29 May 2014

Brand Focus: Retail Box

A few months ago there was a lot of buzz about a certain new online store (Retail Box) selling K√©rastase Elixir Ultime (hair oils for those who don't know) at a ridiculously low price. I can't remember how much, but it was something like R99 for a R445 bottle. I had to investigate and saw that they also had ghd brushes on sale. 

The website is easy to navigate and ordering was a breeze. While communication was sparse (no "Your order is on its way!" emails or tracking numbers), my products were delivered within about three days. I always have to wait what feels like ages for products to arrive, so I was very chuffed with the short delivery time. The items were neatly packaged in a box and came with a sample size L'Oreal Mythic Oil and a card.

Fast forward to Easter, and a couple of us ladies unexpectedly received presents from Retail Box. I was thrilled to receive a box with a handwritten note, a "Magic Flowerpot Princess Pink" Tangle Teezer filled with little chocolate eggs, and a voucher to use on their website. What a lovely way to thank their customers!

I waited a while to use my voucher, and finally settled on the much-hyped Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner. It arrived a few days later, neatly wrapped with a thank you card. The shampoo and conditioner bottles unfortunately look identical (expect for the words "Shampoo" and "Condition"), so I was sent two bottles of shampoo. I notified Retail Box of this on Twitter, to which they immediately responded and said they're sending the conditioner right away. A weekend and two working days later, and I have my conditioner (blog post to follow, for sure!).

I'm not going to harp on about who Retail Box are or where they come from, you can read it here. One thing that stood out for me, however, is the fact that they are the online store for Tosca Hair Salons in the Western Cape.

You can go shop to your heart's content at They always have *something* on sale, and free delivery on orders over R500. What are you waiting for? Go go go!

Have you ever purchased anything from Retail Box? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!


26 May 2014

Sweater Weather Tag

I saw this tag on Pink Peonies Blog and thought it would be a nice feel-good post to write seeing as I am NOT looking forward to the impending Monday!

Favorite candle scent?
I've only recently gotten into scented candles, but I now have a lot of love for Yankee Candles. I bought a couple of small ones to try out, and my favourite for autumn/winter is definitely Cinnamon Stick. It's a heady mix of cinnamon and cloves and it smells exactly like gluhwein-- one of only a few things I like about winter!

Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
Definitely coffee. I absolutely love coffee although I limit myself to two-three cups a day, otherwise I start feeling sick. I do drink tea, but only rooibos tea (black and slightly sweet), and for hot chocolate I love NoMU's drinking chocolate.

What’s the best Autumn memory you have?
When I was at university in Stellenbosch, the leaves would turn the most magnificent shades of gold, orange, red, and brown in autumn. (And then clog up all the gutters.) One of the most famous streets in Stellenbosch is Victoria street-- a long straight road that runs through the heart of the university campus. Broad sidewalks let you stroll down the street and underneath the trees that line both sides. In autumn it looks like a fairytale. That, to me, is my best autumn memory.

Which makeup trend do you prefer: dark lips or winged eyeliner?
This is a tough one. If I could draw it perfectly: winged eyeliner. If I were gutsy enough to wear it all hours of the day: dark lips. I am, however, more likely to explore with eye makeup, so I'd go with the winged eyeliner.

Best fragrance for Autumn?
I don't really have a specific autumn fragrance, I wear whatever I'm obsessed with at the time. I would ideally go for something more woody and musky, and save the fruity florals for spring and summer.

What is Autumn weather like where you live?
The early mornings and late evenings are very very chilly, but the days are sunny and hot. It's the weirdest combination! I never know what to wear anymore, because I leave home in the mornings kitted in boots, a coat, and a scarf, and in the early evening I get home with my scarf and coat draped over my arm!

Most worn sweater?
At the end of last winter I bought an oversized sweater from Woolworths that is knitted from dark grey and white wool, and has big white hearts on. It's a size or so too big for me, but it was the last one left and it was on sale, so I couldn't leave it there!

