Tuesday, January 31, 2012

OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet and Maybeline Lip Liner in Wine - A Match Made in Heaven!

I have a confession to make - I am absolutely frigging terrified of using OCC Lip Tars. In my opinion they are the most difficult lip colours that you could ever use and are not one to use if you don't have a good amount of time to perfect their application before leaving the house.

Because of this absolute terror I have had my OCC Lip Tar in the colour Strumpet for quite a while now and have used it a total of 2 times. One of these times I didn't even make it out of the house with it on because I lost courage and wiped it off so I could apply something a little more 'safe'.

Strumpet is a gorgeous medium to dark magenta colour that I am totally in love with, but, because of it's brightness it takes no prisoners and is completely unforgiving if not applied absolutely perfectly.

It has been a mission of mine to find the perfect shade of lip liner to pair with the gorgeous Strumpet. I have found that if you use a good lip liner with the OCC Lip Tars it makes application a hell of a lot easier and also helps to reduce any bleeding outside the lip line which is a big hazard with these lip colours if too much product is used. Unfortunately, every liner I already owned just did not suit this colour and showed too much of an obvious difference around the edges of my lips. They were either too pink, too purple, too light, too dark..... you get the drift.

That was until I stumbled across the Maybeline stand in my local Priceline a little while ago and had a 'hell yeah' moment when I spotted their Colour Sensational Lip Liner in the shade No. 55 Wine. It just screamed out 'Strumpet will be my BFF' so I couldn't resist buying it and racing home to see if I'd finally found the perfect match.

Well, here is the comparison of the two:

 (Left: Maybeline Colour Sensational Lip Liner in Wine, Right: OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet - No flash)

   (Left: Maybeline Colour Sensational Lip Liner in Wine, Right: OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet - Flash)

I actually paired the two of these last Saturday night when hubby and I had our monthly 'date night' while bub stayed at the grandparents for the night and it was the first time I've been able to wear Strumpet with full confidence that it looked good and wasn't going to budge. Hubby even commented on how good my lips looked before we left the house so that's saying something!

What do you think? Have I found the perfect match? Has anyone else used Strumpet before and combined it with a different liner they think matches it just as perfectly? 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review - 'The Potato Factory' by Bryce Courtenay

Well I literally felt like I was reading this book forever even though it really only took me about three weeks. I'm still not used to having such broken up time to read in between bub's sleeps and before I go to bed at night and taking longer than a week to read one book just seems like a lifetime to me.

The Potato Factory (The Potato Factory, #1)The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis: The Potato Factory is the story of Ikey Solomon, the true character on whom Charles Dickens patterned his notorious villain Fagin. Though Fagin, it transpires, is in fiction a pale imitation of the Ikey Solomon of fact. Ikey, 'The Prince of Fences', is a nocturnal creature, brilliant, ruthless, unctuous and quick-witted. Hannah, his brothel mistress wife, is rapacious, sharp-tongued, amoral and filled with a burning hate for her husband and a fierce love for her children. Mary Abacus, Ikey's sometime mistress, born in St Giles, London's vilest rookery, survives a young life of distress and misadventure but is gifted with a knowledge of numbers and possessed of a spirit that somehow never loses the power to love and the determination that she will someday succeed. All three are transported as criminals to Van Dieman's Land where the two strong and determined women raise separate families, each with the surname Solomon, the one legitimate, the other not. The destinies of both family groups are irrevocably locked into Ikey's greed, Hannah's hate and Mary's soaring ambition - a potent combination that, when love is added, becomes a vengeful and explosive mixture as each woman sets out to destroy the other. The Potato Factory is the first book in a trilogy that spans the short and brilliant history of Australia and tells of our painful journey into freedom. No nation ever made a less propitious beginning, nor choose a more alien landscape on which to start its human journey. Yet few people have stumbled to nationhood as free, nor welcomed through its gates a greater mix of colour, creed and race. Bryce Courtenay digs beneath the myths in a cutting and powerful narrative that gets closer to the bone and sinew of truth than perhaps any other fictional account of our history. He tells us who we are and where we came from in a richly peopled and compelling story that touches the heart.

My Review: I really did enjoy this book for the most part. During some of it I felt like it did drag on a little but I guess all that detail added to the realness of the story and the building of the characters.

I could not believe how much character development there was in this book. It virtually ran over a period of almost 20 years and it was kind of exciting to see where the main characters ended up after all that time. You almost felt like you were part of the lives of Ikey and Mary by the end after experiencing every aspect of their trials and tribulations over the years and how their personalities changed.

The language used in this book is unbelievably descriptive and it made you almost feel as if you could smell and taste what was being described in the story. I kind of felt dirty sometimes after reading sections of this book because the language really made me feel like I could totally imagine the slum conditions they were living in. It truly amazes and disgusts me that this was how people were treated and managed to lived back then. The dirtiness and diseases that were commonplace really makes you appreciate how times have changed in our society.

I've never actually read any other books that tell the story of how Australia was settled and how the convicts were brought here and subsequently treated once they arrived. Reading about this was very thought provoking and made me realise just how lucky we are that we don't have to fight for our lives in our country like that anymore. The differences between classes and how men treated women was horrendous and it makes you really sad to think that human beings were once so savage and had such little regard for their fellow man.

One dislike I did have regarding this book was some of the language used when the characters were speaking. Most of it was abbreviated into trying to replicate the real old cockney English and sometimes that made it a bit difficult when there were long conversations going on and you had to follow the broken words. But that is obviously not something that would bother everyone.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading a fictional account of how our society started as it was apparently based loosely on real people and events.

Overall I would give this book 4 stars our of 5 as it definitely held my interest right to the end and I always felt disappointed whenever I had to put it down and knew I wasn't going to get to read it again for a while.
Has anyone else read this book? If so, what were your thoughts?

