30 June 2016

Travel Post: A Long Weekend in Melville (Part II)

Monday I showed you all the places we went during our short stay in Melville (you can read it here). I also did a post on what I packed in my travel makeup and skincare bags which you can go read here. Today's post is about the rest of our activities during our stay, but by this time we had branched out a bit and explored more of Johannesburg.

Carlton Centre

The Carlton Centre in the Johannesburg CBD is the tallest building in Africa. Yup, I bet you didn't know that! It boasts an impressive 50 floors taking you to the "Top of Africa" for a mere R15 per person. The ground level (as well as a few levels below that) houses a large shopping mall and, according to City Sightseeing, the rest of the building houses Transnet's head office. The shopping mall also connects the Carlton Centre to the Carlton Hotel. The Carlton Hotel looks positively tiny next to the Carlton Centre!

You can walk around and see the whole of Johannesburg from the 50th floor and isn't it breathtaking?! We went late afternoon so that we could watch the sunset, and boy, what a sunset it was! Some of my photos came out a bit dirty, but I promise you it's not the lens!  I can just imagine what a horrifying job it must be to try and clean the 50th floor's windows...

Zoo Lake

We wanted to go to a park or a garden or something nice, but everything was extremely empty and slightly dodgy-looking when we went out the Friday morning. Most people were probably either at work, or someplace other than Johannesburg for their long weekend. In the end we settled on Zoo Lake and although dry, it's a very nice park.

Neighbourgoods Market

Ah, I've wanted to go to the Neighbourgoods Market for so long but I never wanted to drive all the way there from Pretoria early on a Saturday morning. The market is inside a building and it's on two floors. The bottom floor is only food and beverages and the top floor has clothes, bags, jewellery, alcoholic beverages, and live music. It's a stunning place but that day it was so cold and the wind was blowing through the top floor, so not as nice as it usually is, I'm sure.

You're supposed to go to the NM hungry, but after our delicious guest house breakfast we were full. I did manage to drink an espresso Tequila milkshake and it was delicious! We also sampled some of the jams and cheeses, and the people aren't shy to give out tasters, so taste away!

I also bought a few things for dinner that night in the form of a loaf of bread, Harissa paste, and duck liver pate. Yummy! I also love the fact that almost all the stalls have SnapScan, that way you don't have to worry about carrying cash or swiping your bank card.

Have you ever been to any of these places? Let me know in the comment section!

Until next time!


27 June 2016

Travel Post: A Long Weekend in Melville (Part I)

This past long weekend the husband and I decided to have a city escape. I decided on Melville as I've heard good things about it and we've never been there before. We saw a lot and ate a lot, so I've decided to split the post into two. The next instalment will be on the blog on Thursday.

Ginnegaap Guest House, 4th avenue, Melville

I have to admit, it was not the name that drew me to this guest house... However, when I saw the beautiful old Victorian house on which had availability for our dates plus an affordable price tag AND breakfast included, I was sold. Most of the reviews I read had something positive to say about the breakfast, and it's not often that you find that.

Our room was really nice and decorated in white and lime green which were offset by the light brown closet. There were small pieces of artwork in the room and a beautiful lead glass window above the bed. The bed was comfortable (with electric blankets!) and the bedding was soft, the pillows were just a bit soft and floppy for my taste. There was a small TV with DSTV, a fan, a heater, a bar fridge, and a small tea and coffee station. We also had a plunger and different kinds of coffee and tea which I really liked. The bathroom was a nice size featuring a big shower and soft towels.

Breakfast was served in the dining room which was so inviting and beautifully decorated. The table with the cold breakfast is in the middle of the room with the small tables placed around it in a U. There were homemade granola, Greek yoghurt, fresh fruit, and honey, along with various cereals. There were tea and a pot of coffee quietly brewing in the corner. After eating our cold breakfasts, the waiter came around with a small menu from which we could choose our hot breakfasts. I can't remember the name of my breakfast but it's a slice of health bread topped with ham, pickles, cheese, and two fried eggs. Delicious!