Must-have nail polish this Autumn?
The Essie 2013 Fall collection looks absolutely amazing and I would love to get my hands on Twin Sweater Set, Cashmere Bathrobe, and For the Twill of it. In the meantime I will be wearing my Chanel Rouge Noir and Essie's Chinchilly.

Football games or jumping in leaf piles?
When I was younger I would rather jump in leaf piles, but nowadays I like to stay indoors and plan what delicious meal I'll be conjuring up next! And a glass of good red wine, something good on TV, and a blanket is also a winning combination.

Skinny jeans or leggings?
I love wearing leggings around the house, but otherwise I prefer skinny jeans as they can be dressed up or down. I can easily wear them to work and to the mall.

Combat boots or Uggs?
Definitely combat boots.

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?
I have no idea! I don't like pumpkin, so not sure if I'd like pumpkin spice...

Favorite Autumn TV show?
Not really "seasonal", but my favourite shows at the moment are Game of Thrones and The Following.

What song really gets you into the Autumn spirit?
I don't have any autumn songs either, but I am currently listening to The National's past three albums and to me it's the perfect music for the colder weather.

Right, that's it for my Sweater Weather tag! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! What do you like most about autumn? Or are you also more of a summer girl?

Image credit: Pixabay

Until next time!


19 May 2014

Tried N Tested: Clinique TTDO Cleansing Balm and Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector

Ever since my university days I have loved using Clinique. I used the three-step system for years, but ever since I moved to Gauteng a couple of years ago, it was like the three-step system didn't work for me anymore. Although I don't use their three-step system anymore, I still love Clinique and think that they are a fantastic brand. Everything from their mascaras to their masks to their chubby sticks are amazing and good value for money. In today's post I will be featuring two Clinique products that I have tried recently (and am still using). Both of the products can be purchased at Clinique counters, on Clinique's website, or on Red Square's website.

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

Oh boy. I have had my eye on this for SO long, so when I had the opportunity to purchase this at a discounted price, I jumped at the chance. Apart from Lush Ultrabland and The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter, this is my first proper, solid cleansing balm.  First up, the cleansing balm comes in a sturdy pot with a screw on lid. I love the purple colour of the pot, and the silver lid looks quite modern and classy. As with all of Clinique's products, this has no scent. Good for people with sensitive skins, but a teensy bit boring for someone who loves the slightly floral scent of certain other brands. The pot is filled to the brim with product (no skimping here!) and the balm is white and solid. You have to use your fingers to work a little dent into the balm to scoop out a bit. As soon as it comes into contact with your skin, it starts to melt into a beautiful oil. I would say this is equivalent to, but more luxurious than, The Body Shop's camomile cleansing butter. I apply it to dry skin and massage it in, even onto my eyelids. It takes off all my makeup and after removing it with a hot facecloth, my skin feels plumped and clean, not greasy, dry or tight. And, it doesn't break me out, bonus!

This retails for R295 for 125 ml.

Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector

I find looking for eye creams a pain, because there isn't a "one size fits all" eye cream. You won't find an eye cream that will address all of your concerns. Before trying out this eye cream, I had really dark circles under my eyes. Well, I normally do anyway, but this was worse than usual. The eye cream comes in a small white tube with a metal applicator. The idea is to squeeze a small amount of product onto the undereye area and then use the cool metal applicator to lightly massage it in. I tried doing it like that in the beginning, but normally in the mornings I just dot it on with the applicator and then use my fingers to pat it in (hey, two ring fingers are twice as fast as a single applicator!). I can never really tell if eye creams work or not, but I read somewhere that because the skin under the eye is so thin, you should see results almost immediately (especially if it is targeted at wrinkles). So if you don't see results, it might be time to chuck that eye cream… That being said, after using it for a few weeks it does look like it's working, but there aren't any overnight results.

This retails for R380 for 10 ml.

Have you ever used any of these products? Do you have any Clinique favourites? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!