View all my reviews

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January Addiction - Kosmea Australia

I thought I would start a new monthly post where I share what product and/or brand has had me absolutely smitten for that month. I sway towards having a bit of an OCD tendency towards some products if I like the way they perform and end up living and breathing that product until either something better comes along or I use it up.

This past month I have been absolutely obsessed with the brand Kosmea Australia. Over the past couple of months I have received three of their products in various subscription boxes and I am totally in love.

These products are from left to right: Hydrating Rosewater Mist, Skin Clinic Rescue Balm and Purifying Cream Cleanser.

Kosmea is an Australian natural skincare company and an international success story, founded on the healing properties of certified organic rose hip oil.
I have been using all three of these beauties in some way, shape or form on a daily basis over the past month and am hanging to visit my local David Jones store to see what else I can pick up in the range.

Hydrating Rosewater Mist
I must admit that I was a facial mist virgin until I received this so I never really knew what all the hype was about. I can now honestly say that I am hooked! I love keeping this in the fridge for a cool and refreshing pick-me-up spritz whenever I have been doing work around the house and/or when I get home from work and feel a bit flat. It's got a lovely subtle rose scent which instantly calms and refreshes.

Skin Clinic Rescue Balm
This is a rich pot-purri scented balm that is just great for everyday use on any dry or irritated skin. I love using this on any spots of eczema that come up and have found it awesome to use on irritated skin after shaving to prevent shaving rash and ingrown hairs. It's also good as a lip balm and for use on itchy mosquito bites. If you've got a skin issue, this stuff will deal with it.

Purifying Cream Cleanser
This is a great all-round cleanser which is so gentle on my skin and removes all traces of makeup and dirt. It's got a very light scent and is easy to distribute and massage onto the face. It feels so creamy when applied and I haven't experienced any dry or irritated skin on my face since I've been using this. Any blemishes I had seemed to have totally cleared up as well which is an added bonus. Sometimes I even almost forgot to moisturise my face after cleansing with this product because my face felt so soft and moisturised already. I will definitely be purchasing a full size version of this very soon.

Has anyone else used any products from Kosmea? Can you suggest other products in their range that are worth trying?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review - Sun Sense Moisturising Face Lotion

A few weeks ago I was in the market for a new face moisturiser containing an SPF and I decided to pick this one up and give it a go as I hadn't tried it before.

This moisturiser has an SPF 30+, very high UVA & UVB protection, is supposed to be ideal for normal and dry skin, is dermatologically tested and free of fragrance, PABA and lanolin.

Now, I was hoping with all fingers and toes crossed that this wasn't going to just feel and smell like a sunscreen and be more of a moisturiser instead. Well, all my hopes were dashed as soon as I used it for the first time.

Unfortunately, even though it claims to be fragrance free, it's got that chemical sunscreen smell that I just can't stand on my face. Also, even though it feels like a really nice lightweight lotion when applying it ends up drying to be a sticky, greasy mess on my skin. I don't think there's anything worse than feeling as if every bug or bit of dust is going to just catch on your skin like some of that fly paper you can get because it's so tacky.

I've tried persevering with this lotion to see if it feels different depending on how much I apply or in different weather conditions but I have to say that I just don't like it.

When I've tried applying my makeup over the top I just feel as if I've got a mask on my face that will slide off at any given moment. Therefore, I would definitely not recommend it as a base for makeup.

I guess it's a good moisturing sunscreen for if you were going to the beach or were going to be out in the elements a lot for a day and wanted something that applied a bit lighter than a normal sunscreen, but I definitely wouldn't recommend it as an everyday moisturiser. It's very obvious that this product's first priority is as a sunscreen and then as a moisturiser second.

Has anyone else every used this product? If so, what did you think of it?

Friday, January 27, 2012

January Glossybox - Worth The Wait?

Well my January Glossybox FINALLY arrived on the 25th of this month after getting a dispatch notification on the 19th! I seriously don't know how it takes 6 days to get from Sydney to the Central Coast but either Australia Post had some serious issues or my box got lost in transit somewhere.

Anyway, here is what was in the January box:

1) Nivea Rich Nourishing Body Moisturiser (30ml, RRP $5.40 for 250ml) - Probably the most disappointing item in the box. Everyone has probably tried Nivea creams and we all know they are a cheap and effective moisturiser with no frills. I might just keep this little bottle in my handbag for days when my arms or legs feel a little dry while I'm out and about.

2) Sheer Cover Nourishing Moisturiser (30ml, RRP $29.95 for 60ml) - Considering this 30ml sample is apparently worth $15 in itself, you've already made up the price of the box. This is a lightweight, oil-free lotion which also contains an SPF 15 to protect you from the sun. It says to use it under your daily makeup.

3) Sheer Cover Lip Gloss in Pink Praline (Full size, RRP $19.95) - This is a full size lip gloss pot in a very sheer peachy pink shade. I'm excited to try out this gloss as a girl can never have too many lip glosses!

4) Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Complex (7ml sample, RRP $105.00 for 30ml) - I am very excited to try this as I haven't used an Estee Lauder product in a very long time and used to love them. This serum is to help continuously reduce the signs on ageing and give smoother, radiant and healthier looking skin.

5) Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Fast Dry Nail Colour in Petal Pusher (Full size, RRP $13.95) - This is a very pale pink that will be a good colour when you don't really want a colour in your nails but want them to look 'done'. The brush in something I'll have to get used to though as it's kind of short and fat which is very different to your usual nail polish brush.

There were also two $25 Gift Cards for online fashion and footwear store The Iconic and some Australia themed temporary tattoos. Unfortunately I didn't get to crack the tattoos open because the Australia Day festivities where I live were all cancelled due to our crappy weather. I was hanging to put a couple of these on bub because our plans were originally to go down to the waterfront and have a picnic and stay for some fireworks but we ended up going to a friends place for a casual BBQ instead. I'll have to save them for next year.