We stayed at Ginnegaap Guest House for two nights, and frankly, I could have stayed there a bit long. The owner and her husband are very friendly and attentive and I mean, the breakfast alone is worth staying for!

27 Boxes

The idea behind 27 Boxes was to create a unique market place. The "mall" consists of 27 containers that each houses a shop. Jewellery, artwork, food, candles, you name it! I love the concept and it's a very interesting place to spend a morning or an afternoon. There is also a big restaurant (I'm not sure if that counts as a container!) called The Countess where we ate on our fist day there.

The restaurant is really beautiful and reminds me of Truth Coffee in Cape Town with all the dark walls and the steampunk decor. Their menu contains many interesting combinations for both drinks and food. The restaurant was unfortunately having an off-day on the day we decided to go, as nothing seemed to go right. They didn't have the craft beer in stock that was supposed to come with the burger special, we waited over an hour for our food, my husband's burger patty was a bit dry, and my brisket (although tasty overall) was extremely fatty. The waitress did apologise for the inconvenience and offered us milkshakes on the house (FYI - the strawberry and basil shake is out of this world!). I don't believe in holding a grudge against a restaurant for one bad experience, so I'll definitely go there again on another occasion, preferably when they're not so busy.

Rubi Coffee Bar

Another little gem is the Rubi coffee bar. Here you can get pretty much any type of coffee drink you like. Everything is fresh and delicious and the barista even roasts his own coffee right there! I had a medium-size cappuccino for around R20 and it was one of the best capps I've had in a while!

7th Street, Melville

This is the heart and soul of Melville and is the street where everything happens. The street is lined with restaurants, bars, and even a bakery and a bookshop. There truly is something for everyone. We weren't sure how safe it would be to walk (it's safe), but we chose to take an Uber each night for dinner. As we were so close it costs us R20 a side (that's the absolute minimum an Uber can cost you).

Hell's Kitchen 

Hell's Kitchen is perfect for a night out on the town: either to start your night, or to end it. There were a lot of people our age and I immediately felt at home. The decor is very, very cool, and the music is right up my alley. They have quirky art on the walls and there's one framed black and white photo of Johnny Depp and Keith Richards (I think it's KR, to be honest I only had eyes for JD) that I just want to take home. Hell's Kitchen have their own beer, Hell's Lager, and their own cinnamon-laced whisky called Hell Fire. It sounds awful but it tastes amazing! Much later that night we got hungry and ordered the bacon and cheese pizza which was surprisingly yummy for bar food!

 La Santa Muerte

This Mexican restaurant has to be my favourite place that we went to the entire weekend. La Santa Muerte ("holy death") is next door to Hell's Kitchen (they share owners and, by the looks of it, most other things!). The decor is edgy and cool although I didn't take any photos as we sat "outside" in a courtyard-type place almost between the two restaurants. The food here is unbelievable. I would drive all the way there from Pretoria just for dinner. My husband had the pulled chicken nachos (it was an enormous portion) and I had the pulled pork tacos. Oh. My. Word. And if the main meal wasn't delicious enough, we ordered churros to share for dessert. Churros are basically long thin doughnuts that you dip in warm melted chocolate. We've had churros in Madrid, Spain (the home of churros) and let me tell you, this is totally comparable. La Santa Muerta's churros are a bit more "spongy" and thick, but they are delicious! Churros are always served with a hot chocolate sauce, but here they gave us a little something extra... I couldn't stop eating the pale custard (I still dream about it) which was made with the Hell Fire whisky from next door.

If you're reading this it means that you've read all the way through, thank you! I hope you enjoyed hearing about our long weekend, please join me on Thursday for the second part. Have you ever been to any of these places? Can you recommend anything? Please let me know!

Until next time!


20 June 2016

What's in my bag? - The Long Weekend Edition

The husband and I decided to go away for the long weekend and this was the first "holiday" we have had since Christmas... We were both in desperate need of a few days away from work and although we only went away for three days and two nights, I think it already helped a lot. Today I'll be showing you my updated travel skincare and makeup bags, and in an upcoming post I'll tell you all about our weekend away.


