Monday, December 26, 2016

Boxing Day Sales 2016

Today I got up nice and early so I could beat the mad rush and get to the boxing sales early. I wasn't brave enough to go to my local shopping centre as the parking over there would be nearly impossible to find so Brisbane CBD seemed like a better idea. I scored a parking spot only 10 minute walk to the shopping precinct and arrived to the shops at 9 20 am.

David Jones was my first stop and let me tell you it was already packed. I quickly made my way to Guerlain counter and the perfume selection and there was nothing that grabbed my attention. On my way out I've spotted Kiehl's Midnight recovery 15ml reduced to $28 so I grabbed all three. I've used this oil before and I love the way it makes my skin feel and look.

After DJ I went downstirs to Kikki K and picked up a Cute Diary pack for $20.97 reduced from $34.95 and Bucket List journal from $17.47 reduced from $24.95. I have only discovered Kikki K recently and think it is very cute store.

On the way to the Myer Centre I stopped by at Lululemon and Windsor Smith but there was nothing that really grabbed my attention. Lush was on my list but the line-up was huge so I've decided to pay Myer a visit first. I got Benefit Pinky Galore set for $55 reduced from $79. It came in the ugliest huge tin packaging in a shape of a head that I also found very wasteful but the products inside were outstanding. It contained full size Dandelion powder (RRP $51), full size the POREfessional (RRP $53), plus a mini Roller Lash and Benetints worth $20.

My next stop was L'Occitane where I found Pamplemousse Rhubarbe fragrance reduced to $51.20. It is the most gorgeous and realistic grapefruit scent and I feel to happy that I found it. So if you see it get it because it has been discontinued!

At the end I have decided to join the Lush cue that was sooo long and it literally took me half an hour before I could step into the store. However it made shopping inside the more quite pleasant as I wasn't tripping over people. All their Christmas range was half price so I got Santa in Space pack for $24.90 and Merry Christmas pack for $18.75. I am loaded with bath bombs now as Santa in Space contained two in Intergalactic and Northern light plus Twilight shower gel, Big Bang bubble bar and Santa fun soap thingy. Merry Christmas pack had four in Golden Wonder, So White, Lord of Misrule and Shoot for the Stars. All of them smell gorgeous!

By the time I was finished it was lunch time so I got rice noodle chicken salad from Ms. Chi Qi, I am a big fan as their food is always fresh and tastes delicious.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Marie Clare The Parcel - Summer '16

I was very impressed with the early delivery of The Parcel this time round.
It is all about summer and has everything to make you more tanned, protect you from the sun, rehydrate your hair and get rid of the unwanted body hair.

Upon closer inspection "Chemist Warehouse" came to mind as the majority of the brands on offer can be found at the discount pharmacies and Priceline. Nevertheless I am keen to try them out.

1. Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturiser...$10.99
This product caught my eye the other day when I was browsing my local supermarket. It is a gradual tanner that supposed to keep your skin nicely moisturised and not have that fake tan smell. To me it smells very similar to Dove gradual tanner, lets just hope that the formula gets absorbed nicely unlike Dove that likes to sit on my skin.

2. Avene Micellar Lotion...$30.95
I get a new bottle of Micellar water in nearly every box which I don't mind as I do use it (takes me ages to go through a bottle through). This one has very nice creamy Avene scent.

3. Nude by Nature Sheer Glow...$15
This is the second time I got Nude by Nature in the completely wrong shade. This time my BB cream is Deep Tan while I am super fair. I swatched it on my hand and it is definitely not for me - too oily for my liking.

4. Palmer's Coconut Oil Body Lotion...$1.50
Good 'ol Palmer's. I went through bottles of the Shea Butter lotion. This one feels very nice on my skin but has very strong coconut scent. So if you are a fan of coconut anything this one is for you.

5. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Cleansing Pads...$2.50
I do get congested skin from time to time of I use wrong products so I would be very keen to see if these can clear up my complexion. If yes I will stock up as they are a much more affordable alternative to Dr. Dennis Gross ones.

6. Banana Boat SunComfort Lotion...$5.70
Not very exciting but necessary product. It still smells like plain and boring sunscreen but  supposed to be lightweight and non-sticky. I like tiny bottles as I find them very handy for travel.

7. Swisse Manuka Honey Mask...$2.80
I've been liking Swisse products so far. I think the quality is pretty good for a modest price. Looks like they have jumped on the mask bandwagon and came up with this Manuka Honey mask that also contains Kaolin and Charcoal to detox skin. Apparently it is ideal for blemish-prone and congested skin so if I like it I would go and get a full size one.

8. Klorane Strenghething Conditioner...$13.95
I've used the shampoo from this range before and really liked it. It used natural extracts and has pleasant herbal scent.

9. Morrocanoil treatment...$5.99
I have been using this product for years! It makes my hair smooth and shiny without weighting it down. Plus it has beautiful scent that lasts on your hair. I wouldn't use it all the time though as it can build-up in hair and make it brittle and discoloured.