So there you have it. The best thing this month to me is that there wasn't a sachet to be seen. I always find sample sachets are more annoying than anything else as they are so fiddly to get the product out and can't be resealed if you don't use it all.

This box is definitely over and above as far as the value is concerned so in my eyes Glossybox have finally redeemed themselves a bit after the past boxes being kind of disappointing.

I noticed that some other subscribers received a Mirenesse eye liner and that would have probably been a nicer addition to mine to replace one of the three different types of moisturiser but I'm still happy none the less.

What did anyone else think of the January Glossybox?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

EOTD - Starring Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Palette

Well, this is my first ever eye of the day post and to tell you the truth I am super duper nervous about posting this!!

Anyway, I received this Clinique Colour Surge palette as part of a Clinique gift box that my lovely hubby gave me for Christmas and have only just started experimenting with the colours.

The colours I used today were the three on the left plus the eye liner. The eyeshadows used were Colour Surge Super Shimmer in Daybreak, Colour Surge Super Shimmer in Strike it Rich and Colour Surge Soft Shimmer in Dark Brown.

The eye liner is the Clinique Cream Shaper for Eyes in Chocolate Lustre. I have swatched each one below:

(Left to Right with flash: Daybreak, Strike it Rich and Dark Brown plus the Cream Shaper for Eyes in Chocolate Lustre)

(Without flash)

As you can see they are all very sheer colours which I found a little disappointing as the packaging claimed they were the perfect combination to create a dramatic smokey eye effect. Well, no matter how much I seem to pack on I cannot get them to appear any darker than in this photo.

The Strike it Rich shade has pretty golden sparkles in it but just not enough actual gold colour itself. The dark brown looks as if it should be a good dark contouring shade but just doesn't show up enough when layered on top of the other colours.

The cream shaper for eye is the winning element here I think. It's such a beautiful soft and creamy liner which goes on like a dream and stays put forever. I have hooded eyes which means most liners usually end up transferring to the top of my lid by the end of the day but this one does not budge the slightest. It's also got a little gold shimmer contained in it which I like.

So, here is my look. I have used Daybreak all over the lid up to the brows, Strike it Rich on the lid up to the crease and also under the eye, and Dark Brown on the outside corner to contour. I have then lined both top and bottom with the Cream Shaper and applied two coats of Clinique High Impact Mascara in Black:

To me this could not be called a dramatic smokey eye effect. I was a little disappointed with my efforts because I packed on so much of each colour and could barely get them to show up in these photos at all.

I still like the combination of these shadows though as an nice everyday look for work or when I'm not really going anywhere special.

I'm still yet to use the purples in this palette and will post the look I create with these as soon as I have a play with them.

I must admit that I actually had fun making this post and can see why so many do it. It actually feels quite liberating to just put yourself out there to see what others think.

So, what does everyone think of my first eye of the day post? (Please be kind, I'm still new to this :-))

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mission to Tan - Le Tan Jet Dry Instant Tanning Spray - My Mission May Finally Be Over!

Yay! I think I have finally found the perfect self tanner for me. Le Tan Jet Dry Instant Spray Tanner in the colour Bronze.

I bought this a little while ago when I saw it on sale at Priceline and had it sitting on my bathroom cabinet for ages constantly teasing me to use it. My apprehension was that I'd never used a spray on tanner before and so I was scared to finally try it because I was so used to using gels and creams instead.

Oh boy! I wish I hadn't taken so long to take the plunge and give it a go. I must admit, the first use was a little bit awkward and I ended up spraying way too much in some spots which resulted in rivulets of tan running down my legs, but I found that if you quickly just rub it in then the problem is solved.

The second use was a lot more controlled as I finally worked out how much pressure to put on the spray nozzle to achieve the desired spray level and I learnt a nifty technique where you kind of sweep the can from side to side (like you see guys doing when they spray a car, seriously!) and this meant that there were no overspray patches and a lot more of a nicer, even coverage and colour. I also find that if you start the spray away from your skin and then sweep it over once the product is coming out you won't end up with darker patches where the initial spray hits.

Now, I am obsessed with this tanner. The bronze colour is perfect for me and my lily white skin and gives me a really nice tanned glow without being over the top or orange. It fades nice and evenly too and I find that it can last up to 5 days on me as long as I don't scrub too hard in the shower or when towel drying.

It dries super quick once applied and doesn't feel tacky at all. I also haven't noticed any staining on my pj's or clothes after using this.

And the smell? Well, it's got a pleasant vanilla scent when first sprayed on and I could not find a hint of that awful self tanner scent that seems to just overtake any other product I've tried. I've been using it at night after showering and in the morning it doesn't seem to have any smell at all.

And an added bonus? My shower now has a lovely tan. Well, it certainly did the first time I used this until I scrubbed the hell out of it the next day. I'd recommend doing this outside if at all possible as the overspray can get on everything in range. I'm lucky enough that we have an enclosed back deck so I've taken to applying it out there so that my bathroom doesn't end up being more brown than it already is (you've gotta love 80's mission brown shower screen and tiles!)

Anyway, there you have it. Finally, my mission to tan can end. I'm surprised I found one I like so soon as I never though any self tanner would actually work on my translucent skin. Oh well, time to relax now and enjoy my new faux glow!

Has anyone else ever used this tanner? If so, what did you think of it?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January BellaBox - Sample City!

Well I finally got my January BellaBox yesterday. I swear I must have been one of the last people in the country to get it this month and found it so hard to restrain from reading everyone else's blogs who posted up their January box contents.

So, here it is:

1) Pangea Organics Lip Balm - Pyrenees Lavender with Cardamom (Full size, 7gm RRP $17.95) - This seems to be a really nice lip balm which goes on silky smooth and feels so nice and light on the lips. The flavour is very intriguing for a lip balm and to me it smells just like a hand cream instead.