Instead of decanting products or taking along full size products, I decided to purchase one of Dermalogica's "Skin kits". I have oily/combination skin so I chose the "normal/oily" skin kit (you can read about it here). It's hella expensive (everything from Dermalogica is), but a few months ago I utilised Sorbet's 20% off special that they had on everything in-store. Contained in the kit is the Special Cleansing Gel which is a clear herby gel that cleans my skin gently without stripping it. The Skin Prep Scrub is a gritty scrub that you apply to your skin after using the Special Cleansing Gel. You massage it gently and then wash it off with warm water. After that comes a few spritzes of the Multi-Active Toner which smells delicious and gives my skin a nice burst of hydration as well as a bit of a glow. The Total Eye Care (SPF15) is slightly tinted and is rich enough to hydrate the under-eye area, but not so that my concealer slips around on top of it. The last product is the Active Moist which is a light moisturiser that still feels like its providing adequate hydration. I also packed a sample of the Clarins Bright Plus Serum which I applied between the Multi-Active toner and the Active Moist. I also brought along a small bottle of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate, but I ended up not using it.

As for body products and haircare, I only brought along a teeny tiny bottle of Lush's Lord of Misrule shower gel (it was part of the Christmas 2015 collection), and Pureology Hydrate shampoo and conditioner decanted into small bottles.


I'm quite impressed that I managed to use everything that I packed with respect to makeup. I usually pack way too much makeup, but I seem to be getting better at it!

Brushes are normally the items that make my makeup bag seem overcrowded, but I do feel that they are a necessity. To me, the correct tools are the most important part of applying makeup! I packed my Real Techniques (RT) buffing brush (for BB cream), the RT contour brush (for under-eye concealer), the RT setting brush (for setting my concealer), the Cargo Magic brush (for blush), and two Cala eyeshadow brushes (a big flat one and a fluffy blending brush). 

I'm loving the new Catrice Prime and Fine Beautifying Primer (I spoke about it here), and I love to combine it with the L.A. Girl Pro BB Cream in "Light" (my winter shade). I apply the Catrice Liquid Camouflage High Coverage Concealer under my eyes and on any pesky blemishes. I then set my concealer with the Bourjois Healthy Balance Pressed Powder (photo not included because it always lives in my handbag).

I have to admit that I only applied eyeshadow on our last day, but I initially brought it along to apply at night before going out. The NYX Eye Shadow Base is a new purchase and so far I'm liking it. The Wet n Wild eyeshadow palette in "Smoke and Melrose" is one of my favourites and such a versatile little palette for winter (it was a limited edition, sorry!). As you can see I've already hit pan on the beautiful champagne-pink colour!

For blush I only packed this beautiful Catrice Golden Powder (shade "C01 Golden Grace") from their Treasure Trove collection. The powder is buttery and soft and blends easily. The colour is a bronzy gold and gives the skin a healthy glow, as if you had applied a golden highlighter.

I have returned to my holy grail eyebrow product: the Smashbox Brow Tech To Go in "Taupe". It has a flat triangular pencil on the one end and a small spoolie with brow gel on the other end. What more can you ask for?! For mascara I packed a travel size of the Clarins Instant Definition Mascara. The wand is long and narrow and coats each of my lashes in beautiful creamy black mascara.

I only brought along two lip products: one neutral for daytime and one bold colour for evenings. The neutral shade is a new offering from Rimmel called "The Only 1 Lipstick" in the shade "700 Naughty Nude". It smells like watermelon and is incredibly creamy. The colour is a pinky nude and is quite literally a "my lips but better" shade on me (bottom swatch). The lipstick doesn't dry down and it also doesn't slide around on my lips, but after 20 minutes or so I can definitely feel that the consistency has changed somewhat. It doesn't flake or wear unevenly, and I've worn it for about three days straight now. The bold lip option comes in the form of essence's "Let's the berry tales begin!" which is a creamy plum lipstick (middle swatch, which doesn't do the colour justice) that was part of their Merry Berry Christmas collection. I apply that over the essence lip liner in the shade "10 Berry on my mind" (top swatch).

