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22 February 2018

New in: REN Perfect Canvas

I'm excited to show you a new product that was kindly sent to me from one of my absolute favourite skincare brands, REN. I love REN's Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask as well as their clay detox mask, and recently they've come up with a couple of really exciting and innovative products. One of these exciting and innovative products is launching this month and I thought I'd give you a sneak peek.

REN Perfect Canvas*

First off, the packaging is stunning. Forget the old REN packaging that we all know so well: the Perfect Canvas comes in a matte white bottle. The packaging feels luxurious and expensive and, although it shouldn't be part of your decision to buy it, it does help to justify the price a teensy bit.

When I first received this product I was unsure of what it was or how to use it. It's called a "Skin finishing serum", but the directions say to apply it after your moisturiser, thereby making it a primer.  To say I was both confused and intrigued is an understatement! The directions say to apply a few drops to your skin (after moisturiser) and then to massage it in. It's silicone-free and you can immediately feel that when applying it to your skin: it feels more like a light oil than anything else.  It doesn't feel sticky or greasy, my skin just feels nourished.

It contains "bio-actives" which boils down to probiotic extract, hyaluronans, inulin, and alpha-glucans. The probiotic extract is supposed to speed up cell recovery and epidermal growth to assist in strengthening your skin's natural barrier. I'm not going to bore you with the sciency stuff, but the bottom line is, probiotic extract promotes smooth and hydrated skin, and prevents bad bacteria from penetrating your skin. Hyaluronans convert to hyaluronic acid in the skin and increases skin hydration as well as aids in keeping your skin's barrier in tact. It also boosts the production of elastin which means less wrinkles. Now for the kicker: Inulin comes from Agave Tequilana which is the agave plant used to produce tequila! Yes, you read that correctly: you're basically slapping a tequila derivate on your face (this does somehow explain the price). Inulin is a natural filler and has a short-term lifting effect. Lastly, the alpha-glucans balance the flora on the skin (much like the probiotic extract) and encourages the growth of good bacteria. So you can see a pattern here: reduces bad bacteria, hydration, improved skin barrier, lifting, and line filling.

It claims to smooth and lift the skin and make it look naturally filled, "resulting in a matte finish and creating the perfect canvas upon which to apply make-up". I've used this a couple of times, and I must say, I like it. It feels great on the skin, in fact, it feels more like a skincare step than a makeup step. I've recently moved more towards skincare and slightly away from makeup and using this makes me feel like I'm doing something good for my skin instead of just slapping on another silicone primer that's going to clog my pores. I still need to use it some more to truly test out the claims, but so far it seems that my makeup is sitting better on my face and that it doesn't just melt off before the end of the workday.

This product is suitable for all skin types and retails for R995. You can purchase it from REN's own website, Clicks, selected Woolworths stores, and Wellness Warehouse stores nationwide.

Will you be purchasing this? Let me know in the comment section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo


*PR sample

15 February 2018

Pregnancy Perk: Dischem Baby Bag

Even before I got pregnant I read somewhere about the Dischem Baby Bag. It's a free diaper bag filled with samples and baby goodies supplied by Dischem. I think it's a really great idea as they make diaper bags accessible for everyone.



How to get the baby bag


You need to be a part of the Dischem Baby Club and have a Dischem Benefits card. Joining these clubs cost absolutely nothing. Every time you buy something at Dischem and swipe your Benefits card you earn points (just like the Clicks rewards card) which can be used as cash off on future purchases. The Baby Club is just an extension of that: you need to register your pregnancy and input your due date. When you are 20+ weeks pregnant and have 950 points on your Benefit card (I think it equates to R9.50 which really is nothing) you can go to the clinic nurse at your local Dischem for a "baby bag consultation". The nurse I went to took my blood pressure and asked me a few questions regarding my pregnancy. She explained the vaccination and immunisation schedule to me and gave me a fridge magnet with the schedule on it (injection X at Y weeks, and so on). She then gave me a slip which I had to go pay at the till: the 15 min consultation, and thus the diaper bag, cost me R35. At around 27 weeks I got a phone call from my Dischem saying that my baby bag is ready for collection. I went there with my Benefits card and I had to fill out a form while I waited for them to fetch my baby bag. And that was it!

What's in the bag?