2) First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (5.7gm sample sachet, RRP $14.95 for 70gms) - Apparently this is used to hydrate dry, parched or itchy skin for the face or body. I'm going to wait and use this when I have a bout of eczema to see how it goes with that.

3) Soleo Organics Sunscreen SPF 30+ (2 x 3gm sample sachets, RRP $24.95 for 80gms) - What can I say, it's sunscreen, nothing really that exciting about that.

4) Sparoma Candle - Lemon Myrtle (Small tealight size candle, the card says RRP $19.95 for the candle but surely this couldn't be for the tiny tealight size??) - Anyway, there was a roll-on and body balm that could have been received in place of the candle. These are soy candles and the label says that when you've finished with burning the melted soybean oil can be used on your body for extra moisture or as a massage oil. Hmmmmm, don't know that I'm game enough to put hot waxy oil on my skin but each to their own!

5) La Perla J'Aime Parfum ( 1.5ml sample, RRP $79 for 50ml) - I honestly can't say what this smells like yet as I have had a really bad cold the past couple of days and my nose is still completely blocked. I'm looking forward to smelling this when my nose finally clears :-)

6) Puretopia Nourish & Repair Hand Cream (75ml full size, RRP $9.95) - This is the only full size product in the whole box this month. Yet again I can't tell you what it smells like but it seems to be a really lovely hand cream which leaves my hands feeling very well moisturised. Hopefully I don't find out it smells like crap and I've been walking around with it on my hands for two days!

7) Herban Essentials Towlettes - Orange Towlette (1 x towlette, RRP $17.50 for 20) - These are hand cleaners I think and are naturally antibacterial.

8) Qi Tea in Detox and Ginkgo (2 x 1.6gm samples, no RRP listed) - What can I say, it's tea?

So, I wonder if anyone else found this month's box to be as underwhelming as I did?

Also, I can't believe there was not one single makeup item this month. I don't know about anyone else but I kind of only subscribed to these boxes to get a bit more of an idea of other makeup and beauty products there were around. I really wasn't expecting things such as candles, tea, sunscreen, tampons and hair ties as have been in some of the boxes so far.

Am I being too picky? Are my expectations too high considering the $14.95 a month price tag?

It would be nice to hear what anyone else thinks of these boxes so far.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pantene Pro-V Clinicare Split End Fuser - Trial Team Review

I wasn't sure what to expect at all when I first started trialling this product after being sent it from Beautyheaven as I don't really have many split ends. What I do have is very fine curly hair prone to frizz and usually any products like these have a tendency to weigh my hair down and make it feel limp and greasy so I normally steer well clear of them.

Much to my huge surprise this product didn't do that to my hair at all. I've usually been massaging half a tube into my damp hair after washing and letting it dry naturally and my curls have never looked or felt better. I haven't noticed any difference in the split ends department because I don't think I have any at the moment but as for the overall condition of my hair this product has done amazing things.

For the first time in a long time I have actually been embracing my curls by letting my hair be in its natural state a lot more rather than straightening it or putting it up in a ponytail or bun. It has never felt so soft and silky and been so manageable in years!
The only thing I can really say is a downside to this product is the packaging. It comes in a pack of 10 x 5ml tubes which I really don't like because each tube contains way too much for my hair for one use and they aren't resealable once the top is snapped off. This product would be so much better if it came in a large tube or container where you could dispense the amount that is right for you.

Other than the packaging I love the smell as it's nice without being too overpowering and the consistency of the product is not too runny and not too thick so it's very easy to disperse in the hair. It leaves no sticky or crispy feeling to the hair once it's dry either which is a great bonus.

I would buy this product again purely as a leave in conditioning treatment for my hair.

Has anyone else tried this product yet?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Nails of the Week - BYS Cracked in Purple - Epic Fail!

Last night I decided to try a BYS Cracked Polish that I had in the colour Purple. What a huge disappointment!

I've used BYS polishes before and they have been great but there was either something wrong with this Cracked one's formula or it's just not a good polish in general.

These pictures were taken this morning and as you can see this polish has already started to chip and flake off, that's even with a top coat applied. I applied it over the top of a pale pink polish I had and really don't like it at all. Even without the chips the cracked finish just doesn't seem to work very well.

All I have done since applying it before bed last night was go to sleep (I'm not that rough in my sleep!), have some breakfast this morning, get dressed and do some grocery shopping. These things are not what I would generally find overexcessive activites to sustain this much chipping in such a short space of time!

Does anyone know a trick to making these last longer than 12 hours on the nails? Is there something you're supposed to do with them that I'm not aware of??

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Dusty Bookshelf Challenge

I have decided to sign up for the Dusty Bookshelf Challenge hosted by Books: A True Story.

Basically this challenge is to read as many books you already own that have been accumulating dust on your bookshelf. It doesn't include any newly purchased books.

I have loads of books on my bookshelves (yes, I have three and they're full!) that I have never gotten around to reading yet so this is a good challenge for me to read what I have rather than continue buying new books. Some of the books I have had waiting to be read for over 10 years since I worked at a book distributor as my first ever job so I really need to get my finger out and just get to reading them.

There are four levels you can choose to achieve in this challenge as follows:

~Pixie Dust – Read 0-5 books
~Dust Bunny – Read 5-10 books
~Cobwebs – Read 10-15 books
~Grungy – Read 20+ books

I am going for the Dust Bunny level and will attempt to read 10 books. I have so many more than that but don't want to overcommit myself as time hasn't really been on my side lately and reading has had to take a backseat a little bit. This challenge goes for the whole year though so hopefully I can get to that many by the end of 2012.

By the way, my little man is 10 months old tomorrow. It's amazing how time just flies these days!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hamilton Sunscreen Review

Product talk by Nuffnang.

I was lucky enough to receive three bottles of the Hamilton Suncreen range to review. At first I was worried due to the dreadful weather we have been having on the east coast of NSW and didn't think I'd actually get any sun to test it out on but finally over the New Year period we got some lovely sunny days and I could finally get my sunscreen on!

A little bit about Hamilton which I gained from their website:

Hamilton has a rich history going back over 75 years and three generations.
In the late 1920s, Milton Blake, a young Adelaide Chemist, experimented in his bedroom at a North Adelaide boarding house with the production of a sunburn cream. He had read in a German technical trade publication that a substance, which was a well-known treatment for burns, also possessed the property of absorbing the burning ultra-violet rays of the sun.
With the aid of a kerosene room heater, saucepans for containers and a pair of old-fashioned hand scales, H.A. Milton as he referred to himself in the early records of the company made a lot of attempts to incorporate this substance in a cream base. Many were failures, but eventually a process was evolved and a sunburn preventative cream was produced. The formula was tested by Professor Kerr Grant at the University of Adelaide and found to offer ultraviolet protection.
Soon after Hamilton Laboratories was established in 1932 by four friends, one of whom was Mr Milton Blake. The initial batches were made in the kitchen of the family home in Grange Road, Hawthorn. In due course Milton Blake formulated a diverse range of house hold products including a fly spray, indigestion powder, aspirin, spring salts, vanishing cream antiseptic, toothpaste, hand lotion and flavour essences.
In 1977 Hamilton's introduced one of the very first Broad Spectrum Sunscreens in Australia.
During the mid 1980's Hamilton commenced collaboration with Flinders University of South Australia to investigate the phenomena of suppression of the human immune system associated with exposure to sunlight. This world leading research lead to the development of a new sunscreen which, when tested using methodology developed at Flinders University, was demonstrated to reduce the immune suppression associated with sunlight.
Hamilton - The perfect blend of modern science with traditional values

To tell you the truth I never thought about the history of how sunscreen came about so found this page quite interesting.

Anyway, with me being of Irish background and having the whitest of white skin you can imagine, I literally cannot leave the house without being covered head to toe in sunscreen if there is the slighest hint of sun out. This meant that I could give these products a real 'run for their money' because if they could stop me from getting burnt then they deserve a gold medal in the sunscreen department.

So, here are my thoughts on each one:

Family Sunscreen - This is a broad spectrum 30+ sunscreen designed for use by the whole family for everyday protection. It is water resistant for up to 4 hours and is claimed to be ideal for both the face and body.
This one was actually my favourite out of the lot as it was non-greasy, sunk in nicely and had a pleasant smell that didn't overpower any perfume I was wearing. It also was nice and easy to spread without leaving a white film on the skin. I wore this all over, including on my face under my regular makeup and have not experience the slighest bit of sunburn once.
I've worn it taking the dogs for long walks in the blazing sun, doing yard work and just as a precaution if we were going out somewhere and I didn't know if I was going to be out in the elements or not.
This is definitely a product I will continue to use into the future.

Sensitive Sunscreen - This is also a broad spectrum 30+ sunscreen with up to 4 hours of water resistance and is designed to be low allergy and gentle on sensitive skin.
This was actually the first one I reached for as I gravitate to sensitive skin products a lot due to suffering from eczema now and then. I must admit though that this isn't a sunscreen that I would choose to wear often as I found it way too thick and very hard to spread. It took ages to sink into my skin and made me feel as if I had a white glow about me. It was practically impossible to apply makeup over this product as it was just too heavy on the face.
I never really got to test out the sensitive skin claim either as for once I am actually eczema free at the moment. I'll try and give it another go one day if I do get a bit of a breakout in that department. 

Toddler Sunscreen - Last but not least we have their Toddler version. This is also broad spectrum 30+, 4 hours water resitant and is designed to be gentle on delicate young skin.
I used this sunscreen on our 9 month old a few times when we were out and about and he didn't get the slightest bit red once so I'd say it definitely works. He suffered no irritation at all that I could see and it sunk in nicely to his skin without being too thick or taking too long to rub in (something that is very important with a squirmy bub who loses patience very quickly).
I will definitely continue to use this into the future.

Has anyone else used Hamilton Sunscreen before? If so, what did you think?

Monday, January 9, 2012

RIP Barney Boy 15/08/08 - 08/01/12

Yesterday I had to make one of the hardest decisions I have ever made my entire life. This was to put our beautiful young beagle Barney to sleep.

Our good mate posing for his last ever photo

For anyone out there who is a fellow animal lover, you will know that our pets are just like our children and the grief I now feel over losing what was a well-loved member of our family is overwhelming. For anyone who isn't an animal lover you will most likely find this post ridiculous but I really don't care.

Poor Barney suffered from epilepsy which started in January last year when he was just 2 1/2 years old. We'd rescued Barney through the Beagle Club of NSW's Beagle Rescue when he was 16 months old In December 2009 so we had no idea of his background or heritage. Unfortunately, knowing any of this information most likely would not have helped us know of Barney's future condition anyway.

Epilepsy is quite common in beagles and it's usual pattern it to raise its ugly head anywhere from 2 1/2 years of age up to 5 years old. Barney was spot on at the 2 1/2 point when he scared the living hell out of us by having his first seizure last year. This rough start to 2011, coupled with the fact that we were having our first baby in March, meant a very full-on time was had by all.

At first Barney's seizures were very infrequent with only one or two occurring every few weeks or so but over time, even with increased medication, they became much more frequent to the point where he was having what is called 'Cluster' seizures where several occur over a 24-36 hour period until they are stopped in their tracks by heavy sedation or the body of the dog just gives up. Barney got to the point where he was having one every 2-3 hours over a day or two and last month there just didn't seem an end to them one day which meant he needed to stay overnight at our local vet on a drip dispensing his medication on a slow release basis just to stop his seizures from occurring. This didn't turn out too well and he was very anxious and upset and not a shadow of himself the next day due to the toll this experience took on him.