10. Schick Hydro Silk...14.25
To be honest I would rather receive something else as I have other preferred methods of removing body hair. Perhaps I will treat it as a disposable shaver and take it with me on my next trip.

So this lot comes at just over $100 which is still a good value for a $25 box. I wish it had more lux samples as opposed to mass-market full sized products .


Monday, October 03, 2016

Recent Empties - July to September '16

Another lot of ten products done and dusted. I must say I did enjoy most of them and I think it is a good place to be as I no longer tend to buy many products I don't particularly like. The exception would be the products I get from my subscription boxes or sampler totes but that's what they are for in the first place.

1. Nesti Dante Dolce Viviere Portofino Soap

My overall impression - Gorgeously scented Italian soap that has been manufactured for over 70 years in Tuscany. It is the best soap I have ever used! It doesn't go soggy, leathers up like a dream and doesn't dry my skin out too much. Plus it comes in a lot of different scents but the Dolce Viviere line that has been inspired by Italian cities is my favorite. And they come wrapped in luxurious paper.

Would I buy it again? Definitely, I am currently obsessed with the line and got probably two kilos worth from Strawberrynet the other day. I have also seem them at small florist shops and upmarket homewares stores (I actually discovered them at Catalina's Gifts and Homewares)

2. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Mask
 My overall impression - I first heard of this brand from American Youtubers because Aussie brand is actually not available in Australia (funny that). We had some time to kill in a small town between LA and SF so we decided to explore local Kmart. I walked out with this mask and 1 kg Snickers bar (no joke, it was a gift for in-laws). I found that my skin and hair was extra dry when I was in US so I can see why they have to use potent moisturizers over there. This mask is super super rich so I had to use it before shampooing my hair otherwise it would weight it down.

Would I buy it again? I would probably pick one up if I was going to the States again to primarily use it over there. Otherwise I wouldn't go out of my way to get it. But it is a very good product for the price you pay.

3. Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Foot Scrub

My overall impression - Marine-scented coarse (pumice or sand?) foot scrub suspended in creamy blue base. I picked it up on sale so it was an alright product. Can't say that it did anything special though.

Would I buy it again? I believe this product is no longer being made so I would rather get something else than try to hunt it down.

 4. Lancome Hypnose Mascara

My overall impression -I keep coming back to this particular mascara. It made HG status in my books. It gives me decent volume and length in just one to two layers (unlike some other mascaras that I have to apply for what feel like eternity to get good results). Plus it dries to a nice black shade.

Would I buy it again?..and again, and again.

5. Biotherm Aquasource Moisturiser

My overall impression - It has a weird gel-cream consistency that didn't quite feel very moisturising and at the same time it sat on my skin. Plus it had strong marine scent that I did like at first but them it started to annoy me.

Would I buy it again? No, there are better moisturisers out there for me.

6 & 7. L'Occitane Angelica Toner and Hydra Vital Gel

My overall impression - I got this exact pack before I went overseas for a month. It was just enough to last me that time. The toner was good, nice and getle yet it picked up residual make-up. The gel moisturiser didn't do much for me, it just sat on my skin without hydrating it properly (similar to the  Boitherm above)

Would I buy it again? No, both products didn't impress me that much.

8. Revita for Blonder Conditioner

My overall impression - My awesome hairdresser recommended me this product to neutralize any brassiness in my hair. It does exactly what it supposed to while leaving my hair nice and soft. I found it was more blue that purple but I still really liked it.

Would I buy it again? Yes, it did exactly what it promised.

9. Vichy Normaderm Night Detox Moisturiser

My overall impression - I have to thank this product for helping to clear up my breakouts. I discovered it last year when I was overseas (sadly Vichy is not available in Australia). For those who don't know Vichy is a French brand and it is based on the thermal waters from a town that shared the same name. It is sold primarily through pharmacies throughout Europe. It is not very expensive, nor super lux but it is effective! Every single product that I've tried did exactly what it supposed to.

Would I buy it again? Yes, in fact I have already stocked up! I alternate it with my face oil at night or even mix few drops in during cooler months for extra moisture. I am very happy with my skin at the moment and I will continue using it.

10. Rexona Silver Deodorant Aerosol

My overall impression - Probably something we have all used so I won't go into too much detail.

Would I buy it again? Probably not, it would leave me in a suffocating cloud so I have switched to stick and roll-on types that I found to be even more effective.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Parcel by Marie Claire...Spring'16

A week after my delayed Winter parcel I got my hands on the Spring'16 edition. From the first glance I knew I was going to like it.

It contains a lot of goodies to prepare you for the coming warmer season and achieve that glowing bronzed skin, revive hair after winter and inspire you to get a new scent. So here is what I got...

1. Essano Argain Oil Shampoo and Conditioner...value$15.99
They are 50 mls each so they are perfect for a prolonged overseas trip or enough for you to try out the product. They are supposed to be professional quality but at the same time they don't contain any "harmful chemicals".