The bag itself is a very gender-neutral black and white. It's neutral enough so that dads can carry it around without fear of looking silly (not that that should be a big consideration, but you get what I'm saying). It has a big compartment and then a smaller zip pocket in front. It also has an elastic mesh pocket on each side for bottles. It has two handles and a shoulder strap. Inside is a matching changing pad that closes with a velcro strip. The nicest part of the bag, however, is all the amazing goodies! There are a few bits and bobs for me, but most of the stuff are for Olive and some of them are things that I haven't really thought of getting (and that I now don't need to get, yay!).

For me





  • A pack of 6 Softi maternity pads (apparently normal night pads aren't going to cut it)
  • Three pairs of Softi nursing pads (breast pads)
  • A pack of three disposable panties to wear in hospital
  • A travel size hand sanitiser
  • A sample of the Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco conditioner
  • Palmer's Stretch Mark cream

For Baby


  • A sample packet of size 1 Pampers nappies
  • Sample pack of baby wipes
  • Tom & Jerry travel wipes
  • Nappy bags
  • Softi cotton wool
  • Nuk breast milk storage bottle
  • Surgical spirits (to put on baby's umbilical stump)
  • Teejel soft finger-toothbrush
  • Softi cotton buds
  • Sample Sudocrem
  • Tommee Tippee newborn dummy
  • Travel sizes body wash, shampoo, baby oil, lotion
  • Epimax lotion sample
  • Nipple cream sample
  • Bennetts massage drops sample
  • Bennetts aqueous cream sample (not pictured)

And there you have it! A beautiful baby bag filled with goodies for only R35. Apart from one or two things I'm pretty much sorted for my diaper bag! I did get another beautiful Winnie the Pooh bag from my gran, so I'll rotate the two bags to get use out of both.

Do you have one of these Dischem bags? What other goodies did you get? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

12 February 2018

Monthly Favourites: January

With what feels like the blink of an eye, the first month of the year is gone! I've actually rounded up quite a few products that I've been using a lot this past month and this time round it's a nice selection of makeup and skincare products.




Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation



I've spoken about this here and here. We don't really get drugstore cushion foundations in South Africa so there isn't much to compare it to. That being said, I really like this foundation. The coverage can be built up if needed and the shade range is extensive (for a drugstore brand). The only downside thus far is the price which comes in at a drugstore-hefty R300.

essence Fresh & Fit Awake Primer



I've been using this primer on its own and mixing it with the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm and I like it either way. It's supposed to minimise your pores and provide your skin with a healthy glow. It contains a vitamin complex and cranberry water. It's very glowy but not siliconey and there's no glitter to be found. It's also very cheap, which is a bonus.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Lip Repair Balm



I bought this at OR Tambo international airport while we were waiting to board our flight to Frankfurt (first leg of our Italy trip) in November. I've been using it non-stop on flights and at work and it's still not finished. The texture is kind of like a creamy sorbet and it smells delicious: a bit eight hour cream-y but there's also something else in there that I can't put my finger on. It's very nourishing without being greasy or sticky. The directions say to slap it on at night or whenever your lips need some comfort. Currently this is pretty much any time of the day for me... It immediately hydrates and soothes my lips and I don't need to reapply it for a couple of hours. It's not the cheapest lip treatment but after using it for 3 months without running out I'd say it's pretty good value for money.

Clinique High Lengths Mascara



I got this as a gift with purchase when I used Luzanne from Pink Peonies' discount code during the Black Friday sale. At first I didn't think much of the skinny curved wand, but since I've gotten the hang of it (ie, not poking myself in the eye), I'm obsessed. It creates length and volume and it doesn't clump: it makes my lashes, in a word, perfect. This is not a cheap mascara, but seeing that I got it for free I might be pursuaded to purchase my next tube...

Skin Creamery Oil-Milk Facial Cleanser



Recently I've started double cleansing at night again after quite a long (lazy) hiatus and it has really made a visible difference to my skin. At first I used an oil for my first cleanse, but when I ran out I rediscovered my Skin Creamery Oil-Milk Cleanser. I've been using it every night as a first cleanse and I find it incredibly comforting and relaxing to use. It removes all traces of makeup and mascara and the scent is intoxicating.

L.A. Girl Pro Powder in "Banana"



I've documented my love for the translucent Pro Powder but that has been trumped by the banana powder in the same range. I use it to set my makeup and I find that the yellow tone doesn't produce a cast on my skin like some other loose powders. Another bonus is that it doesn't leave my skin looking ashy or cakey, I think I might even look slightly more alive and healthy thanks to the yellow tone. The packaging is also quite compact for a loose powder and it comes in at around R80, which is not a lot considering you only need a little bit of powder at a time.

