Thursday, August 21, 2014

New In: My Skincare Routine

I am pretty fussy about skincare - when I find something I love it takes a lot to get something else to wrangle its way into my routine and take its place.
I've been loving these new additions to my skincare routine the past couple of months, and of course that means I had to share them.

Stridex Maximum Strength Pads 

These are what I have been using to exfoliate my face about twice a week. These are a cotton pad soaked in a concentration of salicylic acid. (2% salicylic acid for the maximum ones - there are lesser concentrations available). I use this after my cleanser, as a chemical exfoliator - I let it sit for about 30 minutes (which is way after the point of it drying on your skin, but the longer the better it works) and then apply some Rosehip Oil as a moisturiser. If you apply a moisturiser or something before waiting for about half an hour, you'll change the ph level of the product, which means it won't be as effective. 
Basically, this is amazing at clearing up blocked pores - I noticed a marked difference when I was using it consistently. I recently stopped using it for a couple of weeks to test if it was working, and surprise, I've broken out. Sad. 
I picked mine up from iherb for pretty cheaply. 

Milk&Co Face Cleanser*

Milk&Co is an Australian brand launched by Australian swimmer Michael Klim and his wife, Lindy Klim. Their face cleanser is a gentle foaming cleanser made from natural based cleansers (coconut and corn), and essential oils (ylang ylang, geranium). It also contains hibiscus flower extract, used for its antibacterial and anti-oxidant properties. I love the way this smells as well - it's not overly strong, but it's a nice "natural" scent from all the natural ingredients. This cleanser is so creamy, and so good at removing the day - I use it in the shower and find it also does pretty well at removing eye make-up (although I do go back in after with a specified eye-makeup remover). It leaves my skin feeling so clean, soft and hydrated. 

This cleanser is made in Melbourne, Australia (yay, support the locals!), uses 100% recyclable packaging (which is actually really cute), and is not tested on animals. 
It's also quite reasonably priced at $16.95, and I'm pretty sure you can pick it up at Priceline if online shopping isn't your thing. 

What skincare products are you loving at the moment?

(Products marked with an * were sent to me for editorial consideration. All opinions are my own - check out my disclaimer for further details)

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

REVIEW | Popbasic: The Jane Collection


As soon as I saw the Jane collection on the Popbasic website, I fell in love! 
If you haven't heard of Popbasic, basically all you need to know is, it's run by Maddie, and the idea is that limited edition micro-collections are released each month. If you're a member you'll get an email sent to you at the launch of each micro-collection and if you like it, you buy it (worldwide shipping is free)! That simple! The pieces are ... you guessed it, basics so they're designed to fit into your already-existing wardrobe, and by buying the collections you also build up your wardrobe with high quality, one-of-a-kind designer pieces. 

So...what was the Jane collection?

A gorgeous blush-pink t-shirt made from a rayon-spandex blend, a basic black pencil skirt and a loop necklace. The pieces are amazing quality for the price, and I love that I'll get so much wear out of them. The whole outfit together is perfect for work, but I've also broken it up and worn the shirt out during the week with jeans.



As well as the micro-collection you also receive small gifts from partnering companies, which is a really nice surprise. 

And probably the best thing of all is the customer service. When I hadn't received my order 3 weeks after ordering it, Maddy sorted it out no problem and sent me a brand new order (which arrived within the week). There's a handwritten card in each order as well, which is a really personal touch. 

Also, if you join as a member with this link you'll get $15 to put towards your next order! (Score!) This is part of the Popbasic referral program; if you click through on my link, I'll also get $15 for my next order (yippee!). This referral program is open to everyone, so once you join you can let your friends know and the sharing and discounts and love continues!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: House of Holland Stick-on Nails

I got this pack of House of Holland stick on nails in the May Her Fashion Box and thought I'd give them a go.

Stick on nails can be great for parties and events, as they're quick and (usually) easy to apply, and you can't really mess them up. This pack comes with 24 nails in 10 different nail sizes, a nail glue, a file and some instructions. This particular design was matte black, with some of the nails having coloured dots.

The sizes they come in are good, and fit my tiny fingernails well. I spent a few minutes working out which nails were going on which fingers, and the design I was after. Then it was just a matter of applying the glue to my own nail, and pressing the stick on nail on top for 4 seconds until it adhered.


The first hand was ridiculously easy, but it was a lot more difficult putting the second hand on once the nails were already on. Picking up the little bits of plastic with these claws became pretty tricky. 
I love the way they turned out; the glue appeared quite strong so the nails felt really secure. I think this particular set was way too long for my comfort though. I literally could not work out how to use my hands with nails this long. As soon as I realised how difficult it was to make my lunch, I had to take them off.

Giant Claws.

