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27 November 2014

Review: Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in "Pink Quartz"

Today's review is of quite a splurgy item, but I bought it on a blogsale for far cheaper than the normal price, so I'm feeling quite chuffed! I've never owned Bobbi Brown products before the middle of this year, but I'm slowly but surely building up my little collection. The newest addition is the beautiful Shimmer Brick in "Pink Quartz".




The shimmer brick comes in a sturdy compact that shuts with a satisfying click-- no broken shimmer strips or powder in your makeup bag. The compact has a large mirror, but the shimmer brick itself is quite small. It consists of five shimmery powder strips of different shades. Each shimmer brick has a different colour theme and this one, Pink Quartz, has a sheeny pink theme.

They go on to say that you should sweep your brush (a blush brush or something similarly tapered) across all five shades and then dust it lightly on your cheekbones (where the light hits your face) after applying blush. Not only can you use it to highlight skin (think cheekbones, brow bone, cupid's bow, and nose), but you can also use it as eyeshadow.






The shades are absolutely beautiful and are more champagne/rose and bronze than pink. I think this would suit most skin tones. There are two pinky shades (top and second from the bottom) and the top one is much more shimmery than the one second from the bottom. The three bronzy brown shades are quite similar, with the top one being more brown and the other two being more bronze. 

You can pinpoint certain colours and then just use them (like when you're using it as an eyeshadow), but these past two weeks I've just been swirling my blush brush over all five shades and applying it as blush! It gives my skin a healthy glow and it's especially good on mornings when I'm faffing about and there isn't really time for blush-bronzer-highlighter. The compact is quite large, but I think it's a good product to travel with as it is multi-purpose.

Have you ever used a shimmer brick? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!
Hildegarde

xoxo


20 November 2014

Travel Thursday: Swaziland and the Maguga Dam

As mentioned in a previous blog post, my husband and I went to Swaziland for our second wedding anniversary. It's so weird driving just three hours from home and having to use our passports! Getting through border control was a breeze and the people were friendly and quite efficient.



We drove another half an hour or so to get to our accommodation. On the way there we stopped at the Ngwenya Glass Factory that we've heard a lot about. They make recycled glassware and you can stand above the workshop and see how they blow glass and make everything by hand from wine glasses to ornaments in the shape of giraffes and elephants.




We arrived at the Maguga Lodge which is the only accommodation next to the dam. We really couldn't have picked a more beautiful location!  Swaziland uses hydroelectricity to power the country, and most (if not all) of it comes from the Maguga Dam.

The dam is absolutely breathtaking and although our rondavel didn't have a dam view, we could see it from pretty much everywhere else. Most of the rondavels are divided into two, and are rented out as two separate rooms. I'm not a fan of round rooms, so the fact that I had a straight wall behind my head while sleeping was quite comforting! It was rustic, yet clean and the room is quite large with a Kingsize bed, a television with DSTV, air conditioning, a butler's tray with a kettle and some coffee and tea, a vanity table of sorts, and a separate bathroom with a humongous shower.

About 50 m from our rondavel was the main building with the reception area and the restaurant. The restaurant overlooked the dam and many times we just sat there with a drink and looked out over the peaceful dam.



When we weren't at the restaurant, or snoozing in our room while waiting for a thunderstorm to clear up, we drove around and explored the western part of Swaziland. We made it as far as Mbabane (the capital). All the towns we saw were small and rural, but Mbabane is a city with a CBD and lots of cars and big buildings. On a much smaller scale than, say, Pretoria, but still much more busy than the rest of Swaziland. It's also a treat driving on the highway in Swaziland: they have a grand total of two lanes going in a certain direction, and there is hardly ever more than four or five cars in front of you. And by "in front of you" I don't even mean "close to you"! Due to the light traffic the highway is in a very good condition. When we got closer to Mbabane the traffic got heavier, and there were also quite a few trucks on the road.









We also visited the Phophonyane Falls in Pigg's Peak and the Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Lebombo. Both were quite beautiful and definitely worth a visit, as is the rest of Swaziland!

