Monday, 28 November 2011

Cheap but not so Nasty!

 Being Australian, I have found it a bit tricky to find both 'High' end and 'Low' end products or dupes for products that are always recommended, so I decided I was going to find Cheap products that I believe are of a decent quality, of course they aren't perfect, but at that price, what the hell!

The first Palette I want to talk about is by Elf, this brand is international (Im not entirely sure where they retail besides the UK). Elf touched down in Australia a few months back and is now available in most Advantage Pharmacy and a few select retailers. 

I have tried a few Elf products and I have either Loved or Hated them so I was curious to Try their eye shadows. Most of the eye Shadows retail for $3.99 like most of the products, But the Palettes are a much better deal. I found the Elf 'Beauty Encyclopaedia-Neutrals Edition' for just $6.99 (RRP $9.99).

This Palette contains 12 Neutral eye Shadows, with both matte's and shimmers. All of the colours are wearable. The quality of each shadow does vary, to my dissapointment, with 4 of the shadows having very low pigmentation, and not being easy to get on a brush. My personal Favourites are taupe matte colour on the top, second from the right, shimmery rose/bronze colour second row on the right, the shimmery taupe bottom row, second from the left. and the deep plum in the bottom right hand colour. ( sorry, they don't have names).

These shadows blend reasonable well and don't crease at all. 

The packaging is ok, its set out for beginners, which is what you expect from such a cheap brand, it is sturdy and the magnets that hold the from on are good quality.

The next Palette is, I believe, an Australian only brand (sorry). BYS is a brand that has been around for some time, and it currently undertaking in a make over. It is very cheap and mainly available in discount and $2 shops (sorry if you from anywhere else and don't understand the reference). Over the last few months I sucked it up and decided to try some of their products (after a whole lot of hassle from my friend), and I have had some luck with my purchases.

This Palette is again a Mainly Neutrals Palette, All shimmers, which can make it tricky. The Palette, I believe Retails for $15.99 but I was lucky enough to find it on special for $9.99. The Palette is made up of 18 colours, so you get your moneys worth in range. Varying from rich Plums to Burnt Oranges, Through Gold's, Rose's, Olives and Taupe's, and Ranging shades, there is a colour for every look and every skin tone. 

Unlike the Elf Palette, the quality of these shadow is held across board, They are very highly pigmented and very easy to blend (which is great if you find the shimmer too harsh). I find myself reaching for this Palette to create three specific looks. The First is a Brown Smoky eye, in which I tend to only use the Rich Brown in the top right hand corner, it is a very nice warm colour which blend amazingly. I often use the Rose Champagne colour second from the left on the bottom row all over my lid to brighten up my eye, and then blend some of the Plum tone in the top right hand corner through my crease. I also use the Pale Champagne Gold colour fourth from the right on the top row to Brighten up my eyes, mainly on a night out.

These shadows can be a little chalky but don't crease at all. 

 I have swatches all of the Shadows on a Piece of paper so they all have the same base, below. They are arranged are they are seen in the Palettes, with the top 12 being from the Elf Palette and the Bottom 18 From the BYS Palette. 

I hope this is somewhat informal to People in Australia and Over sea's and you enjoyed this post. 

Hope you have a Lovely day! X

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Christmas Treats: A Little Leomany Christmas Wreath

Hello My Dears, Now I know it may be a bit early to do a Christmas treats post, but I really wanted to get this up, and this way you can try it out well before D-Day!
So Here is the recipe for my Favourite Little Lemonany Christmas Wreaths.

1 3/4 Cup Self Raising Flower
1/3 Cup Caster Sugar
60 Grams Butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 Egg
1/2 cup Icing sugar
1-2 Lemons

 First Empty the Flower into a medium Sized Bowl (sturdy), Add the butter, as you can see I have Softened it slightly (not melted) and cut it into small chunks, so its easier to use.
Using you hands, begin to work the butter through the Flour, until it becomes the consistency of Bread Crumbs. This is messy so make sure you wash your hands and are prepared.
 After you have finished that, Combine the Caster sugar and the Milk in a Small Saucepan and on a low heat, simmer until all of the sugar has dissolved. This shouldn't take more then a few minutes, and be careful not to burn/caramelise it, that's not right. 
 Next combine the Sugar/Milk mix with the Bread crumb like mixture, as well as the egg and the Vanilla Essence. Start by mixing it with a spoon, but you will find that it thickens up a lot, at which stage you will need to work the mixture with your hands. 
 Make a large ball of the mixture and remove it from the bowl, I place a small amount of flour on the board I am about to use to stop it sticking. Next take two small balls of the mixture and roll them in your hands until they are some what even. You will also need to grease a try at this point. 