So, when he started another one of his 'Clusters' at 6:30am Saturday morning the 7th January I wasn't expecting it to turn out well. I was hoping with everything crossed that this time they might not keep coming and he might only have 2 or 3 and then be back to his normal self but when he had what was to be his final seizure at 6:30 last night the 8th January and it lasted for more than 6 minutes and took him over 10 minutes just to be able to get himself up walking again I knew it was time to be fair to him and make the horrible decision to end his suffering.

I watched him for the next hour and a half walking into walls, tripping over his own feet and just being completely unresponsive to anything or anyone and I knew that the Barney we knew and loved was no longer in that shell of a body.

Luckily our family vet is wonderful and allowed us to bring him in at 8:30 last night after we'd prepared ourselves, given him a final treat and bowl of food (in case he got hungry on his trip to wherever he may now be) and took some final photos.

Then it was what felt like the longest drive ever to our vet where Barney got farewelled by my husband and I, our bub who was his best human friend and our other beagle Evie who was his best canine friend. It was all over very quick and I think I'm still a little in shock that he's not coming home to us ever again.

I don't think I'll ever forgive myself for the decision I had to make and it will never feel like the right decision as I'll always wonder if there was something else we possibly could have done for him but at least I know he's in peace now and can be forever seizure free and eat as much food as he will ever want.

Here are a few pictures of the life and times of Barney Boy. May he forever rest in peace. He wasn't even 3 1/2 years old yet.......
(His first road trip - coming home with us from his foster home at Kurrajong, NSW. Barney is the one on the left)

 (Enjoying some cuddle time with dad)

 (He loved running at the beach)

 (Meeting our duck Peking for the first time)

 (Getting his head stuck in a Lucky Dog biscuit box. He completely refused to move until it was taken off)

 (Comforting me when I was 3 months pregnant and not feeling so well. Excuse the awful flannelette pj's)

 (First bath with his big sister Evie. Barney is on the right)

 (His favourite sleeping position)

(Beach cuddles. He never wanted to be too far away from either one of us)
 (Chilling with his best friend)

 (On babysitting duty)

(More babysitting duty)

If you have read through the whole of Barney's story I thank you. May the big fella always be remembered.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mini Revlon Haul

Yet again I got sucked in by Ozsale the other week when they had a sale on all Revlon cosmetics. I just couldn't resist. They had nail polishes going for $3.00 and lipsticks for $3.50 as well as lots of other products majorly discounted.

Here is what I ended up getting:

* Foundation brush - I think this was about $7.00

* Scented Nail enamel in Mint Fizz (a pretty glittery royal blue) - This is supposed to smell minty but I can't seem to get that scent over the normal nail polish smell.

* Top Speed Nail Enamel in Wind Fall (a pretty green bordering on almost being a pale aqua); and

* Colourstay Soft and Smooth Lipstick in Plush Pink - I haven't tried one of the colourstay lip colours before as I've kind of stayed away from this range after having a bad experience with the foundation but for $3.50 I couldn't resist giving this a go. This colour is a soft pink with a little bit of shimmer but not so much that it's overpowering. If this formula ends up being good I think this will be a colour I'll reach for regularly as it will go with a lot of different looks. I'll review it later on once I've been able to get a good feel for it. See a swatch of this lipstick below:

Oh well, that's my latest mini haul. I can't wait to try these polishes as I just love the colours and I hope they look as nice on the nail as they do in the bottle. I'm also a bit of a novice when it comes to using a foundation brush and have been a sponge or finger application girl for most of my life when it comes to my foundation so I'm looking forward to trying out this brush and seeing if I can get a nicer coverage with it.

Has anyone tried any of these products before?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nails of the Week - Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Sun Kissed

I thought I would do something a little different today and do my nails of the week using my toes instead of fingers.

This is one of two Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear colours I own and I think they are just the best polish as far as the wear you get out of them. Here is the link to my review on the gorgeous granny smith apple green colour 'Green With Envy' is anyone is interested.

I am totally obsessed with this colour which is called 'Sun Kissed'. It is a super bright orange that is just such a fun shade to wear. I haven't gotten up the courage to put this on my fingernails as yet but am absolutely loving it on my toes. It's a real summer kind of colour.

(With flash)

(Without flash - please excuse the faint leftover fake tan tinge on the tops of my toes, I really need to exfoliate that off!)

I have now had this polish on my toes since Christmas Eve and it has not had the slightest chip or wear yet, and it's still so shiny. They aren't kidding when they call it 'Xtreme Wear'!

The only downside with these polishes are that they stay quite tacky for a while when applied so you really need to just have some time to sit back and relax for at least a good half an hour or so to let it fully dry. I usually apply my polish at night after showering anyway so this doesn't worry me as I just read a book or watch some tele while it dries.

It also gives me a good excuse to make husband attend to bub if he wants some attention or needs anything after I've applied this polish. I love flapping my hands or feet about and saying "Sorry babe, I can't get him because my nail polish isn't dry yet", Hehehe!

What do you think of this colour?

Friday, January 6, 2012

December Empties

So I'm a bit late with this post as I just couldn't seem to get time to get any photographs done over the past few days and then the whole process of getting them onto the computer, and blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, here is everything that I got through in December. There were quite a few things due to some items being only of sample size:

1) Garnier Roll-on Deodorant Invisi Mineral - I love the Garnier deodorants and use them regularly. I bought a roll-on to try something different for a change and actually quite liked it. I'm normally a spray kind of girl but didn't mind using this roll-on instead.

2) Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser Mousse - I received this as part of a gift with purchase not too long ago and found it to be a really nice cleanser. My skin didn't feel dry at all after use and it didn't cause me to break out at all either. I'd definitely repurchase this.