Have you ever tried any of these products? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

29 January 2018

Review: Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation On-The-Go

In a post from last month I mentioned the Maybelline Dream Cushion foundation (you can read it here) and today I'll be reviewing it in full.


Firstly, the packaging is quite bulky, but you have to remember that a pot of foundation is now basically decanted in a powder compact - it's going to be bulky. I like the white and champagne gold colour of the packaging. The compact also snaps shut with a satisfying click, but I do have to say that mine didn't last long: the tiny hinge keeping the lid on the compact broke off on one side after a few weeks and the other one followed a few weeks later. Now this isn't a deal breaker per se: the compact still shuts tightly, but when I open it I have to be careful of not having the lid fall off and land on the floor.



When you open the lid there is a mirror and a small round puff. Under the puff is a small lip thing that you pull, revealing the cushioned foundation. Now if you've never seen a cushion foundation before; that is exactly what it is: foundation in a cushion, or, a sponge, if we're being technical. The idea is to dip the puff/sponge/brush into the cushion and then apply it to your skin.


As you can see from the photo above, the foundation itself is thin but still provides coverage. The packaging says that your skin will be "naturally luminous", you will have a "fresh face finish", the foundation is "medium coverage", and that it "smoothes and perfects skin". It also has an SPF of 20. I have the shade "21 Nude" which I think is a good shade for me. I haven't used the puff with the foundation, but I find that using my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge does the trick beautifully. I dampen my sponge, dab it lightly onto the cushion and bop it onto my face (yes, that's the technical term). If I'm a bit heavy-handed I find that the coverage is quite full, but I prefer to have a light to medium coverage which you can achieve with a damp beauty sponge.

It sits well on my skin and plays nicely with primers: I've tried primers ranging from mattifying primers to Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, nothing moves around or pills. My concealers also work nicely with the foundation (I used Bourjois Radiance Reveal and am now back on my Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer) and nothing gets cakey or crepey. It makes my skin look very healthy and smooth. I won't say that it is overly glowy, but it is definitely not matte either. I set it with powder just because I have combination oily skin and I *always* set my foundation, no matter what foundation I'm using. 

I find that it wears well throughout the day and that by lunchtime my makeup still looks good. I haven't noticed that it oxidizes on me, and at the end of that day I can see from my cotton rounds and my facecloth that there is still a lot of product left on my skin (ie my skin didn't eat the foundation).

The verdict: I really like this foundation! I've been using it pretty much non-stop since buying it. The only problem? The price. At R300 this is one pricey drugstore foundation. That being said: there aren't really any other cushion foundations available in the drugstore, the only other one I know of (available locally) is the one from The Body Shop and at R360 that is even more expensive (I like the Maybelline one better).

Have you tried this foundation? Are you going to try it? Let me know!

Hildegarde
xoxo

25 January 2018

Pregnancy Update: Weeks 25-30

I don't know how, but it's already been five weeks since my previous pregnancy update. Time is absolutely flying now and I desperately want it to slow down. Sure, I'm excited to meet my baby girl, but there's so much I still want/need to do and I feel SO unprepared!


We wanted to go to prenatal classes, but decided against it for a number of different reasons. Firstly the timing is all wrong. I didn't want to go too early as some of my friends said that they forgot a lot of information because they went too early (pregnancy brain and all that), but there are no prenatal classes in our area in December or January: the classes only start mid-January. That in itself isn't a train smash, but the one lady I emailed said that her classes are 12 weeks long (one night a week) so I'll probably miss the last two classes owing to the fact that I'd have already given birth by then! The other lady's classes are only six weeks, but each class is three hours long! It's hot and I'm pregnant and tired; I really don't feel like putting myself through this kind of torture! That being said, I am freaking out slightly because I feel like I know nothing and I have only 10 weeks left... We did, however, make an appointment at our hospital for a hospital tour. It's on a Saturday in March from 8:30 until 15:30. They'll be giving us a tour of the facilities as well as a prenatal crash course. I figure that this, together with all the research I'm currently doing, will be enough. My doctor said that we should do a breastfeeding class, but, like my husband said, it'll only be theory, right? It's not like you can practice with a real baby, so what's the difference between going to the class and reading up on it or watching videos? You'll need help in the hospital when it's your turn anyway...