15 May 2014

Haul and First Impressions: Topshop Makeup

Monday saw me going through a tiny Sleek MakeUP haul. If you missed it, you can read the post here. Today is the second half of the haul and we move on to Topshop. This is a haul and "first impressions" blog post as I have obviously not had enough time to test out the products extensively.

This is my first ever purchase from Topshop-- makeup or otherwise. I went to the small Topshop in Menlyn but the lady told me you can only get the makeup at the big Sandton City store. I suppose you would be able to get the makeup range at a big Topshop in Cape Town as well. Cape Town ladies, please comment on this?

I've always read about Topshop makeup, but I've never really had the urge to go out and buy their products. That is until I read this blog post from Nouvelle Daily on their Topshop beauty must haves… I couldn't get all the products they mentioned, but here's my pick.

Topshop BB Cream in 1.0

First off, I love the packaging of this BB cream. The sleek silver tube just jumps out to you from the shelf. The BB cream itself has quite a light texture. It's not as thick as the Sorbet BB cream or the Garnier BB creams. It applies smoothly and covers minor imperfections and redness quite well. I can't really comment on the staying power of this as I've only used it once or twice. I have oily combination skin and after applying this BB cream and setting it with powder, I didn't need to powder again for the remainder of the afternoon. This retails for R159.

Topshop Lip Bullet in "Wine Gum"

This is like a chubby stick, except it's a lipstick in, well, a stick. The packaging is white and matte, and the lip bullet twists up at the bottom. This colour is amazing and not for the faint of heart. I have yet to wear it in public, I've currently just worn it around the house to work up the courage to wear it in public. It's a bright hot pink and the formulation is super creamy. The texture and consistency reminds me a bit of my MAC lipstick in Snob and the colour is just as in-your-face! It wears off evenly so you aren't left with a pink stain in the middle of your lips and nowhere else. This retails for R149.

Topshop Glow Stick in "Play Up"

I originally wanted the Glow Highlighter in Polish, but every single one had finger marks in it, so I decided against that. When I saw these glow sticks, however, I just had to investigate. It's a highlighting shimmer cream in a stick form, also with a twist up bit on the bottom. The packing is sleek with its matte black stick and the cap closes tightly, so no highlighting the inside of your makeup bag. The size also makes it perfect for a night out or for travelling. This product fascinates me and I've been loving using this on top of my cheekbones and just under my eyebrows. It glides on smoothly and leaves you with a beautiful golden shimmer and no disco ball-esque glitter. This retails for R169.

Topshop Nail Polish in "Tidal"

The packaging is super cute with the matte white cap with black polka dots and I chose this colour because it's so unique. At first it looked like a mint green, then like a light grey, and upon close inspection (and nail application), I saw that it is a soft duck egg blue colour that edges more on the grey side. It's a beautiful colour and those of you following me on Instagram would have seen a pic of this a couple of days ago. A perfect icy winter shade. This retails for R69.

Topshop Blush in Afternoon Tea

The packaging is just too adorable. The blush comes in a round, matte white case with black polka dots. The packaging is sturdy and it has a mirror inside. My initial impression with this was disappointment, as someone had already swatched it in-store and put it back into the box... I should have checked it before I bought it, but it was in its box and I had to hurry to get to my event. I dipped a cotton pad into some diluted tea tree oil and swiped the surface of the blush, so I hope that killed any potential germs from the in-store swatch! But back to the blush: this is yet another in-your-face colour. As you can see from the photos above, it is quite a vibrant pink, but when blended out the cream turns into a powder and it leaves the face with the most beautiful flush of colour. The texture is super creamy and easy to blend. I really like this blush and I am already thinking of getting a few more shades. This retails for R89.

So that's the haul, kudos if you've read the whole thing! Have you tried any Topshop makeup products? I'd love to add to my shopping list for when I visit Sandton City again.

Until next time!