2. St Tropez Tanning Glove...value $11.99
Tanning gloves changed my world! No more stained hands and patchy application. I will definitely use this one a lot once my current tanning glove dies.

3. St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse...value $12.50
Cult tanning foam that has been around for many many years. This one is supposed to have new scent. I love these travel-friendly bottles, saves me from bringing a whole 250 mls on my trips.

4. Nude by Nature Mineral Cover...value $5.30
I really wanted to try this product but unfortunately Medium shade is way too dark. Looks like I will have to give it away.

5. Maybelline The Nudes Palette...value $25.95
Very nice selection of bronze, golden, taupe and basic shades. However I already have UD Naked palettes so I will give this one away.  

6. Nuxe Hiule Prodigieuse Dry Oil...value $5.40
I already have a full-sized bottle of this body oil and I must say it is one of the most beautifully-scented and luxurious body products I own. You can use it on you body, face or hair. Tropical scent definitely calls for this product to be taken on my next tropical getaway

7. Sun Sense Sensitive Invisible Sunscreen...value $1.45
Not very exciting product but so necessary! This little pack will be a life-saver when I am caught outdoors without sunscreen.

8. The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Mask...value $3.00
I love how masks are becoming very popular again and so many brands are making them now. This purifying mask has a mixture of clays and oils to make your skin clear and supple.

9. MOR Mon Amie Gigi Luminous Body Milk...value $16.95
This body milk comes in a convenient pray bottle for quick application, has super light texture and pleasant green-floral scent. 

10. Narciso Rodriguez for Her EDT...value $10
I fell in love with this scent ever since it came out over 10 years ago. I have a full bottle, miniature and purse spray. It smells sexy. classy and clean thanks to osmanthus and musk all set in a creamy amber and vanilla base.

11. C Lab & Co Coffee Scrub...value $9.95
In-shower coffee scrub that is supposed to target cellulite, stretch marks and skin imperfections. Apart from coffee it also has coconut extract and sweet almond oil.

The Parcel really redeemed themselves this time. You get close to $120 worth of products and most of them are highed-end ones. I think you can easily use this parcel to have a full pampering session at home.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Marie Clare The Parcel...Winter 2016 (finally)

My review for winter edition of The Parcel was long overdue. No, I haven't been slack, in fact I only received it the other day after writing them several emails and making inquiries at my local post office. Turns out it was delivered to a completely wrong person who signed for it. I was initially told to chase it myself but it resulted in nothing. So I have demanded a tracking number for my spring parcel outlining the whole situation and finally got an apology and the parcel was delivered to me.

 My initial thought when I opened this box was "Priceline's finest selection". I don't have anything against Priceline, in fact I love getting some products from them but this is supposed to be a higher end box and I can't see any high-end products in here.

1. Colgate Optic White Toothpaste...value $2.50
I work in a dental office so I get the abundance of samples. Plus I know that this products doesn't really work and is likely to make my teeth sensitive. Professional whitening is your best bet if you want whiter teeth (strips at very least)

2. Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm...value $12.95
I swear that every single Burt's Bees product I got was either from one of these boxes or DJ's sampler totes. It has a nice pink tint to it which will be good for summer.
3. Frizz Ease Anti-Fizz Primer...value $16.99
I won't even bother with this products as my hair is fine and not fizzy so it will probably weigh it down like there is no tomorrow.
4. Klorane Shampoo with Quinine and B Vitamins...value $1.30
it has nice herbal scent and I generally have a good luck with Klorane products. It would be nice to have matching conditioner.
5. Rituals Fortune Oil...value $1.80
This oil to foam shower oil reminds me of my favorite L'Occitane products. Except L'occitane smells nicer, this one reminds me of O'Cedar furniture polish. I think am still going to enjoy using it. 

6. MOR Rosa Noir Hand and Body Milk...value $4
Nicely scented body lotion that absorbs well however they have already included it into their Spring '15  parcel

7. Nivea Micellar Water...value $9.97
Not very exciting product but I bet it will be used to the last drop. I much prefer micellar water to the oily make-up removers and currently loving my Vichy Normaderm one.

8. The Body Shop Drops of Youth Concentrate...value $9.80
I am still upset that TBS discontinues their Vitamin E face oil. This product is somewhere in between serum and oil.

9. Garnier Miracle Wake-up Cream...value $19.99
I had a laugh at the exuberant claims on the box. In all honesty this product would sell much better IMO if it was labelled as a make-up primer as it is loaded with silicones and is going to make your skin matte and smooth prior to make-up application.

Out of all Marie Clare's boxes this one is the most disappointing so far. Even the value of all products is much lower than the usual (approx. $79) plus there is no high-end products to try. I hope my spring parcel which is due to arrive next week delivers much more otherwise I am ending my subscription.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Billion Dollar Brows Best Sellers Kit review

Groomed eye brows been in the spotlight for a number of years now. They went from being well-defined, to fill and bold to full and natural. Gone are the days when I could limit my eye brow routine just to penciling them in and maybe brushing them once in a while. Now I have several pencils, powders, gel with fibre and now this BDB Best Sellers Kit.

I picked it up from Mecca couple of days ago.

The web-site version had a sharpener but mine didn't...perhaps it was a bonus offer...

 It came brow grooming gel, universal brow pencil, duo concealer pencil and concealer brush...all for $52 which is a great value considering they retail for $26-29 alone!

1. Brow gel holds them in place and gives them a nice sheen.

2. Universal pencil is very pigmented and soft so it lets you create a good shape without drugging your skin. The shade is pretty nice too - reddish taupe brown.

3. Duo concealer. Probably my favorite product as it really helps you to create perfect brow and waxy texture is also perfect for covering up blemishes (my other concealers I find are too creamy for that). I use darker shade above the brow and the lighter one as a highlight under my brow.

4. Concealer brush is perfect for blending out the product while still preserving a sharp line around you brows.

Now before and after...

As you can see I have zero make-up in my first picture and my powerful camera lens is not doing me any favors. My natural brows are tinted with light brown dye but are quite sparse.

Brow Kit later...Hello eye brows! I feel like Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon. It is definitely a welcome addition to my growing make-up collection!

Sunday, September 04, 2016

David Jones Deluxe sampler tote S/S '16

As you may know I love getting bi-annual David Jones sampler tote as they are excellent value and you get to try a lot of products. Today I popped in to get a make-up brush cleanser and picked up one of the totes containing nine beauty products.

1. St Tropez Self-tan Express.
This product is similar to their original foam, except you can shower after one hour. The tan is supposed to still develop after that. Perfect if you don't want to ruin sheets or have to be tanned asap. This one would be perfect for traveling.

2. StriVectin Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles and Stretch Marks.
It retails for a lot of money so it is nice to try it out before splurging on a full sized tube.

3. Molton Brown Shower Gel.
This one is lily of the valley and star anise. Gorgeous gorgeous scent, pity they are so expensive with fairly average ingredients. I love putting those mini shower gels into my gym bag.

4. MOR Mon Amie Hand Cream
It smells like their candied almond candle! Stunning scent and cute packaging. Love this hand cream already. 

5. Natio Lip Balm.
I had it before, it is as plain as lip balm get but at least it is good for summer as it is SPF 30

6. Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm.
No shortage of lip balms in this edition. This one has really nice minty scent and contains coconut and almond oils so it can also double as a cuticle balm.

7&8. Grown Alchemist Shampoo and Conditioner.
They have the most gorgeous rose and sage scent, let's hope my hair will like them. 50 ml is a perfect travel size that should last me for couple of weeks.

9. Napoleon Mattetastic Lipstick Quad.
Flattering shades of nude, rosy pink, coral and rose brown in a small plastic container. I don't wear lipstick that often so I am glad I can experiment with small quantities to begin with.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My tanning essentials.

Warm weather hot Brisbane suddenly and I wore shorts for the first time to get a bit of sun on my super pale legs. I don't tan naturally very well so I have to rely on a self-tanners to give me a bit of summery glow. These are the products I've been loving lately.

1. J by Jennifer Hawkins tanning glove. I find that it is the sturdiest tanning glove I've used (other fell apart after few washes). It has been going strong for me for over 10 tans giving me a smooth and even application each time. 

2. 1000 Hour little black after tan dress. Two things went through my head when I saw it - where have you been all my life and why haven't I thought of it first. This dress is perfect for tanning - loose, soft, features a shelf bra that doesn't dig in and has a high-low hem so you don't leave tan marks when you sit down. Comes with a bonus hair tie too. 

3. Bondi Sands foam in dark.
Very very good tanning foam that it often very reasonably priced. It has very minimal fake tan smell, gives you a gorgeous and even colour due to pink base and is easy to apply. 

4. Bondi Sands gradual tan.
Super moisturising gradual tan that smells like cocoa butter and leaves no residue behind. It makes my skin feel soft and moisturised and I can see a hint of colour just after one application.

5. Garnier body tonic sugar scrub.
I've been using this product for years. Probably my favourite body scrub so far. It exfoliates well, has gorgeous citrus scent and doesn't cost very much. I will keep buying it for as long as they keep making it. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

My recent purchases


I had fair few changes in the last couple of months. Such as finding a new job and going from having three months off to working full time. Hence why I can finally spend some money on little luxuries. 

I do wear prescription glasses and have a health cover so when it rolled over on the first of July I decided to treat myself to a new pair. I stopped at 
Laubman & Pank at Carindale and fell in love with Ray-Ban Erika sunglasses. A week later they got fitted with my prescription and viola I have a new pair of awesome sunglasses. 