We went to Cape Town for Christmas and my dear mom had a baby shower for me. It was so great having all my aunties and women I look up to together in one room. They really spoiled Olive with everything from clothes to toys to blankets. I made a list of what clothes she will need (from various forums, blog posts, magazines, and books) and compared it to what I received at the baby shower. I then bought a few items of clothing that were lacking from the list. My mom is also on a mission to buy more stuff and I'm letting her. I really don't have a problem with other people (especially Granny!) buying things for my baby. I'm incredibly lucky and blessed to have people in my life who are so excited with me! Speaking of which: my own Granny went on a shopping spree of note for little Olive and bought her the cutest things, amongst others a cute Winnie The Pooh diaper bag.



Before we left for Cape Town I also registered at Dischem for a diaper bag. You go for a short consultation at the Dischem clinic and then they order a baby bag for you. I'll be doing a post on this soon as I think it's a great idea that many pregnant ladies might not be aware of.




As for the nursery: things are coming together slowly but surely. I've been incredibly frustrated and irritable because I felt that things were moving too slowly. We finally had the laminate wood floors put in and it looks stunning! The next thing I'll have to buy is a dresser. We decided on a dresser instead of a changing table as a changing table has limited uses, whereas a dresser will always be a dresser. I plan on just buying a changing mat to put on top of the dresser. The drawers will be for her toiletries, diapers, clothes, and blankets. When she grows up we can use the dresser/changing area as a normal dresser without having to buy more furniture.



We've decided to do a moon and stars theme for her room and my mom and I are currently busy with a couple of DIY decor projects. They're still in the beginning stages but I'll keep you updated on our progress. They should be finished by the time I write my next pregnancy update.

Health wise I've been well except for heartburn. I have never in my life experienced heartburn like I have these past few weeks! It doesn't matter what I eat or even *if* I eat: heartburn can strike at any moment. I've found that Rennies work in a way, but that Gaviscon chew tablets are by far the most effective (and most expensive). I'm also starting to have trouble finding a comfortable position to sleep in. I did buy a maternity pillow (or "preggy roll") at the Baby Expo, but it's so hot! I don't feel like having more things on my bed that add to the heat. I've really been struggling with the heat. I'm lucky to have air-con in my office, but our house is a different kettle of fish. Fans don't really help, but when you're at home for the day there isn't really much you can do except lay on the couch in front of the fan and drink lots of cold water.

My appetite has increased even more and I'm obsessed with fresh fruit: watermelon, white seedless grapes, and cherries. I'm not really eating as much veggies as I should be (oops), but I think I'm more than making up for it with all the fruit I'm consuming! With the growing appetite and the growing tummy comes the growing wardrobe: most of my clothes don't fit anymore. I currently have a few maternity dresses on rotation and that's how it's going to be for the next 10 weeks or so. I only wear a dress one day (is there anyone who can wear a dress twice??) before throwing it in the wash, and I really don't feel like doing washing multiple times a week. I already do laundry twice a week so my wardrobe needs to last me at least three days.

My skin is also looking the best that it's been in weeks: looking at the first picture in the post I think I finally have "that pregnancy glow", but it's also owing to the altered skincare routine I'm currently following. At the beginning of the year I trialled two Vitamin C products that wreaked havoc with my skin (more on this in an upcoming post) so I had to get back to basics with my skincare routine. Would you be interested in an updated skincare post?

Olive has also been very busy: some days I feel like she's doing a rumba in my belly! I haven't really established any patterns, but she does seem more active when I'm sitting down at my desk (right after I get to work), after I've had sweet and cold things to eat or drink, or when I'm lying on the bed after being busy for a while. At the 28 week scan the doctor said she's lying breech (head up) but that there's enough time and enough room for her to move down into the correct position. About half of the scans we've had so far she's been upside down doing gymnastics, so I'm confident that by the next scan she'll be upside down again!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

22 January 2018

My Best Makeup Finds of 2017

In last week's post I showed you my top skincare finds of 2017 and today I'll be going through my top makeup finds of 2017. There were a couple of knockout drugstore favourites and it was difficult to narrow it down to just six!

More of a winter favourite, but the MAC Diva lipstick is a stunning deep red/burgundy matte lipstick. Although it's matte it doesn't dry out my lips and it still feels very comfortable. It even lasts through eating and drinking and fades evenly. Reapplication is also painless and leaves with you with a seductive pout that looks as good as the first time you applied it.