Things to note before visiting Swaziland:

  • A valid passport!
  • If you're taking your own car you need the following: 
    • A letter from the bank stating that you are allowed to take your car across the border (if you don't owe any money on your car this is not needed), 
    • A copy of your car's registration papers 
    • A letter from your insurance company saying that your car is insured in Swaziland
  • According to the AA you need a "ZA" sticker, but we took ours along and we weren't asked to stick it onto the car.
  • You won't have cellphone reception as soon as you step into no man's land between the border posts.
  • We used our Absa credit cards in Swaziland without notifying the bank that we are going to be in another country (normally they stop your card for safety reasons if it is detected that you are suddenly using your credit card in another country without letting them know)
  • There are limitations on what you are allowed to bring into Swaziland. Electronics are fine as long as you don't plan on selling your camera over there! Electronics such as cameras, tablets, and laptops are declared at border control by filling in a form at customs. Ours were never checked, but you never know.
  • You are allowed to bring alcohol across the border as long as it is for personal use. So you can bring two bottles of wine, but not twenty cases.
  • Taking firearms over the border complicates things, so it's best to leave them at home! 
  • Speaking of safety: Swaziland is very safe, but I won't recommend getting out of the car at the small informal settlements. Once again, you never know.
  • They have a different currency to ours, but the exchange rate is 1:1 and you can happily use your Rands to pay for everything.
  • Some petrol stations do not allow you to pay with your South African credit card, so you will have to use cash. We filled our car with diesel before we hit the border, and we only needed to fill up halfway back home, so that might be something to consider.


I hope you enjoyed this little travel interlude! Let me know if you would like to see more of these types of posts.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

17 November 2014

Empties Post #3: Skincare

I've made a conscious effort to try and finish products instead of letting them go to waste, or having a bathroom overflowing with half-empty bottles. This post is centred around skincare products that I have used up over the past few months.

Clarins Extra-comforting Cleansing Cream


Likes

  • Creamy - I love the luxurious feel of cream cleansers
  • Typical "Clarins" scent
  • Very hydrating and doesn't make my skin feel greasy or stripped

Dislikes

  • None that I can think of

Would I repurchase?

  • Definitely (once I finish my other cleansers)


Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution


Likes

  • Takes off ALL makeup
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skins
  • Best makeup remover by far - I tried other cheaper alternatives but nothing came close to this

Dislikes

  • The price - it went from about R120 to R190-R200 in little over a year

Would I repurchase?

  • Definitely (I'm on my third bottle)


Woolworths Treat Anti-ageing Serum


Likes

  • Well-priced for a serum (about R260)
  • Nice scent
  • Pump bottle

Dislikes

  • Not travel-friendly at all (large bottle)

Would I repurchase?

  • Maybe


The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Serum


Likes

  • Sinks into my skin quickly
  • Soft floral scent
  • It is very affordable
  • Pump bottle
  • Perfect for travel

Dislikes

  • Not sure how much it really does for my skin (is it as good as a R600 serum?)

Would I repurchase?

  • Definitely (I'm on my second bottle)


The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner


Likes

  • It hydrates my skin
  • It is very affordable (especially on The Body Shop promotions)
  • Soft floral scent

Dislikes

  • The texture is a bit syrupy

Would I repurchase?

  • Definitely (I'm busy with my second bottle)


Have you ever used any of these products? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo




13 November 2014

Review: Bobbi Brown Lilac Rose Eyeshadow Palette

My love for eyeshadows (and eyeshadow palettes) have been well-documented. Add to that a nifty little compact, and I'm sold! The Bobbi Brown Lilac Rose Eyeshadow Palette ticks both those boxes.















The palette is rectangular and really small, yet it contains eight eyeshadows and a mirror! Upon opening the lid you see the mirror and the top four eyeshadows. The bottom part of the palette slides open on little hinges (!) to reveal the other four eyeshadows. I mean, have you ever?

This palette is from the Lilac Rose collection. What I can gather from a quick Google search is that this collection came out in 2013, but I'm not 100% sure.