3) Urban Rituelle Organic Hand Cream - This came in one of the monthly beauty sample boxes I get (I can't exactly remember which one) and I totally fell in love with it. It's got a gorgeous smell and made my hands feel so soft and moisturised after use without being overly greasy. A definite repurchase item.

4) Kerastase Ciment Thermique Heat Activated Reconstructor Milk - I received some samples of these again in one of the monthly beauty sample boxes and quite liked how this made my hair feel after use. I used it after shampooing and conditioning one day and then blow dried my hair a bit before using my GHD and my hair did feel super silky afterwards. Not bad considering I have fine curly hair which usually has the consistensy of straw.

5) Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector - This sample also came in a monthly box and I just loved it. My skin felt so silky smooth after applying it at night before going to bed and it didn't make me feel greasy or have smell that was too overpowering either. Except for the super high price tag, I'd most likely purchase this again.

6) Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil - I just haven't been able to get on the cleansing oil bandwagon yet. Maybe it's because I haven't found the right one for me or maybe they just aren't the product for me in general. I really didn't like using this cleansing oil, much the same reaction I had when I tried the Shu Uemura one as well. I'd rather stick with my cream, gel or foaming cleansers instead I think.

7) Elizabeth Arden Intervene Stress Recovery Night Cream - This would have to be my most favourite night cream of all time. See my review here. I almost shed a tear when I finished this product. I hinted and hinted so much for hubby to get me another for xmas but to no avail. I'll just have to try and work up the courage to spend the money on getting another one.

8) Pantene Split End Fuser - I received some of these to trial for the Beautyheaven trial team and am loving them so far. I don't really have any split ends but they make my curls look really nice and eliminate all signs of frizz which is a miracle in itself. Even though I'm not benefitting from this product in the way I'm supposed to I still think it's great so far.

9) Derma Intensive Facial Wipes - Three words to describe these wipes...... Worst Wipes Ever! I've never used facial wipes before that have been so useless. I needed at least two in most instances to clean my face as they are so thin and flimsy that they just don't seem to remove anything. I will definitely never be buying these again.

10) Neutrogena Build-a-Tan - I started using this on my mission to tan. See my review here. I will definitely not be purchasing this again as I just didn't like it one bit.

11) KUR Haircare Protecting Curl Spray - Another bad, bad product. It's not anywhere near empty but it's going in the bin anyway. I don't even remember where I got this from but it's just awful. The smell is horrendous and it makes my curls feel crispy and sticky and just plain awful. I could imagine the feeling of using this product a bit like drenching your hair in hair spray when it's wet and then letting it dry. Not a nice feeling to me.

12) Bio Oil - I love what this oil does for my skin but seriously wish they could change the smell of it. It just doesn't agree with me at all and it's such a shame as I'd live on this stuff if the smell was better.

13) Montagne Jeunesse Facial Masks in Deep Pore Purifying and Anti-Stress - I used two of these this month, one was a fabric mask infused with essential oils which you laid over your face for it to work and the other was your typical mud type mask. The fabric mask just felt a bit too weird for me and it looked utterly frightening as well! I much preferred the mud mask instead. These are great value masks that you can really feel the difference in your skin after use. I have a little stash of them that I forgot about so I'll now start using these on a regular basis again.

So, that's it for December.

Hope you all had some nice relaxing time off over the Xmas and New Year period. I didn't really as I only work two days a week anyway but hubby was home for almost two weeks which was nice.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Chunkster Challenge

As you can all probably tell I have a bit of a love for reading as well as my one for beauty products. I guess being an only child I used books as an escape because if I didn't have friends over it was kind of lonely being at home so I turned to reading to pass the time. I was actually thinking the other day I should have named this blog a little more appropriately something like Beauty and the Books or something similar :-)
Anyway, I have recently decided to sign up for the annual Chunkster Reading Challenge which has its own blog here.
Definition of a chunkster:

A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature, whether non-fiction or fiction. A chunkster should be a challenge.

If you read books in large print, your books will need to be 525 pages or more. The average large type book is 10-15% larger or more so it’s a fair estimate.

The rules:

  • No audio books. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • No e-books allowed. This was discussed in much detail in the 2011 challenge. The short version: a chunkster isn’t a challenge if you’re reading it on an e-reader. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • This year for the first time, essay, poetry, and short story collections will be allowed. Collections have to be read in their entirety to count. If you’ve needed a reason to finally pick up your copy of The Collected Works Of ____ now is the time.
  • Books may crossover with other challenges.
  • Anyone may join. (If you don’t have a blog, just leave a comment on this post with your challenge level and your progress throughout the challenge.)
  • You don’t need to list your books ahead of time.
  • Once you’ve picked a level, that’s it. You’re committed to it!

You must pick a level of participation:

  1. The Chubby Chunkster – this option is for the readers who want to dabble in large tomes, but really doesn't want to commit to much more than that. FOUR Chunksters is all you need to finish this challenge.
  2. The Plump Primer - this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to SIX Chunksters over the next twelve months.
  3. Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? - this option is for the reader who can't resist bigger and bigger books and wants to commit to SIX Chunksters from the following categories: 2 books which are between 450 - 550 pages in length; 2 books which are 551 - 750 pages in length; 2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length (for ideas, please refer to the book suggestions page for some books which fit into these categories).
  4. Mor-book-ly Obese - This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to EIGHT or more Chunksters of which three tomes MUST be 750 pages or more. You know you want to.....go on and give in to your cravings.

I'm going to go for level 2 The Plump Primer as I think 6 sounds like a reasonable number to commit myself to over an entire year. Most of the books I read are over 450 pages anyway so we'll see how I go at achieving this goal.

I'm currently also participating in the Summer Reading Challenge through Goodreads but have not been doing so well on this. I'm only up to my second book so far and have another 8 to get through before the end of March. Ha! Don't think it's going to happen but I'll keep trying anyway.

Has anyone else set themselves reading challenges for this year?