To take them off, I just soaked a cotton ball in acetone based nail polish remover and wrapped it around the fingernail, then covered with alfoil. This worked to basically melt the nail, making the glue underneath susceptible to the remover. The whole thing peeled away (so gross...I did not take pictures)


TL;DR? Overall, on first impressions I was really impressed with the apparent strength of the nail glue, and how cool the nails turned out to be. I was not a fan of how long they were, though. 
I would recommend these for a night out, or a certain event, but maybe not for everyday wear.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Fitness Friday: What's in my Gym Bag

I’m pretty lucky that I only live a 5 minute walk away from my gym. It means I don’t have to make an effort to schedule in time to go, and I don’t have to rely on showering there (really, I don’t think I can express how happy this makes me… gym showers can be so gross). It also means I don’t actually need to pack that much stuff with me in my gym bag. So I literally only carry the essentials with me.

Let’s discuss gym equipment… a towel is an absolute must to bring. There is nothing more disgusting than going to a bench to see that it’s covered in someone else’s sweat. Most gyms (if not all) have disinfectant wipes around that you can use to wipe the benches and machines down with, but it’s still pretty gross to have to clean up after other people. So, bottom line: don’t make other people need to clean up after you and use a damn towel. I bought mine at Rebel Sport. There’s not really much to gym towels… I love mine because it’s microfibre so it soaks up moisture, and it’s got a few different pockets. There’s a “sleeve” at one end, so you slip that over the end of the bench and your towel won’t slip out from under you! The last thing you want to be thinking about when pumping out that last set on the bench press is that your towel is wriggling around under you. This particular one also has a zip pocket, which is handy. I tend to keep a ventolin in there, and my gym pass. That way I don’t forget about them, they follow me around the gym and I don’t have to carry them.

Gloves. This is really a matter of personal preference. On a really hot day I might wear gloves if my hands are sweaty, which alleviates any concern that I might drop the bar. This pair has a leather palm, so that bar is not going anywhere once you pick it up. I have pretty calloused hands from pole, so I find bar work a little easier in that department than other people might. Again, I just picked mine up from Rebel Sport.

Plantronics Bluetooth Headphones. After a towel, these things are my absolute cannot go to the gym without product. Basically, they are bluetooth headphones, that you wear around your neck. It means no cords, no wires to get tangled up in. The best part is that you don’t need to worry about whether your gym clothes have pockets to fit your phone or music player in. If your clothes do have pockets…let’s be real here – it’s a lot more comfortable to not have them weighted down. These have a really long battery life, and they’re really easy to charge. 10/10 definitely recommend.

I have a whole post coming up soon about my Workout Journal. Basically, I use this to keep track of my workout, how I felt after the workout (i.e. whether DOMS was an issue or not) etc etc. I just use a cute ruled notebook because it’s easy. The ring binding means I can shove a pen in the spine, and can bend it backwards and have it laying flat. I may get funny looks from some of the bros at the gym, but I prefer to track my gainz this way.

I really don’t bring many beauty products with me, because I live so close that it’s not really necessary. Over time though, I’ve found these particular products a must have:
Make-Up Wipes: Sometimes I’ll get home from work or uni, get dressed, grab my gym bag and head straight out the door. I completely forget to take my make-up off, and it’s kind of a non-negotiable for me to work out without make-up on. (I just find it really gross) So I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping some wipes stashed for those moments. I've tried so many brands and types of wipes, and I can’t help but keep coming back to Biore. These wipes are textured, so offer a slight manual exfoliation, and I just find they’re really effective at getting most of my make-up off. They remove most of my eye-makeup without smudging it. They never get all my make-up off, but they do get off the vast majority of it.

School Foot Anti-Perspirant*: Feet are not really a topic that people like talking about - which I think it kind of sad, because they carry you around everywhere, and they deserve a little love too. One of the most common foot problems at the gym is stinky feet. Gym shoes can get hot and humid because you're doing a lot of sweating, and this leads to bacteria growing that stink your shoes out. I have found that a combination of foot anti-perspirant, cotton socks and making sure I air my shoes out quickly takes care of the problem. This antiperspirant for your feet is a powder spray - so it's quick drying, and it helps prevent perspiration and consequently, stinky feet. This product has a slight soapy scent to it, but it dissipates quickly. I find I get the best use from it if I spray my feet, wait a couple of minutes, then put my socks and shoes on.

Rexona deodorant: This clinical protection anti-perspirant basically stops you sweating. This is a cream deodorant that you twist up through the holes and it squeezes out like vegemite pushed into a cracker. You're supposed to put this one on at night, sleep with it and then you're good to go in the morning. I just keep it in my gym bag and use it like normal and it still works fine.

What do you keep in your gym bag?

(Products marked with an * were sent to me for editorial consideration. All opinions are my own - check out my disclaimer for further details)

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: July Her Fashion Box

I'm really excited to share this post with you today because I loved, loved, loved the July HFB! I was happy with every single product, which is something that hasn't happened in a while. 

The two main fashion items in this box were the infinity scarf, and a watch. 
HFB values the infinity scarf at $34.99, and for once I can agree with that valuation. I got the red one (yay my favourite colour!), and it is so soft, warm and so nicely knitted that I would pay the RRP for it. It also helps that I've been wanting an infinity scarf for ages but haven't been able to really find one that I like. 

The watch we received in this month's box is valued at $29.99. I really love the design of it - the watch face hardware is rose gold, with black detailing. I think it looks kind of edgy while still being 'classic'. The wrist strap is a rubber material, which isn't my favourite but that keeps it at a low price point, and it isn't a feature I dislike enough to stop me liking the watch as a whole. I have worn this almost every day since I got it in my box (convenient also that my normal watch broke right before...I still need to get that fixed)

We received a sample card of the 'Kisses, Darling' card from French Navy - this normally comes in a pack of 10 for $49.95. The card is a thick card stock, with 'xoxo' printed in red. It's always good to have extra stationery lying around, and this is a cute design that can be used for almost anything. Check out the French Navy website here.

I can't wait to try out the Appelles Apothecary Rosemary Body Bar (valued at $5.95). It is supposed to be a low irritant bar that won't dry your skin out, and it smells really beautiful through the packaging. Appelles is an Aussie brand that uses Aussie ingredients and certified oils, which is awesome. You can check out their website here.

We got a couple of lip products this month: a coconut lip balm from CoconutRevolution, which is valued at $7.95. I got the cherry flavour, which is surprisingly nice. It smells a bit like raspberry lollies, rather than cherry - I'm just so glad it doesn't stink of that fake cherry flavour. You can check their site out here. We also received a lip crayon from Ulta3, valued at $4.95 - I received the colour 'pretty nude'. Nudes are a difficult colour to get right, and I would have much preferred to receive a red (which is still 'classic').

There was also a 14mL sample of Revitanail Nail Strengthener in our box. I've heard so many good things about this product, that I can't wait to see how it shapes up compared to the nail strengtheners I already use. A full size of 30mL is valued at $29.95, so this was a pretty generous sample size, which I love.

Overall - I really don't have a single negative thing to say about the July Her Fashion Box. It seems like they've really been listening to the complaints over the past few months and have picked up their game. AND this box arrived on time! Hurrah! I cannot wait to see what the August box has to offer - hopefully HFB can keep up the high standards.

You can subscribe to Her Fashion Box by visiting their website here.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What I Got for my Birthday!


It was my birthday last week (they feel like they keep coming around quicker and quicker!) and I got so many cool gifts, I really wanted to share what I got! I love reading these types of posts, and they’re fun to look back on. My family and friends are way too generous, and I’m really grateful for everything I was given.


I got some new accessories for my camera – a new travel bag from Crumpler and a new lens. The camera bag will be perfect for travelling when I visit mum. It’s got enough room to stash my laptop, all my lenses, external flash and room to spare for cords The lens was a combined gift from J and his parents. It should be a great all-rounder lens to replace my kit lens; it’s got capabilities to go wide angle or super-zoom and its also macro. I can’t wait to get some more practice in with this one.

My dad got me a new PS4, which I am super thrilled about. Shoutout to the Bondi JBHIFI team for hooking me up. I ended up getting a deal they had with three games – I didn’t like two of the ones in there though, so they let me swap them out for ones I did want. I ended up getting Thief, Murdered: Soul Suspect, and Watch Dogs. My little bro got me the new COD … I’m really excited to play this online. He told me I can’t play with him though because I’ll ruin his stats… thanks little bro. My sister and her boyfriend were going to pre-order me the new Tomb Raider, but then realised there were quite a few games coming out soon, so they bought me an EB Games gift card instead so I can decide when they get released.
J also got me Simcity (which is OMG so fun) and GTA5 on PS3. I am kinda annoyed my birthday is right before I go back to uni, because I just want to spend all my time playing these games now haha.

My good friend S gave me a gift card and a mini ecoya candle in French Pear. This scent is so, so nice  I love it! I also got a gift card from work, which I totally wasn’t expecting and is so nice of them. I love getting gift cards because I can buy something I really want and know I’ll love. Choosing what to spend them on is hard though!

I also got some new clothing… J bought the cool batman villain tights for me from Movie World! We saw them when we went there in February, and I mentioned they were cool. So thoughtful to get something that you mentioned months ago you wanted. Unfortunately they’re in the smallest size (Which is really big on me) and the material is really, really thin so they’re see through. It sucks because they’re such an awesome print. I am thinking I will wear them to and from pole. The stretchiness means they’ll be good pants for stretching in, and if I’m wearing my pole shorts underneath the see-throughness isn’t really an issue. My mum gave me some money, and with that I bought the ‘Win or Die’ Black Milk tights that I’ve been lusting over for months.
My sister and her boyfriend also bought me a really gorgeous vegan leather jacket, and a two-toned tote bag. The jacket is a perfect fit for me (which can be tricky because my body shape is kind of all over the place). I was using them when I took these completely forgot to include them. I'll have to do an outfit post soon to show them off!

Where do you stand on gift cards for gifts? I always feel bad giving them out, but I love receiving them, so that really makes no sense.

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