The shadows range from matte to shimmery to metallic. I've never tried Bobbi Brown eyeshadows before, but I was a little bit disappointed with the quality. It's not as buttery and blend-able as my Stila and Urban Decay eyeshadows. That being said, having all these purply nude eyeshadows together in a tiny compact does come in handy. 


The top eyeshadows are (clockwise from top left): Ivory (matte), Pale Rose (matte), Stormy Grey (shimmery), and Pink Lily (metallic). Ivory and Pale Rose (actually more of a camel colour) are great for the brow bone or over the entire lid. Pink Lily and Stormy Grey are accent colours and look very pretty combined with the other two colours.


The bottom eyeshadows are (clockwise from top left): Barely There (shimmery), Heather Brown (shimmery), Black Chocolate (matte), and Dusty Lilac (matte). To me, Barely There and Heather Brown are both in the same "neutrals" class as Stormy Grey. The colours remind me of a few Urban Decay Naked 1 shadows, but are unfortunately not as pigmented. Dusty Lilac is a beautiful dirty pink/purple that would look great on both green eyes and brown eyes. Black Chocolate is a deep and dark chocolate brown and would be great for lining eyes or for some precision crease work. My favourites so far are Stormy Night and Heather Brown (big surprise there!).

I love experimenting with the colour combinations and find the shadows really great for day-to-day looks, and for travelling. As I've already mentioned, the colour payoff and the longevity aren't outstanding, but the colour selection, size, and downright cute compact makes up for it...

Have you tried other Bobbi Brown eyeshadows before? How was the quality and the colour payoff? Tell me in the comments section, I'd love to know.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

10 November 2014

A non-beauty post for a change

Today there will be no beauty or makeup post, but I do have a few things I'd like to say.

Things have slowed down a bit on the blog as I have been very busy at work. I'm in the final stretch of my PhD and I don't really have time for anything more than working, eating, working, and sleeping. Oh, and working. I'm trying my best to blog because I love blogging, but also because I don't want you guys to think I'm abandoning you or the blog! I apologise in advance if the posts aren't going to go live as regularly as usual, but do know that I am trying my best.

The husband and I are currently away on a little break. We are celebrating two years of married life today and decided to spend a long weekend in Swaziland. This is also the last "holiday" I will be able to take for the next five months or so due to the PhD. I will be going on Christmas holiday, but the laptop's going with...



Thank you for your continued support and interest in my blog and my life outside of blogging! It really means a lot to me and it's support like this that keeps inspiring me to blog.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

* Photo taken by the ├╝ber talented Nielen de Klerk at Vredenheim


06 November 2014

eyeSlices: A slice of cool for your eyes

There is no official blog post on Suzy Q-tip today, but my post on eyeSlices is going live today over on the Go Beauty Blog where I will be contributing when my time allows for it.

In short, eyeSlices are a South African company who produces little green eye "slices" that you put on your eyes, almost like the cucumber slices we used to put on our eyes! The eye slices don't contain any nasties but do contain complex chemical technology that makes it effective in combating many of the eye dramas we ladies hate: puffiness, tired and red eyes, wrinkles, shall I go on?



If you want to read more about what I thought, head on over to the Go Beauty Blog.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

03 November 2014

Monthly Favourites: October

Another month, another monthly favourites post. This past month flew by as my mom came to visit for a week, and then I went to a conference in Cape Town for four days. I've been very good at keeping up with my current skincare routine (featured here and here), so the only new favourites I have this month are makeup related! Oh and a few small non-makeup related bits...who knew?


Real Techniques Buffing Brush

I've had (and used) this brush for more than a year, and recently rediscovered it. It's super soft yet dense, so it buffs in liquid formulations and mineral foundations beautifully. It also washes beautifully, and easily returns to its original state after a good cleanse. I bought mine from Amazon, but I hear Real Techniques now also ships to South Africa.

Bobbi Brown Corrector in "Light Peach"

After hearing numerous glowing reviews about this (and finishing my current under eye product of choice), purchasing this was an easy decision. I must admit, I did struggle to use it at first. When I bought it it was still cold in Pretoria, so I had a difficult time in applying the product as it just didn't want to soften enough to apply without dragging the delicate skin under my eyes. Now that it's much warmer, using this product seems so easy now! I dab it onto my under eye area using my ring finger, and then use a concealer brush to work it into the darkest areas.

I was tested for a shade at the Bobbi Brown counter and walked around with it the whole day to see how it sits on my skin. Most of the shades are a salmon colour to combat blue circles. There are a lot of shades, so it's best to get tested by a pro.

Clarins Instant Light Brush-On Perfector in "02 Medium Beige"

This is also a product that I've had for quite a while, but only recently rediscovered. The Instant Light Brush-On Perfector paired with the Bobbi Brown Corrector makes a mean team in combating dark circles and tired-looking eyes. The Brush-On Perfector comes in a gold pen that you twist on the bottom to dispense product through the thin brush. I draw triangles under my eyes, and dab it onto a few more places that need perking up, and then blend it in with my Real Techniques Contour Brush. There are three shades to choose from and they currently retail for around R345.

Revlon Highlighting Palette in "010 Peach Glow"

I won't call this a "dupe" for anything, but this is sort of like a drugstore version of the famous Bobbi Brown shimmer bricks. I can't and won't comment on the difference/similarities in quality, as I don't own a shimmer brick.

I bought both the Peach Glow and the Bronze Glow palettes, but so far the Peach Glow is my go-to palette these past few weeks. There are five stripes of colour and there is a bit of shimmer, but nothing that will make you look like a disco ball. The shades range from rose gold to brown, and there is even a yellowy gold strip. I normally just lightly swirl my blush brush across all the stripes and apply it to the apples of my cheeks as blusher. I then try and swipe only the bottom two stripes (yellowy gold and pale rose gold) and apply it as a highlighter to the top of my cheekbones. 

It's a really nice, easy to wear palette, and perfect for travelling when you don't want to think about packing separate blushers/bronzers/highlighters. I suppose you could also use the shades as eyeshadows, although I haven't tried that yet. You can buy this at Clicks and Dischem and it retails for around R110 (I think).

EOS lip balm in "Raspberry Pomegranate"

I've been lusting after EOS lip balms for a long time so I was thrilled when I heard that HashtagAwesome were selling these on their website. I bought the Raspberry Pomegranate and the Coconut Milk one, but I'm saving the Coconut Milk for when this one is finished, which, by the looks of things, won't be too long!

EOS lip balms are made with natural ingredients and contain no nasties, and the packaging is super cute. I must admit, the packaging might be one of the main attractors! It smells delicious and moisturises my lips without it feeling tacky or like I've just applied a layer of wax. I also don't need to reapply it too often, but let's be honest, with packaging that cute, who would mind?

Rubybox Fresh in a Flash Brush Cleanser

I received this brush cleanser in a previous Rubybox and I love it. It comes in a small spray bottle, and it dispenses a reasonably fine mist: fine enough to not squirt the poor brush with product, but also not so fine that it floats around the whole bathroom and settles on the mirror.

I don't know what's in it, but it smells quite strongly and it does a hell of a job of cleaning my brushes. I use it to spot-clean my brushes, and then to properly wash those that I use most often (buffing brush, blusher brush, powder brush, eyeshadow brush). It cleans the brushes much quicker than some of my other brush cleansers and I think I'll be investing in a few more bottles of this. You can buy it from Rubybox for R69.95.

Mr Price tropical earring pack

The last favourite is a fashion favourite, something I never thought I'd see on Suzy Q-tip! I've been loving the tropical trend this season, and I've made it my mission to acquire palm tree, pineapple, and flamingo accessories and clothes. I haven't managed to find flamingo earrings yet, but I've found a flamingo top and necklace, so that's a win in my book! These pineapple, palm tree, and cherry earrings are adorable and really add a fun and quirky twist to any outfit. I bought the earrings online for R9.99 (yes I know!).

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

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo