Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Review - Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse, #9)Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb:
'Folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana, know little about vamps-and nothing about weres.

Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to reveal their existence to the ordinary world. At first all goes well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found near the bar where Sookie works-and she feels compelled to discover who, human or otherwise, did it.

But there's a far greater danger threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings-older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves-is preparing for war. And Sookie finds herself an all-too human pawn in their battle.'

This latest instalment in the life of Sookie Stackhouse certainly had a lot more events happen in such a small timeframe than some of the other books in the series. This kind of made me feel a bit rushed thoughout the whole book, kind of like the author was trying to cram every idea she had into this book rather than wait until she wrote another one.

It did have some positives though, such as the further developments with Eric (what every reader really wants!) and the whole storyline of the were-animals coming out into the open like the vampires. Unfortunately, I thought this 'coming-out' was going to be a main part of the story but it kind of got lost among the rest of the happenings.

Sookie and Jason's fairy heritage is expended on a lot more in this book, something which I think is starting to steer away from the original genre of these books and something that I'm not too sure how I feel about as yet. I was attracted to this series because of the whole vampire/supernatural theme, as I'm sure were most people, but the fairy aspect isn't really something that appeals to me. But hey, that's just me, others may find it an interesting plot development.

One thing I did find with this book is the fact that people keep dying left, right and centre around Sookie, largely because of her, and she just keeps going on with her business seemingly unaffected by it all. I know she is most likely being portrayed like this to make her the tough herione that everyone can admire for soldiering on, but it seems a bit much now to keep her being so indifferent to all the awful events that keep happening around her.

Overall, it's another fun, quick read that doesn't require a lot of thinking. As most stories in this genre are so serious and dark it's nice to read something a little more lighthearted.

This is the first book I've completed in my Summer Reading Challenge so far. I think I may have been a bit adventurous with how many books I want to get through over the next couple of months but at least I've got my first one out of the way!

The next one I am tackling is The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay. I know nothing about this book so hopefully I won't be disappointed.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

December BellaBox for Men - I'm Impressed!

When I discovered that BellaBox were bringing out a specific box for men I just couldn't help but order one for my hubby for Christmas. My husband is so bad at personal grooming it's not funny. He's purely a soap and water kind of guy so I thought that something like the male BellaBox might be the kick up the 'you-know-what' he needed to get him more interested in personal grooming.

The male version of BellaBox will apparently be sent out quarterly rather than monthly like the female version and costs $30 per box. I was super impressed with the first box which I actually received about a week ago and opened it ever so gently to sneak a peek prior to wrapping it for my husband. Of course I couldn't let you guys know about the contents until he'd opened it himself though so I had to keep it all hush hush until now.

The December BellaBox for me is a black box and is about double to size as the regular one. This is of course to cater for the fact there will be more samples included due to it being a quarterly rather than monthly box.

And here is the impressive amount of products that were included this month:

The list includes:

1) A'Kin Pureman Visibly Fit 24 Hour Moisturiser (50ml, RRP $24.95)
2) Kosmea Rescue Balm (50ml, RRP $29.95)
3) Milk Scrub & Cleansing Wipes (25 pack, RRP $14.95)
4) One Skin System Active C Scrub and Renewal Cleanse (Scrub 15gms, RRP $69.00 for 60gms, Renewal Cleanse 10ml, RRP $39.00 for 50mls)
5) Kenzo Power Fragrance and After Shave Balm (Fragrance 1.5ml sample, RRP $130.00 for 125ml, After Shave Balm 75ml, I'm unable to find a RRP for this anywhere)
6) Avene Shave Foam (50ml, RRP $22.95 for 200mls)
7) American Crew Citrus Mint Shampoo, Conditioner and Shave Gel (1 x 7.4ml sample sachet of each, RRP $22.95 for 250mls for Shampoo/Conditioner, RRP $24.95 for 150mls for the Shave Gel)
8) Sanctum Men's Shave Gel (5gm sachet, RRP $17.95 for 50mls)
9) Phytomer Globalpur Detoxifying Cleansing Gel (5mls sample, RRP $42.00 for 150mls)
10) Baxter of California Daily Face Wash (5ml sample, unsure of RRP)
11) Erborian Ginseng Infusion Total Eye Treatment (1.5ml sample, unsure of RRP)

So, as you can see it was a bumper first box which was well over the $30 price to subscribe.

My poor husband was a little overwhelmed when he opened it though as he has no idea how to use half of the products. I think he's also a bit scared and doesn't know where to start. So funny! I think I've got a bit of teaching to do over the next couple of months.

I'm definitely going to keep this subscription going and hope that the next box is just as good.

What does everyone think of the male version of BellaBox? Did anyone else subscribe to it too?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mirenesse 3D Forever Gloss - Hot Kiss

As I am in a bit of a lip gloss routine at the moment I thought I would share with you another one of my favourites that is getting quite a bit of use as of late.

This one is the Mirenesse 3D Forever Gloss in the shade Hot Kiss. I received this gloss is the first GlossyBox and at first I was a bit surprised by how dark it looked and thought "I'm never going to be able to go out of the house in that colour!" But, I've since played with it a bit and teamed it with different looks and am now a confident 'Hot Kiss' wearing girl.

This is a little blurb I found on the Mirenesse website about this gloss in general:

'Innovative 3D Optically Transparent Pigment Technology(OTPT) creates pigments wrapped with a reflective crystalline coating that provide amazing gloss and brilliant colours . A modern colour pallette with smooth and even pigments instantly creates a soft fullness to the lips. Botanical moisturisers and antioxidants leave lips hydrated and beautifully cushioned with a non sticky formula. The new Flexilip applicator delivers the perfect fluid application.10 slip-on shades of barely there nudes, berry delights and passionate brights .
Ideal For You: If you love glosss, hate stickiness and want super hydrated pillowy kissable lips! Key Ingredients 3D OTPT Pigments Mineral Wax Shea butter Vitamin E Paraben & Talc Free.'

This gloss is super shiny and can either be worn quite sheer if you only use a small amount on the applicator (this is the usual way I wear it) or you can make it almost full coverage with applying a bit more. The shade Hot Kiss is a bright purple leaning towards a darker plum shade even though the packaging looks almost an awful dark plummy brown.

This gloss lasts for about 3-4 hours before needing to be touched up. It seems to wear off evenly which I like and you end up with a little bit of a stain all over the lips after which I find nice too. It doesn't bleed into the lip lines or get too sticky either. I find that my lips seem to feel super moisturised after I've been wearing this gloss for a day which is a nice added bonus too.

 I've tried a couple of other Mirenesse lip glosses over the years and have found that I have really loved them all. They always seem to leave my lips feeling so nice and plump and moisturised and I have never experienced any dryness or other lip issues with their glosses. They also have a pleasant flavour which is important I think when you are wearing something so close to your mouth!

Has anyone else ever use one of these lip glosses? Do you have any other shades that you would recommend trying?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Clinique Long Last Glosswear - Sunset

I have had a little bit of an obsession with lip glosses lately. I am loving the feel of glosses on my lips as they are a lot less drying than a lipstick in this weird weather we keep having and I also love the way they are a bit more forgiving than a lipstick if you don't stay in the lines due to being in a rush and/or juggling a uncooperative nine month old while trying to apply them.

My latest favourite that I seem to always reach for is my Clinique Long Last Glosswear. This gloss is so nice to apply and it also contains an SPF 15 which is an added bonus.

(Clinique Long Last Glosswear - Sunset)

Clinique claims that these glosses give 8 hours of shine but I find that I need to reapply after about 4 hours or so. This gloss is also extremely moisturising but can feel quite sticky so if you aren't a fan of sticky glosses then this one may not be for you. I actually like the sticky feeling from this gloss as it reminds me that it's on my lips and kind of feels a bit luxurious to me.

The current shade I have is Sunset which is a pretty golden colour with a bit of shimmer. This gloss has a really sheer coverage and is lovely to wear on it's own for a bit of light golden shimmer or it can also be applied over a lipstick to add a bit of shine.