 Roll the two Balls out to create two long skinny strings, these need not be even in width, but even in length. Once you have done this, place the bottom tip of the inner strand (the one furthest away from you) on top of the other strand.
 Very Gently work the very tip together so that the base it combined and it makes a V shape. 

Now on to the fun part. Take the Outter strand (the one closest to you) and place it on the other side of the inner strand.
 Place the strand you are holding down on the Board, making something like a right angle( so the wrap is even). Next take the strand closest to you and again place it on the other side of the other strand, continue this  on.
 Keep working all the way around and you will notice that it will start to take shape.
 Now you must join the two edges up to create the Wreath. Take the bottom strand and simply join it to the V shaped section, on the end, working it till its even, then you must take the top strand, and place it across the now joined ends, until it is sitting somewhat in the middle. Gently work the final edge into the middle so it is joined nicely. 
 Now for the Lemony bit! Combine the Icing sugar and the juice from the lemons in a bowl and mix it with a fork so there are no lumps. Dont worry about pips because they will not be picked up but the Biscuits. 
 Place the Wreaths on a tray, 5 or 6 on a tray is enough, so they cook evenly. They only need less then 5 minutes (until they are golden) in the oven and 180c. Watch the closely so they don't burn. 
 Remove the Wreaths from the oven and immediately place them in the lemon juice, one by one, dip both sides in the Glaze, and them place the on a plate to cool. They will need about half and hour to cool completely. (sorry about the burnt bottom, I completely forgot to photograph this part and when I remembered I had slightly burnt the bottom of the only one left.) 
Once they are cooled they are ready to eat! This recipe makes around 18 give or take. These are a stunning and delicious Christmas food. Try making them in different sizes for a varied look, stack them up or wrap them up, everyone will love this little treat.

I hope you enjoyed this, and have a good day! 

Friday, 25 November 2011

Bella Box

Welcome to My very First Bella Box Post.

For those who don't already know what Bella Box is, think Birch Box, Carmine or Boudoir Prive, and for those who Are still out of the Loop, Where have you been?????? 

Bella Box is a Monthly Subscription service that allows you to sample 5 high end products and one Lifestyle Product every month for the low price of $15, Including Postage, and the best part is, it's AUSTRALIAN. 

Bella box debuted in October with their very first box, which I hear was amazing. The company was also a sponsor of the Spring Racing Carnival and Provided specialised boxes for Guests on the day. And after such  a Hyped start, they are back for November and they didn't dissapoint.  

This Company is very dedicated to providing a service, not just a purchasing site and so far they seem to be doing what they have promised.

I wasn't lucky enough to get my hands on an October Box, but here's Novembers.

When it first arrived I was so excited, I mean, look at the postage box, its adorable, and the Best thing, its not Black and Pink! 

The Pale Blue and Beige was continued into the Actual Box in an alternating pattern, so cute. The box is also amazing quality, so its a keeper.
When I opened up the box, I was delighted to find that it was just as classy on the inside as it had been so far, with a perfectly placed card, that of course matches!
The Information card is thick and sturdy, perfectly printed. The introduction is worth a read to. 
Now on to the product information.  As you can see, it is perfectly laid out, Easy to read, and in some sort of order. The card is also like to the two Boxes, alternating side to side.
I was surprised that the Tissue Paper was Black, and not on theme with the Beige and Pale Blue, but it did ad drama to to very subtle, yet stylish layout. 
And not to skip a beat, they sticker is even perfectly matching, and the edges have been trimmed to fit the borders. 
Now for the exciting bit, the Products! Boy they did not dissapoint. 
From Left to Right: Gatineau 'Melatogenine Force Collagene', Kenzo 'MadlyKanzo' Perfume, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics 'Lip Tar', Orofluido Hair Oil and Lancome 'Visionnaire'
There was also a Hair band, but I managed to misplace it when trying it out, Its called a Twistband.

The first product I pulled out was the Brightest (of course) and that product was 'Madly Kenzo' Perfume by Kenzo. The bottle of this perfume is stunning, especially for a sample bottle, not to mention its a great size. This perfume has been described on the card as 'A new radiant and daring fragrance, terribly sensual. The scent of a woman who overturns conventions'.
 This is s strange fragrance, with notes of Orange Blossom and Vanilla, or so they say. I personally cannot smell any Vanilla or Orange Blossom, Just a strong Incense scent, There are florally notes as well, but nothing noticeable.  The fragrance was released in August and was not met with a warm welcome, it has been slandered, and, although I know it is not to everyone's taste, I think some people have been two harsh, it is the sort of fragrance I will be using in summer when its scolding hot and I want something to freshen me up. But not something overwhelming. 
Next up is the Gatineau 'Melatogenine Force Collagene' Which is a wrinkle cream, designed to extremely improve the effects of wrinkles. Now I haven't used this and nor will I, but I plan on giving it to my mum to try as im busy enough treating my acne, little own treating wrinkles. But I will update you on this. This perfume is quite pricey, at $87 for 30ml.

The sample size is not very impressive, I believe its 5ml, which is not a substantial sample, but given the fact that it is $150.00 for 30ml, I do understand.  
The thing I was most excited about is the OCC Lip Tar in the colour Trollop, which I have been dying to try, and I love it!  This is a mix between a lipstick, lip stain and a Gloss, its last for ages, isn't drying and has a great colour pay off. The colour is described by the Bella Box website as a Pink Cranberry Coral, which I think is very close, it is a bold colour, but the undertones of soft coral make it very wearable. The 8ml sample is very generous, given how far it goes, Im looking into purchasing more. These are $16 from the Bella Box website.
Lancome 'Visionnaire', was another very exclusive product to find in this months box. This product is designed to reduce wrinkles, pores and unevenness in the skin. I haven't yet tried this Product but im excited to see if it works its magic on the rather large pores on my nose. 
This retails at $115.00 for 30mls so the 5ml is very generous as you have already made your $15 back on this alone.
And this Final High end Product is Orofluido hair oil, which I actually already own, But its always worth it to have some more. I love this product and use it all the time, This has been the saviour of my hair.
The sample is The same size as the other samples I have received in the past, with full sizes, so im happy with this. 
Finally in the bottom is a Little Booklet from the Kenzo Brand which talks about the Brand as a whole and their initiative's for the future. It does make for an interesting read. 

Sorry for such a long post, but I really wanted to truly introduce both Australians and Internationals to this wonderful Service, I hope you enjoyed.


Updated Skin Care Routine

Recently I decided to Cancel my Subscription to Proactiv for many many reasons, which I will get into another time, so that left me in the awkward position of having No skin care Products. So I Headed out in search of my new Skin care Routine.

Apologies that you can see my kitchen.

So these are the products I decided on.
From Left to Right: The Body Shop Camomile Gentle eye-make up remover, Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser, Innoxa Skin Moist Cleanser, Benzac 5% and Olay Sensitive Moisturising cream.
I have Previously done Posts on The Body Shop eye make up remover (Click HERE) and the Innoxa Skin Moist (Click HERE). And the Olay Moisturiser is just a very good moisturiser that I love!
But the Products I really want to Mention are the Cetaphil Cleanser and Benzac 5%. After deciding to No longer Continue on with the use of Proactiv I was desperate to find something that was going to work for me. So after I was recommended Cetaphil many many times, I gave it a shot. After the first use I noticed less surface oil and that my make up lasted longer in the day, I was so happy. To accompany the Cetaphil I purchased Benzac AC 5% to help clear up any pimples I am still getting. So far it has been doing its job well, I have noticed more scabbing, but I haven't had any scarring, unlike with Proactiv and it seems to just remove all of the oil from the blemish in a matter of hours.

I will be doing a post of Proactiv shortly but I wanted to mention the fact that I have had an extreme backlash since stopping using it, and have Blemishes all around my mouth, so if you want to stop using it, you will break  out unfortunately, but it is not any other product that is causing it!

I hope you all had a lovely day. X

I will be doing an extended post on Proactiv Soon, but i wanted to share my New Products with you First!