12 May 2014

Haul and First Impressions: Sleek MakeUP

Last week I attended an event in Sandton City, and because I live in Pretoria and don't get to go to Sandton City very often, I went there early with a sneaky shopping list. I went to two stores, but to keep the posts relatively short, I've decided to do one store today and the other one on Thursday. This will be a haul and "first impressions" post as I have obviously not had enough time to test the products out thoroughly.

My first stop was Foschini so that I could get my hands on some Sleek MakeUP products. I've heard a lot of bloggers talk about Sleek, but somehow it's a brand that has eluded me. It also seems like various stores stocked it, then it was retracted, and now certain selected stores are selling it again. I honestly have no idea what the story behind this is, so if any of you have the scoop (as well as where one can buy it besides at Sandton), please leave me a comment below.

To be honest, I don't know that much about Sleek MakeUP, except that it is a UK high-street makeup brand and that their products are of great quality and great value for money. After consulting my shopping list, and seeing the dismal selection at Foschini (the shelves were nearly empty, and half of the testers were missing so you don't know what you're buying), I settled on two products: the divine Mineral Based Eyeshadow Palette in "Storm" and the Pout Polish in "Frosting".

divine Mineral Based Eyeshadow Palette in "Storm"

The eyeshadow palette comes in a sturdy matte black case that clicks when you close it (always a plus point for me-- no powdery spills in my makeup bag). It houses twelve eyeshadows, a large mirror (the length of the palette), and a double-ended sponge tip applicator. The colours are beautiful and buttery and apply really easy. I wasn't expecting it to be picked up so well by my brush, to be honest. The nine shimmery shades are very shimmery, but are balanced out by the three matte shades. That being said, I would have liked a few more matte shades. There is a good selection of colours, but I think this would probably be better suited for nighttime looks rather than daytime. Although, I can't be bothered and like wearing these eyeshadows during the day. The shimmery shades include a caramel, a light gold, a dark antique gold, a rose gold, a rich plum, a dark bronze, a gunmetal blue, a dark jade, and a dark blue. The matte shades include a very light brown, a dark brown, and an intense black. The colours are beautiful and I look forward to experimenting with them to create various looks. When wearing it with an eyelid primer, I easily get eight hours' wear out of them. And for a grand total of R120, I think this is a serious steal.

Pout Polish in "Frosting"

The Pout Polish comes in a cute shallow round pot with a screw on lid. It is touted as a tinted lip conditioner and has an SPF of 15. "Frosting" is the lightest colour and is a bright bubblegum pink and smells of vanilla. When applied, it leaves the lips moisturised and with a sheer light pink tint. I've worn this on its own and under creamy lipsticks and I really like it. The consistency is difficult to describe, but I would say it's a bit more creamy and "spreadable" than the Labello lip butters (those in the tins). A Pout Polish costs R85. Not as good value for money as the eyeshadow palette, but obviously I had to get it.

So that's the first part of my haul done. Tune in on Thursday for my Topshop makeup haul, it's going to be a good one!

Have you ever tried Sleek MakeUP products? I'd love to know for my next trip to Sandton...

Until next time!



05 May 2014

Monthly Favourites: April

Another month done and dusted, let's get stuck into the favourites, shall we? This month there were a lot of favourites, but only two in the makeup category. So for those of you who are more into beauty and skincare than makeup, this post if for you!

Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan oil sulfate free shampoo and conditioner

The shampoo foams lightly and leaves my hair incredibly soft and smooth. The conditioner is rich without leaving my hair feeling weighed down. It smells nutty (I don't know if that is what Argan oil smells like). It contains no sulfates, meaning it doesn't contain the same foaming agents as other shampoos. It is more gentle on hair, making it a great option for coloured hair. Personally I'm not too bothered by the whole sulfate vs sulfate-free hoopla. I've been washing my hair with sulfate shampoos for years and I still have a healthy head of hair. I can't really say if the condition of my hair has improved greatly with the use of this shampoo and conditioner, but my hair is extremely soft, manageable, and shiny. 

You can buy this at Dischem and Checkers for around R99 a bottle. I bought mine at Dischem when they had it on special for R89 a bottle.

Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel

After nearly finishing my tube (you can see on the top photo that I have indeed finished it!), I read in Elle that it was voted as the winner in the "Cleanser and Exfoliator" category in their beauty awards. Well deserved! It's a thick orange gel that you apply to dry skin and then massage in. It doesn't have too much slip, but upon applying a few drops of water, it emulsifies into a thick (non-foamy) lather. After massaging it in, I remove it with a hot face cloth. It leaves my skin silky smooth and clean, and doesn't leave me with a dry tight feeling. It smells amazing due to the Marula oil.

You can pick this up at Clarins counters for R305.

Sigma brushes: F80 Flat Kabuki and E25 Blending

I've already blogged about my great experience with Turquoise Studio (you can read about it here), but now it's time to talk about the actual brushes. The F80 is a sturdy buffing brush and is perfect for buffing in foundation and BB/CC creams. It leaves you with an airbrushed finish and is just amazing to use. The E25 has quickly become my favourite eyeshadow brush and I use it every single time I apply eyeshadow. It's soft and fluffy and blends eyeshadow like a dream. Both brushes also wash incredibly well and especially the E25 returns to its original white state.

You can buy the F80 and the E25 from Turquoise Studio for R325 and R195 respectively.

Magic Flowerpot Princess Pink Tangle Teezer

I was lucky enough to receive a cute Easter box from Retail Box (more about that in an upcoming post). I already own the Shaun The Sheep Tangle Teezer Compact Styler, but this Flowerpot Tangle Teezer really stole my heart. I don't know if it's because it's shaped like a flower, but it's the most adorable thing ever and I find myself brushing my hair more often! The bottom of the flowerpot also doubles up as a nifty storage unit for hairbands and hair clips.

You can buy this from Retail Box for R260.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Face Mist

With the weather turning colder, you'd think facial mists would be used less, but winter in Gauteng means you need hydration in large dosages. Sitting in an air-conditioned office doesn't help either, so I like to spritz this on my face a couple of times a day. It smells like Turkish delight (hello, rosewater) and doesn't dry my skin out (as normal water would have done).

You can buy this from The Body Shop for R110.

The Body Shop Aloe Lip Care

I'm always a bit weary when people recommend lip balms. I am a pain when it comes to lip balms, as I usually have some sort of issue with it not working like I want it to. After hearing various UK beauty bloggers raving about this lip balm, I decided to give it a try. Ohhh my goodness! I've had a vicious upper airway infection for the past two weeks (and counting), and this is all that is saving my dry, chapped lips. It doesn't smell like aloe at all (thank heavens), and it's a thick gel cream that soothes and protects your lips. I only need to reapply it every couple of hours and my lips feel instantly softer and less chapped.

You can buy this from The Body Shop for R70.

Garnier Pure Active BB Cream

I've already blogged about this BB cream here. It glides onto my skin smoothly and it's been my most-used BB cream of the month.

You can buy this from Clicks, Dischem (and I think from Checkers and Pick n Pay) for R75-R85.

Well there you have it! I hope you've enjoyed this post. Here's to another month of trying out beauty goodies! Have you tried any of these products? Tell me in the comments section!

Until next time!


01 May 2014

Review: Catrice Oyster & Champagne nail polish

On a recent snoop around Dischem I saw the new Catrice Crushed Crystals nail polish collection. Crushed Crystals is a collection of six textured polishes that look like diamond dust when applied to your nails. The colour 04 Oyster & Champagne immediately caught my eye.

Oyster & Champagne is a beautiful champagne and gold coloured polish containing fine glitter and small hexagonal glitter flecks. Two coats are enough to leave you with glittery, yet not tacky looking, nails. Because I don't apply a top coat (it's a texture polish), I get quite a few chips, but because of the glitter, chips don't show up so easily, bonus!

Here you can see it applied to my nails: two coats, no top coat. You can buy Crushed Crystals for R54.95 at Dischem.

Have you tried any polishes from this collection? Tell me in the comments section!

Until next time!