Saturday, 30 August 2014


Noteworthy August goodies

Hi friends!
You may have noticed that I have stopped doing those 'Week In Review's, simply because my week is usually pretty standard and not-overly-fascinating - thus leading to a monotonous repetition of the same products* that you've seen countless times before... But what can I say? I am a creature of habit, after all!

This month was characterised by mad exam-prepping, procrastination at its finest, and a few other unexpected bits and pieces - such as a lovely bit of light reading.

In a Good Light / Rêve de Miel / DDML+

The usual suspects:
Mecca Cosmetica In a Good Light - So, so perfect for the crazy weather we've been experiencing lately. Wonderfully hydrating, quickly absorbed, SPF, and a good dose of illumination to combat dullness and dryness. Totally worthy of HG status for Winter!

Nuxe Rêve de Miel - I know I've already mentioned this nifty jar of goodness nonstop, but it's been getting me through Winter quite nicely - these smooth, non-chapped lips speak for themselves (heh. see what I did there? :P) I've made a significant dent in it now, but it's still nowhere near depleted!

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion+ - I've been reaching for this moisturiser post-shower, as it is soothing and gentle on my dry and sensitive skin. Plus, it's easily absorbed and delightfully hydrating for Winter (though in Summer I do find it a tad emollient).

Color Balm / Cool Water Sea Rose / Radiant Creamy Concealer

The new kids on the block:
Yes To Carrots Color Balm in Soft Plum - My spoils (spoil?) from the Priceline 40% off Skincare Sale last month. Given that I'm technically still on makeup ban, I figured I'd sneak in a little something - I could hardly let the opportunity pass me by! It's a lovely shade of burgundy - 'soft plum' is quite an accurate description. I was tossing up between getting this one, or the Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in another colour. At a fraction of the cost of Burt's Bees' offering (which I adore), I had my fingers crossed that this would be almost as good, or just as good. It's not bad, but unfortunately it's not as moisturising or long lasting - you get what you pay for, I guess! Though I must say that at $6, Yes To Carrots is far more enticing than $15 for Burt's, plus I got mine for 40% off.

Davidoff Cool Water Sea Rose EDT - I've been wearing this all month and I really love it - I kid you not, I'm not even sick of it yet! I'll admit that this was another winner that I pinched off Mother's dresser... It's a lovely fresh fruity-ish rose scent that reminds me of Marc Jacobs' Daisy mixed with Dot? Something like that. Plus it's only $29 for 100mls from Priceline! Win.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard - I mentioned this one a little while back and it's about time I did a proper review of it (coming soon). I've been using it nonstop since I bought it, and have absolutely no complaints - I'm glad to report that it does live up to the hype! It's been my go-to remedy for dark circles, and it lasts all day.

Tangle Teezer / Blow Dry Faster

The, erm, old kids on the block that I've been loving:
Tangle Teezer Compact Styler in Feline Groovy - I bought this a while back and stopped using it after a little bit - I was reminded of why I don't normally use a hairbrush in the first place. What really grosses me out is when lint and hair and other gross stuff collect in the bristles - I can't stand the thought of brushing it back into my hair! But I've taken to brushing my hair before showering to detangle it beforehand, and I've also been making exceptions when my hair is so disgustingly greasy that it doesn't make a difference anyway. I've been amazed at the ease with which it detangles and brushes out knots painlessly.

Cedel Blow Dry Faster - This has been an absolute godsend this Winter, as it usually takes ages for my hair to dry - plus, I've been washing my hair later in the evening, or even late at night, because I can't stand how yucky it feels (ah, the joys of being caught in the rain!). With this hardworking spray I can blow-dry my hair straight without brushes or combs in a few short minutes - #totesamaze is an understatement.