I've used the Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer for most of 2017, the tube just never seemed to run out or dry up. The consistency is creamy yet light and it covers anything from under-eye circles to blemishes. It comes with a slanted doe foot applicator that applies just enough product to the area of concern. I've recently started using a tube of my beloved Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer, and I have to say, the Bourjois is better.

I hate doing my brows and I'm very finicky about what I use on them. The Maybelline BrowPrecise Fiber Filler is a godsend for the scarce-of-brow. It has a flat, almost spade-like applicator with small teeth and the product itself has fibers that bulk up your brows. It clings to your brow hairs making them look more bushy, without looking clumpy. I use a brow pencil to draw in hairs and then go over my brows with this. It also sets my brows without making it feel crunchy.

Speaking of brows: my eyebrow pencil of choice this past year has definitely been the L.A. Girl Shady Slim brow pencil. It's a very thin (skinny) pencil and is just the right balance between waxy and creamy. It makes filling in my brows very easy and it costs a whopping R85 at Dischem.

My makeup setting spray of choice has been the essence Instant Matt Make-Up Setting Spray. It sets my makeup without making it look cakey or powdery, and I find that my makeup lasts much longer than usual. It's also a very travel-friendly bottle and only costs R60.

The Maybelline Dream Cushion Liquid Foundation On-The-Go is a winner in my books. It's compact, there are a lot of shades, and it gives the skin a healthy and glowy look without being greasy. I'll be doing an in-depth review on this soon.

What were your makeup finds of 2017? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

15 January 2018

My Best Skincare Finds of 2017

I've been meaning to sit down and write this post for a week now, but I keep on finding excuses not to! During December I wrote three blog posts a week for almost a month and now I find myself being too lazy to write even this one, oops. I hope you all had a good break and that you returned to work (or will be returning to work) refreshed and well-rested. My holiday felt very short, but I did manage to rest a bit and take it easy. I'm normally not someone who can lay on the couch or the bed for hours on end reading or sleeping or "taking it easy" - I'm always busy with something, be it organising a cupboard or cleaning the floors or cooking/baking something new, so now that I'm seven months pregnant I find it difficult to just sit on my butt and do nothing! That being said, I do realise the importance of relaxing, especially now that I find it difficult to bend down or get off the couch on my own!

I thought I'd start off the blog post writing for this year with a "Best of" post - today will feature my best skincare and body care finds of 2017, and the next post will feature all my favourite makeup finds of the past year.





Since I've been three months pregnant I've used Bio-Oil diligently every single day after showering. It keeps my skin soft and supple and it helps a lot with the itchiness that comes along with being pregnant (your skin starts to itch as your belly expands and the skin becomes thinner). I'm currently on my second large bottle and I can see myself repurchasing this again and again.

As for shower cream: the Palmolive Gourmet Spa Shower Cream in "Mint Shake" has definitely been a highlight of my skincare year! It is extremely affordable (think around R40 for a big bottle) and doesn't leave my skin feeling dry and taut like some other cheap shower creams or gels. It's very cooling and smells exactly like a Peppermint Crisp chocolate bar!

I've always been bad with applying sunscreen, but The Body Shop's Skin Defence Essence (SPF 50) for the face has really helped. It's not your typical thick and gloopy formula, it's actually much more watery than I anticipated, but it sinks into my skin quickly and easily. My makeup goes on smoothly afterwards and I've had no breakouts like I've had in the past from thick, pore-clogging sunscreen products. I've almost finished my bottle and I will definitely be repurchasing.

Clinique has really impressed me in 2017. I used to love their products but I felt like it stopped working for me after university. I don't know if it's because of the drier air in Pretoria or if my skin changed, but I had to switch over to other brands. Then they released their Pep-Start range and I was immediately intrigued: the packaging and products were fresh and new and after trying this 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser, I was hooked. It reminds me of their 7 Day Scrub Cream, but it's a bit more gentle and includes a cleanser, so you only have to use the one product. I can highly recommend this, especially for combination skin, as it leaves your skin silky smooth although it's not so rough that you're left with red cheeks after using it.

My last skincare find for 2017 is the hydrating facial oil by Skin Creamery. I love everything about this oil from the packaging to the scent to the way it makes my skin feel. I've tried it many different ways, but my current favourite way is to mix two to three drops of it into my serum and apply it at night. I find the scent extremely relaxing and comforting, the perfect thing to end off my day.

What were your favourites for 2017? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo