare Brightening Moisturiser
Love, love, love. All the Concordia products I've tried are beautiful. You can read my review here

Mor Almond and Vanilla Hand Wash
My bff gave me this beautiful hand wash for christmas. I've been savouring it and was sad to see it finished. 

Thalgo Smoothing Brightening Fluid
I'm surprised that there isn't more hype about Thalgo products, they're reasonably priced and lovely. The Brightening Fluid was great, I'll definitely be buying it again. 

Original Source Vanilla and Raspberry Shower Gel
The smell of this was amazing, it smelled edible and always made me hungry.

L'Oreal Botanicals Geranium Conditioning Balm
I'm really enjoying the new Botanicals range. I received the Geranium range to review for Beauty Crew. Surprisingly I finished the conditioner before the shampoo, that's never happened before!

Method Sweet Water Hand Wash
You can't go wrong with Method products. They're natural, smell great and are very effective. 

Concordia Purifiying Cream Cleanser
Another love and definite repurchase. Read my review here.

This months tosses are looking good. 

I've resurrected my Use it or Lose it pile and am slowly going through and tossing the products I don't love. Most of the products you see in the photo above are victims of the Use it or Lose it pile. A few of them are old, one of the moisturisers I've had for over six years, eek! There are also a few sample sachets, I hate samples that come in sachets, they always go straight in the give away pile.

A few weeks ago when Natural Supply Co had a free shipping promotion I bought a Salus face cloth, so tossed a few of my face cloths that are old, gross and really rough.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Younique Products to Try

Younique gets such a bad rap in the beauty blogging/vlogging community, they're a banned topic on a lot of Facebook groups and message boards. Very rarely do you see blog posts or reviews and the reviews you do see are usually by Younique presenters trying to sell their products. It's a real shame because some of the products are lovely.

To make things very clear, I have no affiliation with Younique. I'm not a presenter, this isn't a sponsored post, I paid for the products I'm writing about and I am gaining nothing from writing this post.

Out of the products I've tried so far, the stand outs are Moodstruck Opulence Lipstick and Touch Mineral Liquid Foundation. 

Touch Mineral Liquid Foundation is easily the best foundation I've ever used. It's long lasting, budge proof, matte without being drying, hides my imperfections and makes my skin look naturally flawless. It comes in a glass bottle with a dropper which makes it really easy to dispense the foundation. Naturally Younique recommend you apply with their foundation brush. I can't use their brush because it contains animal hair so I use a flat topped brush or beauty blender. One layer gives medium coverage, two gives full coverage. I love the way it makes my skin look naturally flawless.

The Moodstruck Opulence Lipstick was love at first application. It's so creamy that it feels like a lip balm. For a cream lipstick it's quite long lasting, I get at least four hours wear before I need to reapply. Like the foundation, the lipsticks are some of the nicest that I've ever tried. The only gripe I have is that because they are so soft they break easily (or at least mine did).  

All Younique products have a money back guarantee. If you don't like it you get your money back, even if you've used the product. One of the things that stops me from buying products unseen is not being able to return them so I love their no questions asked return policy. 

They have monthly specials (called Kudos) where you can pick up some great deals, so keep an eye on their website or Instagram to see what the latest special is.

Next time you come across a Younique presenter online, get in touch and give their products a go, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Note: I purchased all these products myself and have no affiliation with Younique.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Thoughts of the week

1. Nars have announced that they are no longer cruelty free. How disappointing. Due to the backlash this news received they released a statement on their Instagram. In my opinion the statement was pretty ridiculous and did nothing to justify their reasons for testing on animals. The Chinese market must be very lucrative.

If you didn't see their Instagram post, here it is:

We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China. We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods. We are proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognized organization at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world. NARS is hopeful that together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world.

2. There are ways of selling in China without testing on animals, Adore Beauty manages it so I'm not sure why Nars can't. 

3. Lately I've been thinking about going zero waste. It's such a big thing to get my head around so I've decided to start small by taking my shopping bags with me. I have plenty of them but never manage to take them with me. I've put together two piles of them that I'll leave in both our cars so we always have bags when we go shopping. 

4. I've been looking at reusable produce bags and coffee cups, it seems like trying to be zero waste will be quite costly at first. 

5. School holidays are finally here, thank goodness! Here's to lovely lazy days with my babies. 

Friday, 30 June 2017

FFS Friday - Defeated

I'm finding it really difficult dealing with Chai's Sensory Processing Disorder. Between sorting out his therapy, making sure the he's being treated fairly at school, trying to figure out what is a sensory issue and what's him being a little mischief, refereeing between him and Tiger and trying to explain to Tiger that Chai isn't being naughty, it's been challenging. To make things worse, for the last month Chai's behaviour has been over the top.

He's been totally off the rails and I have struggled a lot. It's taking me around three hours to calm him down after school each afternoon, he's getting in to trouble at school, he's been a mischief at home, he's back to cling factor ten and panics if I'm out of his line of sight. Turns out the reason for all of this is because when Tigers parents were here four weeks ago Tiger and I went out on our own for two and a half hours whilst his parents looked after the boys. Both boys had a great time, they were home with the grandparents, they did some gardening, played a lot and when we got home they both said they didn't even miss us. We were thrilled. Since having Chai six years ago we've been out alone no more than five times. Five times in six years. 

After things went so well with the grandparents I was excitedly thinking that I might actually get to feel like an adult and spend some time alone with my husband every now and again. When the OT told me that she thinks that caused Chai's crazy behaviour I felt defeated. I know he's struggling and I know he can't help it, but what about me? Who's going to help me when I have a child that can't be away from me? When do I get to be an adult, have a break, do something just for me? How long will I have to deal with this? How long can I deal with this? How do I stop this breaking me and my marriage?

I'm putting a great deal of effort in to fighting for Chai. I'm reading books, meeting with the school regularly, seeing an OT, speaking with Chai's teacher, emailing his teacher, doing exercises with him for at least an hour a day, taking him for alternative therapies that are said to help and doing everything that I can.

How do parents of special needs children cope? How do they manage to be there tirelessly, day in and day out, without any reprieve?

My one glimmer of hope for my sanity, the thought of having a few hours with my husband every couple of months, has now been taken away, because if I'm given a choice of dealing with Chai's current crazy behaviour or having a few hours with my husband, the few hours will lose every time.  A few hours sanity isn't worth the four weeks of hell that we've had and are still having. Four or more weeks misery for a few hours fun isn't worth it.

All hope is not lost though. We can still have time together, it'll just have to be when Chai is at school. That's do-able and just as good as going out on the weekend. 

Another thing I'm very concerned about it school. Going to school makes Chai's behaviour so much worse. Last time we saw the OT she commented on how much happier and more settled Chai was. It was because he'd had the day off school. Surely putting him through the stress of school isn't healthy? My BFF says I have no choice as I'd go crazy having him at home all day, but what is it doing to him? He's a different child when he's not at school.  

If he wasn't so social I'd take him out of school, but he's such a social child that he wouldn't cope.

I had a meeting with Chai's teacher, the deputy principal and his OT last week to discuss what can be done for Chai and how to handle his behaviour. It's early days yet but so far he's been a lot happier at school. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Foundation Files: Aldi Lacura Caviar Power Foundation and Concealer

Aldi has a pretty good reputation when it comes to skin care, it's said that their products are equal to or better than a lot of high end brands. I haven't heard much about their cosmetics range, so when I saw the Caviar Power foundation in store for $19.95 I decided to give it a go. 

There were three shades available; Light, Medium and Dark. There weren't testers either so you're taking a risk buying the product. I'm not sure if they'd accept returns, surely they'd have to when they don't have testers available.

Fortunately for me the Light shade is a good match for me. I'm NC20 in MAC foundation, so if you are pale then you won't have any luck getting a colour match. 

Caviar Power foundation comes with a matching concealer in the lid. The concealer is the same colour as the foundation. I use wear my concealer a shade or two lighter than my foundation so I wasn't sure how effective this would be, but to my surprise it worked really well and effectively hid my dark under eye circles and the dark spots on my face. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how nice Caviar Power foundation is. It gives medium, dewy coverage, doesn't accentuate pores or fine lines and lasts all day without fading. It feels quite hydrating and they claim that it has anti-aging properties. 

The concealer is lovely too, it effectively covers my dark circles without sinking into my fine lines and making me look like I'm 90.