The none-of-the-aboves:
'The Minimal Wardrobe' - Lately I've been intrigued with the idea of creating a harmonious streamlined 'capsule' wardrobe, where each piece perfectly complements the others. After a brief appraisal of my wardrobe, I was less than thrilled with the amount of clothes I have that I don't wear (and probably won't ever wear). I have a right mind to just start again from scratch (Jokes. Too expensive!) But more to come on that topic, so stay tuned.

The Messenger by Markus Zusak - (I borrowed the book and have since returned it, so apologies for the lack of visuals.) I'd been intending to read this since it was recommended to me by a lady I met camping way back in January (Camping. Yeah - who'd have thought?) I thoroughly enjoyed it - it's beautifully written and tugs on the heartstrings so delicately, in a most unassuming manner. It's also very typically-Australian, and a great Young Adults' pick. I found it difficult to extract myself from the world within the pages of the novel once I had finished reading it!

What was your August like? I hope it was a good 'un! :) x

*Sorry if you actually enjoyed those posts!

Monday, 18 August 2014


Beauty books!

It's kind of embarrassing to consider how long I've been meaning to publish this post! Firstly, I apologise that I've been M.I.A. for a little bit (/a long while), due to exam preparation :( It's been pretty tough trying to balance study and 'things I love doing' as of late. It got to the point that I couldn't even enjoy writing up posts, because I felt so guilty! But after a little hiatus, I'm back (mostly, anyway - I'm not completely off the hook until late-November! :/) :D

So I'd been trying to get back into the habit of reading (I was previously turned off by all of those prescribed texts for English!) and thought 'what better way to get back into it than reading books on subjects that interest me?' Now, I love me a good beauty book - mainly to see how the pros get that flawless finish or apply that product - and to get edu-ma-cated, of course! It's been a while since I've read these (with the exception of Pretty Powerful), so I thought I'd give them a revisit.

When I read a book - well, a beauty book in particular - I look for certain things: clear directions or explanations, plenty of photographs, clean layout, easy to read and understand (not too wordy or repetitive). While this isn't strictly a review on the following books, I thought I'd give my thoughts on them based on those criteria/pointers.

First up... Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules (2010):

Beauty Rules by Bobbi Brown

This one is probably my favourite of the lot (sorry, spoiler alert!), and I think it was also one of my first forays into beauty books. I liked that it had a clean layout, was easy to read, and featured 'ordinary' everyday individuals, such as mums and their daughters, or sisters. I especially appreciated that it had ample photographs and loved that it covered many topics, for example, everyday makeup looks, experimental makeup, etc. I particularly enjoyed the lists of essentials, and the easily-digestable information, for example, an introduction to different types of brushes and their uses, makeup bag basics, and makeup looks for specific occasions, e.g. job interview, formal occasion. Though it's probably geared towards a younger audience - for example, teens who are just getting into makeup - I found it to be helpful as I was just starting out myself, at the time. I also really enjoyed Bobbi's sections on wellbeing, which covered eating well and exercising. I thought it was good for a beauty book to emphasise that 'looking good' starts from the inside - rather than through slapping on makeup - and especially important for its audience of young girls to understand. Bobbi's writing also has a laid-back, humorous tone to it, which made it an enjoyable read - I read it as soon as I bought it and couldn't put it down! A great one that covers the basics for sure. 9.5/10

Next up... Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful (2012):

Pretty Powerful by Bobbi Brown

Bobbi takes a different angle with this book - starting with the woman and what beauty means to each individual. This one also features 'everyday women', but also many individuals that are more well-known - i.e. sportswomen, celebrities, designers and public figures, such as Lauren Bush, Estelle, Alexa Ray Joel and Blythe Danner. The chapters are also divided into personality 'types': Pretty Natural, Pretty Radiant, Pretty Strong, Pretty Classic, Pretty Authentic, and Pretty Bold, with mini quizzes at the beginning to determine which one you identify with. It also featured day-to-night makeup looks for each 'type'. I found the short interviews with the 'more well-known individuals' to be inspiring; in line with the generally affirming tone of the book. I appreciated the ample photographs, though would have preferred more step-by-step tutorial-type spreads. Like 'Beauty Rules', I enjoyed the segments on 'beauty from the inside out', which looked at healthy eating, exercise and general wellbeing. 'Pretty Powerful' features plenty of 'ordinary' women as well - along with descriptions (which did become a little repetitive at times) of what she did to achieve the 'after' look, though I felt that it wasn't as comprehensive as 'Beauty Rules'. This one's a good pick if you're after a dose of life-inspiration along with your beauty fix! 8/10