I have been shopping on Strawberrynet again and picked up new Guerlain Allegoria fragrance - Limon Verde who his a refreshing sweet green citrus. Plus I couldn't resist another Nesti Dante soap. I've discovered them few months ago and they are my favourite soaps right now. They are all beautifully scented and have a huge variety to choose from, create gorgeous silky leather and fill my whole bathroom with gorgeous scent. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Today I received...

Today was like my second birthday. Everything arrived at once, two parcels, passport and a new mattress! As well as the phone call to attend an interview tomorrow :)

I have been looking for a nice black leather backpack and wasn't quite satisfied with the offering you find in department and chain stores. Until I saw this backpack from Rebecca Minkoff! I managed to find it on (US site that has amazing deals on designer items) and patiently waited for a discount code. When 30% off promo popped up in my mail box I snapped it up. It has perfect size and shape, made from sturdy leather and can be worn with casual as well as work attire.

I wanted a new concealer as I find my current one is a but too sheer so I went back to Lancome Effacernes. Myer and David Jones didn't have any promotions and Lancome official site was out of stock so I turned to Strawberrynet. They had it in a shade lighter to my usual 02 Beige Sable but quick google image search indicated it will be suitable for my skin. 01 Beige Pastel does seem to be significantly lighter and more neutral as opposed to warm toned, yet it still does a good job hiding dark circles without caking or settling in lines.

Because SN has a minimum spend now to qualify for a free shipping I had to search for something else to add to my basket. Mother's Day gift promotion had so many good deal on perfumes that I ended up blind buying two - Ivoire by Balmain and Twin by Azzaro.

Ivoire is a  modern remake of their classic scent. It smells sophisticated but clean, subtle and approachable. It has a complex composition like many other perfumes of the past, starting with citrus and daisy, progressing into a floral middle and settling with woody basenotes.

Twin has a very futuristic looking bottle design. It reminds me of something you see in the museum of modern art. The scent itself has a Dove soap or almond moisturiser vibe - creamy, clean and comforting.  The composition has almond flower, musk peach and a hint of rose. I think it would make a perfect lazy Sunday scent when all you feel like doing is lounging on the couch in your favorite sweater listening to chill on TuneIn Radio.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Making the most out of my current situation...

Five weeks ago I suddenly lost my job and it was the first time in twelve years when I didn't have to get up and go to work or uni (not counting holidays). First couple of weeks were a bit distressing as I was worried about my future but then I really started to embrace my current situation.

I don't get any government payments and been living off my redundancy payout and a bit of money that has been trickling in through temping and eBay.  Since I have a bit of time up my sleeve I can be assertive with the potential employers and really would like to find an ideal workplace as opposed to jumping on any opportunity given to me. At the end I would like to stay there for a while and be happy with my workplace.

I found so many ways to unitize my time apart from just sitting around and job searching. So this is what I've done without spending no or very little money to keep myself entertained:
  • Started playing some games I had lying around (mainly Nintendo).
  • Embraced oil painting, started educating myself about it through reading books and watching YouTube videos and even finished one piece.
  • Started reading Crime and Punishment by F. Dostoevsky (found a free copy in Kobo store and downloaded it on my reader).
  • Rented out some interesting books and magazines from council library.
  • Listed a lot of unwanted stuff on eBay and Gumtree.
  • Been excising almost daily and taking advantage of my gym membership.
  • Kept my house very clean and did few home improvement projects.
  • Had plenty of time to seek out amazing deals on thing we need.
  • Cooked 90% of out meals and been sending my husband to work with nice lunch.
  • Spending a lot of time with my cats and giving them plenty of love and cuddles.
  • Catching up with my friends and getting in touch with people I haven't seen for a while.
  • Skyping my relatives overseas more. 
  • Taking a good care of my plants and my fish tank.
  • Exploring Brisbane more, like I walked the other day for 15 kms through the neighborhood I haven't explored before. 
  • Taking care of my personal appearance using stuff that I alreadt had lying around - manis and pedis, fake tans and face masks.
  • Blogging more :)
I don't know how long it will last because I have another interview lined up and it looks promising as I was recommended for that position but I would like to make the most of time free time I have.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lancome Miracle Air de Teint Foundation review

I remember browsing my local department store last year and coming across Lancome sale. This foundation was reduced from $59 to $39 so it was a pretty good deal for a high-end product.

 It had light to medium coverage and claimed to be a "perfecting fluid and matte glow creator".  I used to use medium to heavy coverage products even though my skin was good apart from occasional breakout (believing I was creating a good canvas for my make-up). I've tried it on my hand and never looked back!

It had very appealing glass bottle with a dropper and the foundation itself felt like serum on my skin.

There was no heaviness, drying or tingling. It was very easy to work with and despite its very light texture and coverage it gave my skin very polished finish yet still let my natural freckles come through.

Best of all my skin improved dramatically after using this foundation for a few months (I am on my second or third bottle). I had congested skin for ages and I suspect that other formulas were contributing to my breakouts.