Overall, this is definitely one of the best lip glosses I have ever worn. Due to it being such a thick formula I've never experienced it bleeding into my lip lines and it's such a nice sheer shimmery shade that seems to go with everything. It's also a great gloss to wear when I'm not really in the mood for much makeup.

Has anyone else used a Clinique Long Last Gloss before? Can anyone recommend any other colours that they think would be good to try?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge

As part of the Aussie Readers group on Goodreads I have decided to participate in their Summer Reading Challenge. This is a challenge where you select 10 books to read from different genres and covering different topics to try and broaden your reading experience. This challenge runs from December 2011 to February 2012. The books I have chosen to read according to their particular theme are:

1)      Aussie author – Temple – Matthew Reilly
2)      To Be Read List – Dead and Gone – Charlaine Harris
3)      Summer Food – The Long Quiche Goodbye – Avery Aames
4)      Summer Story – Divine by Mistake – P.C. Cast
5)      Australia Day – The Potato Factory – Bryce Courtney
6)      Gay Character or Author – The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
7)      Christmas Carols – Skipping Christmas – John Grisham
8)      New Release – Catch Me – Lisa Gardner
9)      Literature Map – Dixie City Jam – James Lee Burke
10)   Romance – The Rocky Road to Romance – Janet Evanovich
I've created a page with my book list which I'll update as I get through each book and give my overall rating.

I love reading and I think that due to being an only child I gained a huge appreciation for books as they were something I could always turn to when I was alone or bored. Nowadays, time to read is not usually something I regularly get with a small bub but I'm hopeful I can get through these books in the next couple of months.I'm sure going to give it my best effort anyway!

This first book I've started is Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris. This is the 9th instalment in the Sookie Stackhouse series (which the TV series 'True Blood' is based on) and has been on my 'to be read' list for ages. Should be a good, easy read.

Wish me luck!

Has anyone read any of the above books and wish to share your thoughts? (Without spoiling the actual story for me :-))

December GlossyBox - Focus on Haircare

There is only one word that I can use to describe the December Glossybox - Underwhelming.

I have had this box for about three days now and was thinking of not even bothering to post about it due to being so unimpressed but for consistency sake I decided I might as well.

This is what I got in the December box:

1) Tigi Haircare - Bed Head Manipulator (Full size 57ml, RRP $23.95) - I can see that a lot of people would be extremely happy with this product but I have very fine naturally curly hair and products like these are useless to me. I would have no idea what to do with this with my type of hair. Oh well, it will be good for my husband to use in place of his regular gel.

2) Gorgeous Cosmetics - Lip Pencil in Premiere (Full size, RRP $25.00) - This was probably the best product in the box this month as far as I am concerned. It's a nice soft lip pencil in a reddish brown. The actual colour is a little dark for me but it should work well with a lighter lip colour over the top to tone it down a little.

3) Clinique - Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturiser (7ml sample, RRP $90.00 for 50ml) - I really like Clinique products so will be happy with using this. I already have a few mini Clinique samples like this though from gift with purchases I've done previously but I guess you can never have enough moisturiser.

4) John Frieda - Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Creme (30ml, RRP $16.99 for 113ml) - This product claims to tame frizz and smooth frayed ends. This is actually a product suited to my hair type so it will be interesting to try it out.

5) John Frieda - Frizz Ease Dream Curls Curl Perfecting Spray (30ml, RRP $16.99 for 200ml) - This claims to activate and define silky curls. Again, this was obviously matched to my hair type so will be interested to try.

As you can see the products themselves are all good and I will get good use out of all of them except the Bead Head Manipulator.

My issue is that I subscribed to these boxes mainly to try out different makeup and skin care products so hair care is not something that really interests me. As I said before, I have very fine, curly hair and most hair care products are just too heavy for me and usually cause my curls to just flop and go listless. They seem to do much better if I just leave them product free so long as I use a good conditioner.

Who knows, maybe something like this is what I need to get my hair mojo back? Maybe I'm just too picky and need to keep remembering that I am only paying $14.95 per box and am obviously getting way more value than that even if some of the items aren't really something I'd normally spend money on?