2012 New Year Resolutions

I know I'm a bit late in making this post but it's taken me a few days to actually decide on what New Year Resolutions I'd specifically make. I didn't want just the usual boring ones that I never seem to stick to. I wanted to make ones that would inspire me to improve as a person and ones that I knew I could actually stick with achieving.

So, in no particular order, here are my 2012 New Year Resolutions:

1) Be less stressed - I admit it. I am a huge stress head. I am very routine focused and struggle to function when my routines are disrupted. Something that I have struggled with greatly since having a new baby as there are no such things as routines anymore. I am also a big thinker and I struggle to 'switch off'. This year I really want to focus on not letting things get to me as much and just try to go with the flow a bit more.

2) Get back to my pre-baby health - I've struggled with losing my baby weight and now it's almost been 10 months I don't think I have any excuses anymore. I am going to aim to do some form of physical excercise at least 4 times a week and get back in the habit of walking our dogs when hubby gets home and can take bub off my hands, at least while the days are longer and I can take advantage of it being light a bit later in the day.

3) Be more adventurous - As mentioned above, I am a routine freak and therefore don't handle change or spur of the moment things very well. This year I want to try and embrace being a bit more adventurous and agreeable to things that are not in my comfort zone.

4) Make better use of my time - I used to be the most efficient person around pre-baby. Now, I am the best time waster known to man. There just isn't enough time when you have a small baby who craves your attention every waking moment and the productive time I do get when he's sleeping is what I really need to make better use of so that I don't feel so overwhelmed and lose days without getting anything done that I wanted to. I'm going to make a plan of things to do when bub is having his two sleeps a day (normally this is when I catch up on sleep or just crash on the lounge until he wakes up!) and I am going to stick with it. If he wakes up early or only has one sleep on a certain day, I'll just try and catch up the next time he sleeps for longer. This will hopefully assist with Resolution No. 1 above too.

5) Be more creative with my hair and makeup - This is not such a serious resolution but it's still something I want to try and achieve this year. I've gotten really lazy lately due to only working two days a week and the fact that I don't have to dress up in my corporate wear with full hair and makeup done every day anymore. My current job is still in the same industry I've always worked in but it's in a much more relaxed environment so I really don't have to make any effort at all with my appearance when I'm there. This has made me lazy on other days as well and this has to stop. I have to get out of my 'pony tail' rut and start actually making an effort again with my hair (I haven't actually had a haircut since March last year!) and I also need to start circulating my makeup a bit more. I get favourites that I use every day because they don't require thinking and I'm normally rushed but I want to start getting creative again and actually putting time aside to try and look nice again.

6) Finish my CPA - This is more of a goal than a resolution I guess but it's still something I want to achieve this year. If I keep going with the last two subjects I have left and actually pass them I'll finally be qualified by the end of this year. I'm not actually sure what I'm going to do with this once I've gotten it though. At the moment I work for myself doing contracting work so I have the flexibility I need with bub but can still earn some money but if the right offer comes along I may decide to go back to commercial work. We'll just have to wait and see.

7) Make more of an effort with hubby - We seem to be like ships in the night lately where we pretty much just pass each other in the hallway on our way to doing whatever we need to do. Poor hubby has two casual jobs he's trying to juggle on top of his regular full time job just to make up for the income we lost when I stopped working full time and this means there is very little time we have just to ourselves anymore. I want to aim to make more effort in the small amount of time we do have so we don't end up being no more than just roommates under the same roof.

So, there you have it. They're not exciting or anything but they are all things that I really want to make an effort in achieving this year.

Has anyone else gotten on the New Year Resolution bandwagon?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Liebster Blog Award - Yay!

First things first..... Happy New Year!! I hope everyone has a great New Year's Eve and came into 2012 on a good note. Personally, I'm hoping 2012 is a bit less full-on than 2011 was for us. Dealing with being pregnant with very high blood pressure and a separated pelvis, having one of our dogs get cancer that needed emergency surgery 5 weeks before our baby was born, then having our other dog develop epilepsy at virtually the same time, then finally having our gorgeous little man, then me having to deal with going from a professional accountant working extremely long hours to being a semi stay-at-home mum and beating my head against a wall to kill time, to us having to completely overturn our life financially as well, 2011 has frankly been exhausting! I'd love 2012 to be completely uneventful please :-)
Anyhoo, when I last logged into Blogger I noticed I received a lovely comment from Melanie at Yeah, yeah, ragger, ragger saying that she had nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award. I've seen these going around here and there lately and thought it was extremely nice to get a nomination and obviously it makes me feel happy and priviledged that someone actually reads what I write! Thank you so much Melanie :-)
"Liebster" is a German word which means dearest or beloved, but it can also mean favourite. The idea of the Liebster award is that it is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers, all in the spirit of fostering new connections and to bring attention to these brilliant blogs!
The rules are :
  1. Thank your nominator/s and link back their blog/s.
  2. Select & reveal your five chosen blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
  3. Advise your chosen blogs of their nomination via a comment on their blog.
  4. Copy and paste the award onto your own blog.
  5. Request that your award nominees then forward it on to their own chosen bloggers.
So, after careful consideration I have finally chosen the five blogs that I want to nominate for this award if they haven't been already. These five are:

1) Beauty Down Under - A great blog containing lots of makeup reviews, EOTD's and hauls.
2) Beauty in a Bottle - I just love the Tip of the Day!
3) ChloeBlue Likes to Sparkle - Some good reviews and NOTD's.
4) Lather, Rinse, Repeat - Very entertaining and lighthearted blog full of witty reviews. Always guaranteed to make me laugh.
5) Makeup and Me - Great blog full of variety in the form of reviews, hauls and NOTD's.

So there you have it. Please go and check out the above blogs if you get the chance. Hopefully you will find them as enjoyable as I do!

Wishing everyone a lovely week!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...