I have fair skin (MAC NC 25) so I got this product in shade 01 Beige Alabatre. I tend to go for yellow-based foundation as it gives my skin a healthy glow and neutralizes any grey or red tones. Because this product is so light it doesn't look streaky or patchy and tend to wear out evenly. I find that I need to re-apply my foundation or top it up with some powder if I want to get same coverage after about 8 hours.

So in summary it is a great product if you don't need a super heavy coverage, want something that feels light yet makes your skin look polished and made-up. Bonus points for matte finish which is predominantly found in heavier formulas.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rescue Orchid update

Do you remember that Orchid I've rescued back in January? It produced a secondary spike and a new leaf!

Isn't it gorgeous? :) I keep my Phalaenopsis orchids downstairs in my garage on the windowsill. My plan is to bring them upstairs once they are in bloom so I can enjoy them more.
at the moment they stay mostly in water but as it gets cooler I am planning to go back to semi-water culture (letting them stand without water for couple of days). It seems to work well so far and I haven't lost an orchid in a long-long time.

In terms of personal updates it has been almost two weeks of me not working. I am somewhat enjoying it as I find myself to be less stressed and more healthy as I have been exercising more and cooking mostly at home. As a bonus my house is extra clean and I've been seeing my friends a lot more. On the other side I do feel like I am lacking a structure to my week and I wish I had more certainty.

I have been proactive with my job search and landed an interview last week. It was a small business and several red flags popped up. It was mentioned to me that one of the previous employees left due to mental breakdown, I was asked if I had children and whether I was planning to have some soon and when I answered "No" the response was "Yeah, that's what someone else said and ended up pregnant in two months"! I bet he wouldn't ask me those questions if I was a male. My husband wasn't happy either.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Marie Claire The Parcel - Autumn '16

Couple of week ago I got an email advising me that I can go and pick up my parcel from Marie Claire. I went there with my card but instead was handed a huge parcel from The Catch of the Day. I never shop with them so I've suspected that something went wrong. It turned out that the sticker from my parcel peeled off at the warehouse and got stuck to the wrong parcel and mine was apparently sitting at the warehouse without any identification. Australia Post and Marie Claire were contacted, few days later I was informed that the new parcel will be mailed to me and today it was waiting for me in my letterbox.

I am so glad I received this parcel because I love every single thing!

1. Gilded Cage Unleashed Lipstick in 117...value $40
Luxury orange red lipstick that comes in a gorgeous dark green container and it is made in Italy! I don't tend to spend a lot of money on lipsticks so I love the fact that I will get to try a premium product that I probably wouldn't buy myself.

2. OPI Nail Polish in Suzis Hungary Again...value $19.95
Warm bright pink in their signature cream formula.

3. Crop Pure Macadamia Oil...value $18
Multi-purpose oil that can be used in face, nails and hair. I am not sure if it is going to be light enough for me so I might send it to some family overseas as they might appreciate it more.

4. MOR Blood Orange Soap...value $19.95
The first thing that I've noticed about the parcel was this lush citrus scent and surprise surprise I get another bar of MOR soap. I literally just finished the Gardenia one I got in one of the previous parcels and loved it because it was so creamy and filled my entire place with the most gorgeous scent.

5. Garnier Micellar Water...value $6.95
Very keen to try this much cheaper alternative to my usual Bioderma one.

6. Estee Lauder New Dimention Serum...value $18
I haven't ourchased a serum in a long long time because I keep receiving them as samples. This one is supposed to smooth and plump the skin over time. Keen to try this one on my neck as I feel like it needs more attention.

Another great selection of products with the value over $120. Looking forward to my next one :)


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St.Patrick's Day - my favorite green things.

St. Patrick's Day to me is all things Irish and Green. I am not even remotely Irish but I do have a shared passion of beer and potatoes. So I want to present to you all my favorite green things!

Amouage Epic Woman 
This fragrance is indeed epic! Smoky, woody, spicy layered with rose. I guarantee you haven't smelled anything like it before. It smells expensive, timeless and divine. Easily one of my favorite scents and I have a lot of perfumes! I use it sparingly and it lasts all day.

Korres Water Lily shower gel
My Korres obsession started with their famous lip butter. All their stuff has the most gorgeous natural scents. Water Lily smells like fresh and delicate blossoms that fills your whole bathroom.

Illamasqua Nail Polish in Viridian
Illamasqua makes one of the best nail polishes hands down! They do take slightly longer to dry but last for several days without chipping. Viridian is a gorgeous shade of peacock green that is infused with blue and silver glass flecks.

Vichy Normaderm Night Detox cream
This product really prevents my skin from breaking out. I alternate it with oil and my skin is glowing and free from congestions and breakouts. It has very light texture yet feels non-drying and little goes a long way.

NARS Dual Intensity eye shadow in Pasiphae
Stunning iridescent green shade suspended in reddish brown base. It can be used dry as a sheer wash or wet for intense colour. It makes my hazel eyes pop and I get lots of complements when I wear it.