Last but not least is this cute Thierry Mugler Alien perfume bottle. This is one of my favourite scents and unfortunately this little bottle is now empty.

I hope you enjoyed rummaging through my travel bags! What was in your bag this past long weekend? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!


13 June 2016

New Drugstore Offerings from essence and Catrice

Today I'm going to show you some things that I recently picked up from essence and Catrice. Both brands are super affordable and most of their products are very high quality too. All of these products were purchased at either Clicks or Dischem (Dischem usually have a better selection than Clicks).

New in from essence

Makeup fixing sprays seem to be making a big splash in both high-end brands and drugstore brands, and the latest offering comes from essence. Their Keep It Perfect! makeup fixing spray comes in a small spray bottle making it ideal for travelling. The liquid is also dispensed as a fine spray, so you won't be squirting yourself in the eye. It doesn't leave my skin sticky or tacky, and there have been zero breakouts or rashes. I can't be 100% sure that it's the fixing spray, but it does appear that my makeup lasts longer when I spritz this on in the morning after doing my makeup.

Essence brought out velvet sticks (matte) and gloss sticks (shiny) for lips. This Velvet Stick Matt Lip Color in the shade "Peony Star" is a creamy cool toned dirty pink. It reminds me of Mac "Syrup", but a lot more cool toned. I like the consistency of the formula and the staying power, but the colour is a bit too cool toned for me. That said, there are many other gorgeous shades which I intend to try out.

Another new addition to the essence lip product arsenal is this Prettifying Lip Oil. I have the pink lip oil called "First help, pinky".  What drew me to this product is that I love lip oils (the Clarins one, especially) and the fact that this reminds me of those roll-on lipglosses we used to buy when we were at school. Who still remembers that? My best friend and I used to slap that on every chance we got. Anyway, back to prettifying oils... This lip oil comes with a doe foot applicator instead of a rollerball.  It smells like jelly sweets, and although it looks red in the tube, it does not really have any significant pigment. It applies lightly and doesn't feel thick and gloopy on the lips. It feels more like a light gloss than an oil. It doesn't have any staying power, but it's a fun product to use and it doesn't dry out my lips.

New in from Catrice

This Catrice Eye'Matic Eye Powder Pen really grabbed my attention. It looks like a mascara tube or an eyeliner, but in fact it is powder eyeshadow in pen-form. You twist off the cap and the spring-loaded cap springs back to reveal a sponge tip covered in powder eyeshadow. I have it in the shade "Al Cappuccino" and it is a beautiful shimmery taupe/silver. You run the applicator across your eyelid and then blend it out with a fluffy blush. I haven't done more than swatch this product yet, but I have a feeling that it's going to be a goodie.

This little Blush Artist Shading Palette from Catrice is just the bees knees. There are three different shade combinations, but I have it in "020 CorAll I need". There is a shimmery pink shade, a matte peachy coral, and a shimmery light peach that comes through more as a highlighter. All three shades are pigmented and buttery. No chunks of glitter, and no patchiness. How I normally use it is by swiping my brush lightly across all three shades and then applying that to the apples of my cheeks. All three shades apply incredibly well and give a lovely healthy glow to the skin. 

When I saw this highlighter I knew I had to have it. The Catrice High Glow Mineral Highlighting Powder in "010 Light Infusion" is an absolute drugstore gem. This baked highlighter has a golden champagne-y shade with shimmer. On the face it makes you glow and does not come across as sparkly or tacky, you just have "that glow". The texture is smooth and creamy and it blends out well.

If there's one thing I love, it's primers, and when a drugstore primer is released, I'm on it. This Beautifying Primer boasts "soft focus effect, longlasting, naturally illuminating". It smells like roses and it applies like a light cream. It feels cool on the skin and doesn't emphasise pores or blemishes. It evens out my complexion and creates a beautiful smooth basis for whatever I apply on top of it. I can highly recommend this!

Have you tried any of these products? Are there any others that I should try? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!