Sunday, February 15, 2015

David Jones deluxe sampler tote AW '15

I had a small mishap with my Frugal February challenge...I went to get a much-needed nail file and picked up this $19.95 David Jones sampler tote as well. I love them and get one every season (they come out twice per year). They usually contain generous and travel-friendly samples along with mini OPI nail polish.

So mine had 12 items in total...

David Jones Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner 60g each
Seems like everyone is jumping on Argan Oil  bandwagon. There are always David Jones products included in their range and usually I give them away but I don't mind using these myself. They have very subtle smell and have Macadamia Oil and Keratin too.

Napoleon Lip Gloss 0.7 mlMini lip gloss in nude pink shade. I am not a huge fan of their lip products so will probably gice this one away.

Ultraceuticals CC cream 5 ml
Recently I've switched from using heavy foundations to using BB cream. My skin feels a lot better as a result and my make-up is definitely more natural-looking. I am quite keen to try CC cream to see how it compares. This size is also perfect for my gym bag as I have to drag all my gear along with me to the CBD if I want to work out after work.

The Aromatherapy Co Therapy Feet Enriched Balm 30 ml
I actually needed a cream for my feet so I am really looking forward to trying this one. It is scented with rosemary and mint which is a nice bonus.

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap 60 mlLooks like a blend of oils that has "18-in1" uses...I've tried oil cleansing method before and still prefer the regular product (it has its uses still).

Guerlain Abeille Royale eye cream 5 ml
Anti-wrinkle eye cream. Guerlain makes gorgeous and luxurious products however I can't use anti-wrinkle range as they tend to be way too rich for my skin. Will give this one to my mum.

Amazing Grace firming body lotion 30 ml
Nicely scented body lotion in a handy plastic bottle.

Scottish Fine Soaps Shampoo 30 ml
Very plain and doesn't seem to have any special properties, might use it as my clarifying shampoo.
Dermatologica Barrier Repair cream 7 mlSupposed to create a "calming" barrier. Might be handy for me in winter when my skin tends to be a bit more dry and sensitive.

Ecoya Sweet Pea & Jasmine  mini candle 50 g
Probably my favorite product of this lot. It smells very very pretty and comes in a glass jar with a lid.

OPI mini nail polish in 4 in the Morning
From Gwen Stephanie collection. Darkest grey nail polish with satin-matte finish. Will be great with all my black and grey winter clothes.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

25 things to do instead of going shopping

There was a time when me and my other half got into a habit of going to our local shopping center every Thursday night...we would wonder around aimlessly and waste our money on things we didn't need. One day we decided to watch a movie instead and haven't looked back ever since. I still do more shopping then required so I am trying to recover from my shopping addiction and occupy myself with other more useful activities (esp. during my Frugal February challenge)...So I've compiled a list of things to do instead of shopping.