Vichy Normaderm cleansing gel
I used it as my AM cleanser and together with Detox Night creme it keeps my skin clear. It has very soft scent and makes my skin feel clean and refreshed without over-drying it. I prefer using a different cleanser to remove my make-up but this product is perfect to use first thing in the morning.

L'Occitane Angelica exfoliating gel
Contains soft and squishy exfoliating particles that gently get rid of dead skin cells without irritating the skin. After using couple of samples I went and got myself a tube of this stuff.

Aerin Waterlily Sun 
Green aquatic fragrance that is perfect for warmer weather. It smells clean and sunny and comes in gorgeous heavy glass bottle with pretty green cap.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Unforeseen circumstances

Couple of years ago I was very very stressed for a long time. I've reached a point where I had to seek professional help and it did pay off. I came up with plans A, B and C, sorted my finances and other aspects of my life...

Everything was sailing smoothly and I just returned from a ten day holiday where I took this beautiful photo.

So yesterday was just another Monday, I returned to work and was warmly welcomed back by my colleagues. I was happy to see everyone and actually didn't mind being there. I suspected nothing until all three members of our department was asked to attend a meeting. I saw a senior management there and an Angel of Death from HR, I knew something was up. We got informed that our whole department is being made redundant. WOW! I was never made redundant before but have a lot of friends and family who have. Surprisingly, even for myself, I took the news well. I think it helped stressing about it a long time ago and realizing that it is not the end of the world. While I will miss my workplace and my colleagues I see it as a new chapter of my life. The only thing I am worrying about is uncertainty. 

Otherwise I treat it as a bit of a break and me time. Finally I can embrace it an do things I never had a chance to before. So this is what I am planning to do to keep myself occupied, happy and sane:
  • Have schedule for at least few hours per day.
  • Wake-up and go to bed around normal times (trust me I can easily stay up until 3 am and wake up at 12).
  • Do at least one work-related activity per day (M-F), be it a job search, LinkedIn update, expression of interest or approaching people I know.
  • Don't let housework and personal grooming slide - schedule it in the day. Now there is no excuse for chipped nail polish or messy living room.
  • It is a very good time to de-clutter. Even though I got rid of few things last year I can re-assess my belonging and get rid of few things. 
  • Exercise! There is no excuses now and going to the gym or a walk is a good way to get out of the house. 
  • Cooking. Home-made meals not only tastier and healthier but they also cost significantly less.
  • Take time to do things I enjoy - painting, Pinterest, blogging, playing video games and watching TV.
 On the downside I really have to watch my finances and stick to the basics. Luckily I got rid of my credit card debt last year and have no debts apart from mortgage. I also got a payout that I have to stretch out to cover my repayments for the near future. Luckily I was indulging myself prior and I have a good supply of make-up, hair products, perfumes, skincare, clothes and gym wear to last me a while and don't feel deprived.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Frugal February

The party season is officially over, life is back to normal and it is a good time of the year to start managing and planning your finances.

I did Frugal February for couple of years now and it helped me to achieve my goals. Last year my goal was to get rid of credit cards and get a better home loan. Those goals were achieved and I have gained more freedom and happiness while stress and anxiety reduced in a lot of aspects of my life.

Throughout the year I have also referred to a lot of articles, videos and books on more streamlined, minimalistic and simplified way of living. I've read The Joy of Less by Francine Jay, listened to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up audiobook by Marie Kondo and found this great post on Apartment Therapy blog. I did improve in many ways but I am still not perfect. My apartment doesn't resemble a minimalistic display home but it is much tidier. My wardrobe has way more than 30 items of clothing but I am more assertive with my choices.

By doing Frugal February challenge I hope to achieve the following:

- Invest time I would normally spend shopping into other more productive and useful activities like embracing my existing hobbies without spending more money, pleasantly surprising someone with email or phone call or relaxing and having me-time.

- Avoid eating-out and embrace home-cooking instead. Better for my wallet and my health, esp. if I learn a few new healthy recipes.

- Become more environmentally-conscious, reduce consumption and re-cycle where possible. Think turning old t-shirts into wiping cloths or embracing fun projects like turning an old pair of jeans into a skirt or making a funky knitted bath rug out of old towels.

- Save towards my holidays later in the year. I hope to have enough to take me to Europe for few weeks in September - October.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

S/S 2016 empties

I haven't done empties post for a while now and in that time I've finished more than 30 items. So here is the list of most recent ones that I finished since October.

1. Guerlain Terracotta Light Bronzer in  02 Blondes

My overall impression - I did a review of this bronzer back in 2013 and you can read it here. I did enjoy using it and never got sick of it. It lasted me over two years as well and it was used several times per week. It was super sheer yet it gave my complexion a nice glow without making my skin look too shimmery or dirty. Gorgeous compact however broke at the hinge after few months so I couldn't take it anywhere with me.