Oh yeah, there was also a voucher to receive a consultation from Clinique in any Myer or David Jones store plus a 7 day supply of foundation. Hopefully I'll remember to use this as I'm terrible with things like this and always either lose them or let them expire.

There was also a candy cane, although mine was broken :-(

What does everyone else think of these boxes so far? Does anyone have a favourite one over all the others or do you just think they are a bit of a waste?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Highlighting - My New Obsession

I must admit that I only discovered the whole world of highlighting a couple of months ago. I know, I know, I'm a bit slow on the uptake on these things sometimes but prior to that I was content to be just a foundation and bit of blush kind of girl.

Well, not anymore. Since I purchased my first highlighter that fateful day I have developed a bit of an obsession with achieving a gorgeous glow and don't ever leave the house anymore without applying even just a tiny bit of highlighter, whether I've done the rest of my makeup or not.

The product which started it all is my Prestige Skin Loving Minerals Sunbaked Mineral Bronzing Powder in Pure Shimmer:

I am in love with this powder. It gives such a nice shimmer without being too over-the-top and it's just so pretty to use. I'm even a little obsessed with the smell of this powder. I can't really describe what it is but there's something really addictive about it. I just love swirling a brush over this powder to highlight the tops of my cheeks, my temples, brow bone and the cupids bow area above the top lip.

My second new love which I've acquired recently is my Mirenesse Superlong Wear Gel Mineral Face Colour in Toffee Mousse. This cream to powder formula supposedly can be worn as an eyeshadow, eyeliner, blush, or lip colour but my favourite way to use it is as a highlighter over my normal blush. I don't fair well with creamy eyeshadows because I've got hooded eyelids which always seem to crease if I use this type of formulation and this colour just does not suit being used as an eyeliner or lip colour. Hence, the reason I favour it as a highlighter:

Here is a comparison of these two products. As you can see the Prestige powder is very light and shimmery whereas the Mirenesse cream is a bit heavier which means a much lighter hand is needed when applying that one.
( Prestige Skin Loving Minerals Sunbaked Mineral Bronzing Powder in Pure Shimmer on the top, Mirenesse Superlong Wear Gel Mineral Face Colour in Toffee Mousse on the bottom)

And here is a photo taken last week while we were at the Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights show. In this photo I have the Mirenesse cream on my cheeks and brow bone:

(Me getting my glow on with my little man)

What's your favourite highligher at the moment? Do you have any other makeup product that is your favourite instead?

Facials - Good for Your Skin or Not?

Well last Friday was my husband's work Xmas party and to make sure I had a nice glow about me I decided to treat myself to a facial and massage at my local beauty salon.

Please bear in mind that I have only ever had about four facials in my entire life and this visit made the second massage ever. I'm not really much for having strangers touch me in intimate ways. I tend to get a little self conscious and uncomfortable in these types of situations. Strange I know, but I'm trying to get over it.

Anyway, prior to this treatment my skin was in the best condition it has literally ever been in my 32 years on this planet. I don't know what I've been specifically using that has improved it so much but it has never been softer or more clear and blemish free than it was last week. This was one of the reasons as to why I booked the facial in as I thought it might be a good way to keep my skin looking as good as it was for a little longer.

Well, wasn't I wrong. I now have the most pimpled chin and forehead known to man. I started breaking out on Saturday and this morning I have woken up with the most irritated skin ever.

My skin has always been quite oily and very laden with blackheads, especially around my nose and cheek area. I was hoping that the treatment I had would reduce these a little bit but I must say that I think I was doing a better job of it myself at home now after seeing the results of this facial a few days later. I now feel as if I have to go into a bit of damage control to try and get my skin back to a reasonable state again. Something I'm a bit disappointed about after spending so much money on Friday thinking I was doing something good.

This has of course made me seriously question as to whether facials really are any good for your skin or are just an expensive way to irritate it with products you normally wouldn't be using?

The following is a little blurb that I found on a blog called 'My Skin' which I think it quite interesting:

"While these treatments may feel good, dermatologists note that facials and microdermabrasion have no long-term skin benefit, beyond relaxation. The results you get from facial treatments depends on many factors, most importantly the condition of your skin. If your skin is acne-prone, the results of your facial or microdermabrasion treatments can vary depending on the severity of your acne, how often you have either procedure performed, how consistent you are with your skin care routine at home, and the expertise of the esthetician conducting the treatment.
In addition if the ingredients used in your facial are wrong for your skin type, that facial can actually cause acne (if you haven’t had it before) or cause it to worsen. That is because the treatment has to stay on the skin for an extended period of time to ensure that it gets deep down in the pores."

Personally, I guess I really haven't had enough experiences in my time to really answer my question above. I'm just wondering if the actual experience of getting the facial and being pampered is what really draws people back to getting them again and again or whether they really do end up being beneficial in the long run?

I'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts on this subject. Do you love facials just because of the pamper value or do they really achieve good results for your skin?

(P.S. I was going to put up a photo of my disgusting chin but then decided against it. I don't want to scare anyone away. It's bad enough that I have to look at it!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nails of The Week - Party Pretty

For my nails this week I wanted something that was semi-festive without being too overboard. Tonight we have my husband's work Xmas party on and I wanted them to look nice without drawing too much attention as I have only met some of the people he works with once before (yes, I am known to be a bit shy sometimes).

I started off with one coat of Face of Australia Molten Metallics Nail Enamel in Verdigris. This is a really pretty metallic khaki green which gives a nice even coverage in just one coat and dries extremely quick.

I then decided to add two coats of Ozotics Nail Enamel in #530 which is a pretty clear polish containing glitter particles that change from green to orange to red to yellow depending on the lighting.

Unfortunately the lighting in my house just can't seem to capture all of the colours in the glitter but I think it's a cute combination.

I'm most likely wearing a red dress so the red in the glitter polish should match nicely without having red overload!

What does anyone else think? Does this combination work for you?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December Lust Have It Box

I received my December Lust Have It box the other day and the first thing I have to say about it is that it had the most gorgeous smell coming from it!

All the items were also contained in a layer of tinsel which was a nice little festive touch and of course who could fail to mention the little candy cane in there too.

The items in this month's box were as follows:

1) Glasshouse Fragrances - Marseille Gardenia Fragrant Body Bar (125gm, RRP $12.95 for 250gm) - This was of course the reason for the yummy smell resonating from the box and I just can't wait to use this. I love the smell of Gardenia as it's such a fresh, clean scent and I have a huge Gardenia plant in my front garden that just wafts it's smell into our house whenever it's in bloom.

2) Evo - The Great Hydrator Moisture Mask (50ml, RRP $29.95 for 150ml) - This is an intense hydrating treatment to moisturise and smooth colour damaged, dry, coarse, frizzy hair.

3) LimeLily Cosmetics - Waterproof Eye Pencil in Jet (Full size, RRP $18.00) - I am becoming quite a fan of LimeLily Cosmetics after receiving one of their cream blushes in a previous Lust Have It box that I just can't get enough of using. This pencil is a very smooth black liner that goes on so soft. Also, I can definitely say that the waterproof claim is pretty on the mark as I swatched some of this originally on my wrist and then proceeded to give bub his daily bath and then washed the dishes and it was still there!

4) Kosmea - Purifying Cream Cleanser (20ml, RRP $34.95 for 150ml) - I was happy this was included in the box this month as we got the Kosmea Face Mist in the December Bella Box and it will be good to use two products from the same range together and get a good opinion on them overall. This is a gentle, skin-nourishing cream cleanser, developed to replace skin with the oils that it also takes away. This cleanser removes make-up and daily grime as it nourishes the skin with oils of sesame, avocado and certified organic rosehip oil. The natural astringent, witch hazel extract, purifies and tones the skin helping to rebalance moisture.

5) Lash Republic - Lash Set and Glue in Baby Doll (One set, RRP $25.00 per set) - The Baby Doll ones that I received are supposedly the natural day lash. These lashes consist of 100% human hair (not too sure how I feel about that just yet!). Considering I am a false lashes virgin who now has two sets (I got one from Bella Box this month as well) I'm now even more intrigued as to how these puppies work and will be playing with them later in an effort to see if I can apply them without looking like a drag queen.