And lastly... Zoë Foster(-Blake) Amazing Face (2011):

Amazing Face by Zoë Foster-Blake

This last one is a collection of beauty goodness from resident Beauty Queen and Columnist, Zoë Foster-Blake, and her first beauty book, which was hotly anticipated at the time. Personally, it was a bit of a let down (perhaps due to all the hype?), though largely due to its brevity: it covers many topics - from skincare and makeup to post-flight perking up - but not in a lot of detail, which I would have preferred. It features a heavy dose of her signature witticisms and humour, which is entertaining to begin with, though largely irrelevant at times, when you think about it. I enjoyed its colourful, easy-to-read format, which was visually appealing and contributed to the overall aesthetic of the book. The photos, where featured, were clear, and helped to illustrate the instructions, though more photos would have been nice, methinks. I appreciated the how-to's accompanied by photos, product recommendations, and illustrated brushes and tools guide at the back, as well. I suppose the main issue for me was that, after devouring this book, I was left feeling a tad unsatisfied (if that's a legitimate post-reading emotion...) - like I'd just eaten the icing without the cake. So I'd recommend this book if you're after little tidbits of advice for any beauty topic under the sun, rather than a comprehensive guide. 7/10

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any recommendations on what I should read next?

P.S. Bobbi Brown has recently released a new book that focuses on eye makeup, 'Everything Eyes' which also looks interesting!

P.P.S. If you're looking to buy books online, I'd highly recommend the Book Depository - great prices and free shipping worldwide. You're welcome :D x

Tuesday, 12 August 2014


From this:

Potato bake

To this:

'Cream of celery' soup

Hmm... Where to begin with this one? What started off as a potato bake ended up as a 'cream of celery' soup. Please, don't ask... Long story short: A potato bake was made and ended up being rather dry and not-so-nice, so celery was added and the whole concoction was blended together...and voilà - cream of celery soup! I can't take credit for the soup part - the potato bake was not to my father's satisfaction, so he took matters into his own hands...


Basically, my mum was browsing the aisles at Coles, came across this and thought it'd be fun to make, because we've never made it before... (probably just an Asian thing haha). So we followed the instructions on the back:

1. Peel and slice the potatoes thinly (that's not all of them, by the way!):

2. Get layerin':

3. Spread the bacon and onion on top:

4. Layering round two:

(And add the rest of the bacon and onion on top)

5. Packet mix, ermm, mixed with sour cream*:

6. Top with cheese and bake uncovered (don't cover it with foil like I did!):

Behold: potato bake!

*Because we stupidly used sour cream (as we had some sitting in the fridge), it didn't come out very creamy. At all. Have you ever microwaved sour cream? Yeah, don't! The consistency is less than appetising to say the least haha (think cooked, somewhat lumpy sour cream - gross).

As a result, dad thought he'd 'save the situation' and make a soup out of it instead.
So he peeled the cheese off and transferred the rest of the potato bake into a pot and added (diced) celery (from memory it was quite a lot - 1 whole one at least). He then blended it all with a hand blender (the ones that look like a stick - I think we've got a Breville one?) until it was smooth, and brought it to a boil. Then he slapped a fancy name on to it - there you have it, folks: "Cream of Celery Soup"! Which, by the way, was very nice served with a warm, crusty bread roll.

Have you ever been 'experimental' in the kitchen?
Do you have any "delicious disasters" of your own? Do share! x