  1. Do a workout - either take advantage of that gym membership, do some exercised at home following YouTube videos or go for a walk/jog outside.
  2. Explore - discover a new suburb or park in your city or go for a drive to see cool places you have never been to.
  3. Pamper youself - give yourself a mani/pedi, do a face mask and put a treatment in your hair (even using your regular conditioner, leaving it for 15+ min), you can do it all at home by-yourself!
  4. Create nice dinner - with desert! Light few candles and enjoy it alone, with someone special or few friends.
  5. Chillax - take a bath, read some magazines (you can get some for free on iPad, library or from your friends).
  6. Get creative - draw, paint, sculpt or even make a jewellery
  7. Pinterest - start pinning things that interest you like art technique, home decor or hair styles
  8. Get in touch with friends and loved ones - call your grandma, sms good friend or send and email to someone you haven't been in touch for a while.
  9. De-clutter - not only it will make your place look better, cleaning easier and create more space but it will also make you realise how much stuff you already have!
  10. Embrace your hobbies - I am sure all of us had hobbies we once loved but put on hold due to lack of free time...
  11. Hang out with friends - invite them over or go for a walk and talk in the park
  12. Hang out at your local library - air-con, free books and magazines...great way to hide from heat ad relax
  13. Explore blogs - catch-up on your favorite blogs and discover new one based on your interest. I currently can't get enough of Apartment Therapy
  14. TED talks - I love watching TED talks on subjects that interest me, some speakers really changed my point of view.
  15. Self-development - work on qualities you want to improve upon
  16. Education - there are plenty of free or low-cost courses you can do...anything from art to science. I am currently enrolled in two free courses through
  17. Edit you wardrobe - come-up with new combinations and get rid of things you don't see yourself wearing
  18. eBay away - we all have things that are no longer used or needed. It is free to list on eBay so you will be surprised what can sell for quite a bit of $$$. I remember I got over 30 bids once on some random Tupperware plastic cookware I've never used.
  19. Read a book - I love spending half of my free day in bed with good book (either from my collection or Kobo e-reader)
  20. YouTube - I can spend hours watching my favorite music, how-to and trash TV (Extreme Cheapskates is my favorite ATM)
  21. Get Creative - draw a picture, write a poem or write a blog post...I love reflecting back on my creations of the past
  22. Clean your place - clean and clutter-free environment instantly lifts my mood
  23. Edit your email subscriptions - get rid of those email subscriptions you no longer need. I also unsubscribes from all tempting emails of sales and special offers. I am yet to regret a missed sale.
  24. Organise your photos- make a photo book or arrange them into online album.
  25. Take photos - I take my DSLR on one of my walks and take cool photos around my neighborhood (flowers, animals, cool buildings). Then upload them onto Instagram. My overseas friends often appreciate it as they miss those places.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Valentine's Day perfumes for her...

By Kilian Straight to Heaven

Deep and smoky woody fragrance with patchouli thrown into the mix. Femme Fatale type of scent :)

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noir EDT
Finally a fruity floral done right by this classic French perfume house. It combines notes of cherry, rose, apple, patchouli and jasmine into light and delicious combination.

Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming
Modern update of a classic rose scent with an addition of lychee note. JHAG doesn't have many scents in its collection but I love their scents because they use the highest quality ingredients and created by Romano Ricci Nina Ricci's             grandson.

Christian Dior Miss Dior Cherie

Youthful and flirtatious fruity chypre fragrance that is very popular for a reason. The formular has been tweaked since it came out in 2005 but the feel of the
                fragrance remains the same

L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse
Musky tuberose set in peppery base with fruit accord. Apparently it was inspired by Parisian nights. It reminds me of spring and it leave a gorgeous trail behind plus it lasts all day.

Narciso Rodriguez For Her EDT
One of my first must-have fragrances. I fell in love with this scent back in 2006 and had a bottle ever since. It is a musky white floral that has a gorgeous osmanthus in its composition. This fragrance definitely attracts a lot of attention!

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle hair mist
I prefer the hair mist version of this gorgeous classic scent. It tends to be lighter plus I get a trail of it every time wind blows my hair.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

...and another empties lot

Yay! Finished another lot of products. Soon I will be able to utilize all those occupied drawers with something more useful like gym clothes or singlets so it is better organized. My dream is to fit all my make-up and beauty products in my bathroom and only buy them when I finish the old ones. With current unfavourable exchange rate online shopping is not very tempting. So it makes it easier not to accumulate a stash of products purchased during flash sales.

1. Bioderma Exfoliating purifying gel

My overall impression - foaming cleanser with fine particles that will cleanse and exfoliate in one step. Gentle enough for daily use but not that great for make-up removal so it is better used in the morning.
Would I buy it again? - yes, I think it help to keep my breakouts under control.

2. Biotherm Aquasource moisturizer

My overall impression - gel-like cooling moisturiser with the signature marine Biotherm scent. It did take a bit longer for my liking to sink in but overall moisturised my skin well.
Would I buy it again? - yes, my skin seems to like Biotherm. On the downside it is no longer available in Australia and some online prices are becoming very high.

3. JOOP Le Bain Soft Moments shower gel

My overall impression - cool clear blue shower gel with gorgeous ambery-floral scent that lasted for good 30 minutes and filled my bathroom.
Would I buy it again? - Yes, if I can get it in special. I got it from strawberrynet and paid around $13 for it.

4. Klorane Dry Shampoo

My overall impression - this product tick all my boxes...It gives my hair volume, makes it nice and fresh, great for mild texturizing and has very subtle scent unlike a lot of other dry shampoos
Would I buy it again? - yes, no matter how many other dry shampoos I try I keep coming back to this one.

5. Bare Minerals Blemish Remedy powder foundation

My overall impression - I got a small trial sized product from USA Sephora and it actually lasted me a good 2 weeks! The powder itself was quite ordinary but I believe salicylic acid in this product did help with my breakouts.
Would I buy it again? - Perhaps, I still like the finish of my old favorite Prestige mineral foundation better. Still haven't decided if marginal benefits of this foundation are worth the sacrifice.

6. L'Occitane Amande shower oil

My overall impression - Gorgeously scented oil that foams up. I haven't seen a product like this before, it combines two products into one and saves time because you can skip the moisturizer! I used it during my US trip and it was perfect as the air in LA and Vegas was very dry.
Would I buy it again? - Yes, it is quite expensive so I tend to use it in winter/dry conditions. Quite often you can score it as GWP or on sale.

7. Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser

My overall impression - Creamy and gentle foaming cleanser that removes make-up exceptionally well. It doesn't leave my skin or tight either.
Would I buy it again? - Yes, it was my second tube and no doubt I will get more once I've finished all other cleansers in my stash

8. Tanline self-tan in a can
My overall impression -This stuff was very very dark. Probably the darkest spray tan I've ever tried. I applied it in my shower which has a screen and this stuff went everywhere. Rinsing it off the walls didn't remove all of it, I had to scrub it off! I couldn't sit on any light colored furniture or touch anything too. Once it was washed off after few hours it produced a medium tan. I threw away the remaining content of the bottle as result wasn't worth the effort.
Would I buy it again? - No way, there are easier to use products out there that produce better results.

9. Vichy lip balm

My overall impression - paraben-free, colour-free, flavour-free, shine-free  moisturizing lip balm. It is great under the lipstick due to light texture but not as fun as flavored lip balms.
Would I buy it again? Yes, even though its not my favorite it was still nice to use.

10. Reef  SPF 30+ suncreen lotion
My overall impression - IMO the best sunscreen lotion on Australian market! It has great coconut scent, good texture and it absorbs well into the skin leaving nice sheen instead of making you look like a ghost (not the look we want at the beach). It is 4 h water resistant too!
Would I buy it again? - Hell yeah!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Frugal February

Yes, it that time of the year when your post-Christmas bills star to arrive and you realize that you were a bit too enthusiastic with January sales. I want to do a minimal-spend February where I only spend money on essentials.

photo borrowed from

I would like to see how much money I will manage to save and also re-evaluate my wants vs. needs.

Some guidelines I am planning to impose on myself:
  • Use phone app to track spending and income and note everything - bills, lunches, groceries etc. I use Expense IQ app on my Samsung and find it very useful as it gives me a breakdown and visual graph by category. It is also like keeping a food diary - makes you think twice before splurging on something.
  • Create a budget and stick to it.
  • No spending on non-essentials like clothes, make-up and other self-indulgent items.
  • Shop at cheaper grocery stores like Aldi for essentials, then get specific items from Coles/Woolies.
  • Cook at home as much as possible.
  • Minimize take-outs. I want to limit myself to 3 meals per week as it is not always possible to bring my own lunch. But I will keep some essentials at work to snack on or whip up a quick lunch such as nuts, canned tuna, crackers and fruit.
  • Find ways to entertain and socialize on a budget - cheap movie nights (our local cinema has $7 tickets on Tuesdays), picnics in the park, home movies and hangouts.
  • Spend free from shopping time on looking for better deals on loans, insurance and phone.
  • Don't even read those promotional email! Delete straight away or even better unsubscribe to remove the temptation.
  • No shopping around, avoid shopping centres all together.
I will try to report my progress throughout the month and let you know at the end how much I've managed to save.