6) Moxie - Regular Tampons (8 pack, RRP $4.39 for 16 pack) - This product is obviously not something that I'm very excited about. I mean c'mon, Tampons in a beauty box? These are something that I unwillingly purchase for myself every month out of necessity. It's not something that I really want to receive in a box like this. Oh well, at least they're useful I guess.

Anyway, there you have it. This box was certainly value for money again and there isn't anything in there that I won't use which is also a big plus again.

Apparently there is another one of these monthly sample box companies starting soon which will make about 5 I think. Does anyone else think this is a bit too many to be running at once? Seriously, how can they all make enough money to survive?

Also, I've noticed that a couple of the companies, namely BellaBox and GlossyBox have released 'Men' sample boxes. Being the sucker that I am I just had to subscribe to the one from BellaBox to see what goodies my husband can start to get. He's absolutely hopeless as far as caring about using any male products and is pretty much just your basic soap and water kind of guy. I'm hoping that receiving this box may inspire him to branch out a little and start to appreciate using other personal care products in his daily routine. One can only hope......

What did you guys think of this month's box?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December BellaBox - I'm a Bit Excited!

Well I got a lovely surprise when I got home from the longest working day ever last night when I found my December BellaBox waiting on the dining table where hubby had left it for me just screaming 'Open Me!'

Here were the contents of this month's box:

I must truthfully admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the contents of this month's box and am happy that BellaBox have definitely redeemed themselves after the disappointment I felt with the one from last month. Every one of these products I will use with no hesitation.

1) Eylure Naturalites Intense false lashes (RRP $11.95 per set) - I will admit that I have never dabbled in the false lash world yet and am actually very excited to try these and see what all the hype is about. Now all I need to do is either find a good blog tutorial on how the hell these things are applied or a good Youtube video as I am scared to even pick them up! I'm a bit worried that these may be a little too extreme for my face though as I am quite fair and having huge black lashes flapping on my face may look a little odd, but we'll have to see what happens.

2) Savoir Faire Concealer Pack (Full size, RRP $35.00) - I am in love with this brand and think all their products just look so luxe. This is something that I actually really needed as my old concealer is almost on the way out so I was super duper excited to see this. It's a cute little compact with two concealer shades on the top and a finishing powder that twists off the bottom. What would only make this product better would be if it came with it's own sponge or small brush somehow.

3) Ozotic Elytra #530 (Full size, RRP $14.95) - This is a gorgeous polish that has glitter which changes from orange to pink to green depending on the lighting. It's suggested that it's best worn over a black base coat.

4) Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Mask (3ml single use sample, RRP $117 for 50mls) - This is an anti-ageing mask that apparently works to instantly uplift the skin. I will be extremely happy to try this sample but don't think I could ever justify purchasing a full size amount of this. It's just a little out of my price range :-)

5) Kosmea Hydrating Rose Water Mist (50ml, RRP $11.95) - This is a gentle, soothing, cooling and hydrating facial mist for tired and weary skin. I absolutely love the smell of this and if will be carrying it around in my bag now in the hope that if we ever start to get some summer weather I can try out it's cooling effects.

So there you have it. Overall it's obvious that this month's box was extremely good value for money with almost every product a full size item and for once every product is something that I can get full use out of.

On a more personal note, I just have to brag about the fact that I finally got my CPA exam results the other day and found out that I passed both subjects, Yay Me!! If I manage to do well in the last two subjects I have left I'll be all done and dusted this time next year. Can't wait!

Hope everyone is having a lovely week so far. I'd love to know your thoughts on this month's BellaBox contents.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Mission to Tan - Naked Tan Goddess Bronze Self Tanner

My latest toe-dip into the world of self tanning was with Naked Tan Goddess Bronze Self Tanner cream.

What the packaging claims:

'Naked Tan Goddess Bronze Instant Tan is a self tan that ensures skin is radiant and bronzed. The fake tan contains organic shea butter and aloe vera for their moisturising properties and washes off in 2 hours.
Top tip: Wear gloves to apply the Goddess Bronze to avoid tanned palms.'

Well, firstly I must sheepishly admit that I failed to see that last little line there that recommends wearing gloves to apply, ooopsie! This resulted in me being super panic stricken when I finished tanning and my hands were a lovely chocolate brown that WOULD NOT come off!! Oh boy!! I was so embarrassed to go anywhere the next day with my brown palms. I can laugh at it now but at the time it was definitely not funny!

Anyway, moving on from this silly little bout of stupidity, I can truthfully say that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this tanner.

I love the colour it gave me because being a pale girl I'm always scared I'll either turn out orange or some ridiculous shade of brown but this was actually a lot milder in colour that I thought it would be. I was actually contemplating each time I used this to apply another coat the next day just to see how that would result but just never got around to it.

I also love the fact that the cream is a dark bronze kind of colour so you can see exactly where you've applied it and can therefore make sure you've got an even coverage all over.

It's also not too offensive scent wise which is nice as this is something that seems to be a major problem with a lot of other tanners.

I hate the fact that you supposedly have to wash it off two hours after applying. Truth be told, I never did this. I usually just put it on at night after my shower and washed it off the next day. I don't think this made any difference to the colour as I certainly didn't go too dark for not washing it off and I didn't really notice any stains on my clothes or sheets by not washing it off either. I just don't see the point in needing to so this. If anyone knows the real reason as to why this is suggested it would be great if you could let me know :-)

I also obviously hated the fact that I had beautiful chocolate hands after applying. The colour does not budge at all once it dries and no amount of scrubbing, pumicing, exfoliating my hands would do any good. This tan does not come off until it's good and ready to. Fair enough it warned me to wear gloves but hey, I have never worn gloves when applying a tanner before and have never had any issues like this. Still, I learnt a valuable lesson on making sure I read instructions in full no matter what they are for from now on.

So, has anyone else used this tanner and want to share any major likes/dislikes they have about it?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails - Hard as Wraps

On one on my latest Priceline trips I picked up some Sally Hansen Hard as Nails - Hard as Wraps in an attempt to give my fragile nails a bit of help.

What the packaging claimed:

'Powerful acrylic protection instantly seals and hardens nails in 1 EASY STEP! Patented breakthrough formula provides an instant, long-lasting, wrap-like surface for fragile, soft, torn, chipped or cracked nails.'

Sounds pretty impressive right? Well, I tend to think that statement needs one extra addition in there, and that's the fact that it will only last on your nail without peeling off for about 24 hours. Yep, that's as long as I can get this stuff to stay on my nails after normal daily activities.

This of course was quite disappointing as it was very frustrating going to the trouble of applying it and then not even getting more than a day out of it.

I even attempted to try it as a base cost for my regular nail polish which did last an extra day or so but still not as long as what the polish would have lasted if I had just applied it on its own.

In the time that it does stay on my nails, I don't really feel that it makes them any stronger or less prone to chipping either. Also, the smell almost knocks you out of the room while you try to apply it. I've never smelt anything so strong and chemical like other than in an actual nail salon. My husband always has to leave the room when I'm putting this on so if you want something that will guarantee to give you some alone time, this is the product for you!

Has anyone else had any issues when using this product? Are there any other nails strengtheners that anyone has tried and tested and can recommend?

Monday, December 5, 2011

November Empties

Yeah, this post is a little late but we have had almost a week without internet at home and I am only just catching up on everything that fell behind because of that.

This month has been a huge month for using up products, mainly because of the amount of samples I receive now because of the monthly beauty sample boxes.

See below:

1) Marc Jacobs 'Oh Lola' Sample - I really loved this perfume and have been using it quite a bit. It's surprising how much use you get out of those little spray bottles.

2) Palmolive Naturals Shower Gel with Almond Oil & Vanilla - I can't even remember when I bought this shower gel as it literally lasted forever. I swear there were some little Palmolive elves coming into my shower every week and refilling this bottle. Talk about a good value shower gel. This is maybe one to keep as a backup in your bunker for when the world ends and you won't be able to make it to the shops for a while :-)

3) John Frieda Full Repair Shampoo & Conditioner samples - These were nice products to use but nothing to really rave about. I think I only got about three uses out of each one so not really enough time to come to any real conclusion.

4) Sunsilk Super Shine Shampoo & Conditioner travel sizes - I originally purchased these to put in my hospital bag when I was going in to give birth to my son and then completely forgot about them when I got home. I eventually found them again when looking through my bathroom cabinet and decided to just use them up. This is a nice no frills shampoo and conditioner.

5) QV Bath Oil - I love this stuff and put a little into every bath no matter what else I've put in there too. I've also put a small amount into my son's bath now and then if he had any skin flare ups. It leaves you feeling so soft and really helps with any eczema or dry patches you might have.

6) MOR Body Butter samples in Belladonna and Italian Blood Orange - It is no secret that I have a MOR fetish and I received these samples with my last full size body butter order. The Italian Blood Orange is just delicious.

7) Clinique Clarifying Lotion - This was a great toner and made my skin feel super clean and seemed to really help my moisturiser sink in. I think I received this as a gift with purchase many moons ago and was another product I found in my bathroom a while ago and decided to finally use up.

8) Kerastase Shampoo & Treatment samples - These sachets just didn't contain enough product to adequately cover my hair. I could manage to work in the shampoo all over but the treatment was nowhere near enough. I don't even have very long hair (it's only a few centimetres past my shoulders) and it's very fine so there's no way these would be enough for anyone with normal hair.

9) Erborian BB Creme and Elixir Au Ginseng samples - I was surprised at how many uses I got out of each of these samples. I think I got about 3-4 days out of the BB Creme because it was so thick and about 3 uses out of the Elixir. This BB Creme was thicker than most foundations I have used and was a little hard to rub into my face at times. A little really goes a long way and it covered everything! The Elixir was a gorgeous consistency and made my skin feel so super soft after use. I also liked the way it didn't make my face feel sticky after applying like some of these creams have a tendency to do.

10) ROC Complete Lift samples - I am in love with this cream and have been using it every day in the mornings before applying my makeup. It makes my skin look awake and feel super soft. I had a bit of raw red skin around my nose a week or so ago after having a cold that just wouldn't go away and this cream has healed this skin perfectly without any stinging or irritation.

11) Gatineau Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate sample - This sample was teeny weeny tiny and I think I only got 2-3 uses out of it so really not enough to tell whether it was much good or not. I did like the smell, I can at least say that much.

So that's it for November.

I hope everyone is looking forward to Xmas this year? This will be our first Xmas with our little man as a family so it should be super fun!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nails of the Week - Essie 'Smooth Sailing'

I received this nail colour in the latest Glossy Box and decided to give it a try today.

This polish is a really pretty purple with a hint of silver shimmer. It almost looks blue in some light too.

I took these photos out in the sun in an attempt to highlight the small glitter particles that shimmer in this polish. They are so very fine though that it was quite hard to capture them. (Sorry, for those of you that may not remember what the 'sun' is after this horrid weather we have been having, it's that big round yellow thing that is normally residing in the sky during the day this time of year).

I haven't used this brand of polish before and it was actually really nice and smooth to apply and was pretty much dry enough for me to keep going about my business in around 15 minutes with two coats being applied. It gives a nice even coverage too.

What colours are everyone else sporting on their nails this weekend?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

MOR Lip Sync Trio Gift Pack

This is to be a really quick post as we have no internet at home at the moment so I'm having to write this on my phone. Not the easiest thing to do!

Anyway, I recently purchased this MOR lip sync trio gift pack as a Xmas present for a good friend (who luckily doesn't read this blog) and I just wanted to share it with you guys as I think its one of the most adorable things ever.

It comes as a cute Xmas bauble and there are three Lip Macarons inside in the flavours French Vanilla, Rosebud and Peach Nectar and I just want one of these for myself now (hint hint to hubby).

I have a bit of an obsession with MOR products and don't think you can ever go wrong with anything from their range.

I really hope my friend likes this!

What does everyone else think of MOR? Do you have any favourite products from this brand?


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