Would I buy it again? - Yes, definitely! It is one of the most natural-looking bronzers I've used. I hope Guerlain won't discontinue it but I wish that packaging would be a bit sturdier.

2 + 3. MAC Brow Pencil in Fling and Lingering  

My overall impression - Precise and long-lasting brow pencil that doesn't need sharpening. Due to extra fine point it is very easy to create perfect strokes and achieve a very natural look. It does however finish up pretty quickly. I went through few Flings before I was introduced to Lingering. I like Lingering better now as it is not as ashy and matches my light brows eye brows better.

Would I buy it again? - Yes, I would get Lingering again.

4. Pre Tan Pure Bronze Gradual Tan
My overall impression - Coconut scented gradual tan with SPF. It does feel quite moisturising but sinks into a skin quickly. I see the difference after just one application. Little goes a long way as once I think I've applied too much and it did go patchy.

Would I buy it again? - Yes, it does cost a bit more than supermarket gradual tans but Myer often has it on special and you can pick it up for about $15.

 5. Bondi Sands Self-tanning Foam in Light/Medium

My overall impression - Step aside St. Tropez because this product is amazing! It has pink and green undertones that do a great job at neutralizing yellow and orange tones. It is tinted but tends to wash out easily from sheets and clothes. I would apply it in the morning on my day off, wear a dark shirt for couple of hours and wash it off. That way it absorbs into the skin and fully develops into a natural looking streak-free tan.

Would I buy it again? - Yes, yes, yes! I think I am addicted to this stuff and already managed to collect few other products from Bondi Sands.

6. Redken All Soft Velvet Whip

My overall impression - All soft line gets lots of good reviews so I got this product when my hair was long, dry and fragile to put some life into my ends and mid-length. It had soft scent but very strange almost powdery texture. Ingredients revealed that it had corn starch in it which is a bit strange for a leave-in conditioner.

Would I buy it again? - No, it didn't make noticeable improvement to my hair and I switched back to Anti-Snap once it was all gone.


7. Toni & Guy Reconstruction Mask

My overall impression - Deep conditioning mask that was still light enough for my fine hair. It had tick and creamy texture and neutral light scent

Would I buy it again? - No, it was a bit meh to be honest and was very similar to any conditioner.


8. Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleaning Foaming Cleanser

My overall impression - This rich foaming cleanser did a good job at removing my make-up, felt soft and non-drying but it tremendously helped me to get rid of breakouts. I got it for $10 in US and it lasted me for a year!

Would I buy it again? - Definitely. I am using Vichy gel cleanser right now but wouldn't mind getting this one again as my night-time cleanser.


9. Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light moisturiser

My overall impression - Very light yet effective moisturiser that my breakout-prone but sensitive skin seems to love. It doesn't sting, makes my skin feel tight or greasy. It performs well under the foundation and doesn't cause me to break out. In fact my skin looked a lot better when I was using it in conjunction with other Vichy products than before.

Would I buy it again? - Yes, definitely. It is not available in Australia but can be easily obtained from online stores.


10. Youngblood Concealer in Medium

My overall impression - I actually randomly won this product from a magazine promotion. They sent it to me in medium shade but it actually suited my fair skin well. I wasn't familiar with the brand at a time but was very impressed with blendability and coverage of this product. It took me ages to hit the pan and at the end I ended up throwing it away as it started to separate a bit from being quite old with probably 50% still remaining.

Would I buy it again? - Not sure. Maybe if I start to get pimples again. Mt skin is a lot better these days and I use concealer just under my eyes. I prefer the more liquid concealers and highlighters for that area.

Monday, January 04, 2016

How to rescue an Orchid

You probably have seen Phalaenopsis orchids that look a bit sad at you local supermarket. People buy them when they are in bloom to enjoy beautiful flowers for months and after that they usually get abandoned or discarded. I always feel sorry for heavily discounted orchids as they can be rescued.

So I got this pink beauty from Woolworth and it completely lost all its flowers. It was packed tightly Sphagnum moss and was very very dry.

As a bonus it came in cute ceramic pot.

You can see how wrinkly and dehydrated leaves are. I soaked it in water for about 10 minutes. Then I gently removed Sphagnum moss.

I used sharp scissors sterilized with rubbing alcohol to cut the spike off just above the first nodule. I sprayed roots with Hydrogen Peroxide to prevent mould and inhibit bacterial growth.

...and left it sit in water. It is called Full Water Culture method. Note that water shouldn't touch the base of the plant, just tips of the roots. I change water weekly, keep an eye on rotting roots and trim them off as required if they go mushy and brown (it is normal to lose a few after changing from media). Also once per week I let it stand for a day or two without water. I use this method on all my Phals and they are doing great. Several are growing new roots, spikes and leaves. They love not very bright diffused light so right now they live in the garage and come upstairs when they are on bloom.

Two weeks later we have a secondary spike forming. It will take months to bloom again but I am sure it will be well worth the wait.