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13 November 2017

Review: Garnier Skin Active Hydra Bomb Tissue Masks

Whenever new face masks launch there is quite a buzz surrounding it, especially when it's affordable and from the drugstore. Recently Garnier launched three sheet masks (tissue masks) and people have been going crazy for it.



There are three variants in this "Moisture Bomb" range: Pomegranate Super-hydrating Revitalising mask for dehydrated skin (blue), Super-hydrating Rebalancing Mask for normal to combination skin (green), and Super-hydrating Soothing Mask for dry and sensitive skin (pink). The blue mask contains pomegranate, the green one green tea extract, and the pink one chamomile.

The face masks each come with a gauze backing that you remove when applying it. The face masks are quite large and will fit any size face. My only gripe is that the holes for the eyes and the mouth are too small. There are little tears in the sheet mask that allow for stretching, but I find that these are not enough for me. My face is quite big and my features large, so I have to take a pair of scissors and make extra cuts at the outer corners of the eyes and the mouth. I've found that works and that cutting the parts next to the nose hole on each side also works. You're still left with a single sheet mask, but now the nose flap is only connected to the forehead part, if that makes sense.

The masks are soft and drenched in moisture. There's nothing worse than just a damp face mask - it needs to be almost soaking wet. That being said, there's no moisture dripping off the mask, everything stays put.

The instructions say to leave the masks on for 15 minutes, but I usually leave it on for 30-45 minutes. At about 45 minutes I can feel the mask getting slightly drier and that to me is the sign that it's time to remove it. You can, however, leave it on for even longer, but I wouldn't ever sleep with a sheet mask on. Can you imagine waking up in the middle of the night with a sheet mask that moved and is busy suffocating you??

I don't feel a big difference between the three face mask variants, but I do really like all three. All three leave my skin feeling incredibly juicy and plumped up. My skin feels soft and hydrated and anything I put on top of it (like a facial oil or moisturiser) glides right on.

At between R49.95 and R54.95 each they aren't the cheapest sheet masks (both the Skin Republic and Sorbet masks are cheaper), but I still think they're great value for money. I bought mine from Foschini when they had a 3-for-2 offer on all Garnier face products, and I see my local Clicks and Dishem now also stock them. These stores also regularly have 3-for-2 promotions on Garnier products, so then it'll work out roughly R33.30 each which is an absolute bargain.

Have you ever tried these masks? What do you think? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

09 November 2017

Travel Post: What to Pack for a Holiday in Italy (Clothes)

In the previous blog post I showed you my toiletry, makeup, and on-board skincare bags. Today we're talking clothes and what I'm wearing on an overnight flight to Frankfurt and Rome.

I've tried to follow A Pair And A Spare's 5-4-3-2-1 rule (you can read about it here). The 5-4-3-2-1 is a method to keep you from overpacking: 5 tops (tops, shirts, jackets, knits, everything that goes on "top"), 4 bottoms (skirts, shorts, pants, jeans), 3 dresses, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 bags, 1 hat, 1 watch, 1 pair of sunglasses, and unlimited underwear and accessories. I was very good in keeping to most of this, but I just felt like packing more tops were necessary. November is autumn in Italy and I have no idea what the weather will be like - will it be a Pretoria 20 degrees or a Cape Town 20 degrees? I also didn't want to pack too heavily so I decided on 9 tops (1 tank top, 3 T-shirts, 2 long-sleeved tops, 2 very thin long-sleeved knitwear-like tops (almost like waterfall cardigans), and 1 thick jersey), 3 bottoms (1 pair of black leggings, 1 pair of flower print leggings, 1 pair of boyfriend jeans), 2 dresses (cream and black maxi dress, denim shirt dress), 2 pairs of shoes (1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of canvas sneakers), 2 bags (1 large tote, 1 small cross-body bag), 1 hat (plain sunhat), 1 pair of sunglasses, 1 watch (my Fitbit), and a pashmina.




All the short-sleeved tops as well as the flower print leggings and the denim shirt dress are maternity wear and the rest are "normal" clothes. I've just now realised that all my clothes with the exception of the thick jersey (Pick N Pay Clothing) and belt (Spree) are from Mr Price, H&M, and Woolworths! The tank top, two waterfall cardigans, maxi dress, denim shirt dress, and pajamas are from Mr Price. The three T-shirts (black, white, white with black stripes), both pairs of leggings, the pashmina, and the sneakers are from H&M. The rest - the two long-sleeved shirts, boyfriend jeans, sandals, and cross body bag are all from Woolworths.

Not pictured are three bras, six pairs of underwear, six pairs of secret socks, a sun hat, and a pair of sunglasses. The plan is to do laundry halfway through our trip, and I'm also wearing an outfit on the plane out of this selection.

What I'm wearing on an overnight flight

I normally travel in jeans, but an overnight flight asks for something different. Would you really like to sleep in jeans? I think not. I'll be wearing the denim shirt dress with the black leggings, socks, sneakers, and the long waterfall cardigan. I'll also make sure to wear a comfortable cotton bra (I bought two from PnP that are more like crop tops). I also need to wear compression socks (sexy!) during the flights so I'll wear those underneath my leggings.

And there you have it, a fashion-type post on this blog! I hope you enjoyed it. Please stay tuned for more travel content in coming days.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

06 November 2017

Travel Post: What to Pack for a Holiday in Italy (Toiletries)

When this post goes live the husband and I will be in Rome, Italy. In today's post I will be taking you through my toiletry and makeup bags. The toiletries fit into my Vichy travel bag and my makeup fits into a small Clinique makeup bag, win! I'm only packing minis and where I don't have minis I decanted the products into smaller travel containers. I also bought two new travel bottles which I am very excited to use, but more on that later.

Skincare



I managed to pack all my skincare into a handluggage sized clear plastic bag. I prefer to do it this way so I have all my skincare together in one place, and if something leaks, it doesn't leak into my entire toiletry bag. I normally take my Dermalogica travel kit with me, but some of the tubes are a bit on the empty side and I didn't feel like spending R800 on five minis... Instead I packed a travel size Clinique Pep Start 2-in-1 exfoliating cleanser (you can read about it here), mini Dermalogica eye cream with SPF, Dermalogica hydrating mist decanted into a Clinique bottle (do all Dermalogica spray bottles have horrible misters??), Dermalogica Active Moist moisturiser, mini Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum (for nighttime), sample size Avène Hydrance Optimal serum (for day), mini REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask, Garnier Micellar water travel size, a facial sponge, cotton earbuds (I used an old Catrice nail art packaging), and cotton rounds (I got the container at Dischem).

Body Care



I decanted shower gel (Nivea oil show cream) into a QVS travel bottle from Woolworths. I used to have two of these (one for shampoo and one for conditioner), but the other one's cap cracked and broke. For shampoo and conditioner I have two silicone travel bottles from Clicks. They're squishy and leak proof and I'm very excited to use them. I'm thinking on doing a separate post on it after properly testing them. I decanted my Tresemme shampoo and conditioner into these containers. The larger bottle is obviously for my conditioner!



I also have a wide tooth comb, my Venus travel size razor, Sorbet body butter, travel size Batiste dry shampoo, The Body Shop Sun Defence sunscreen, Nivea sunscreen for body, teeny tiny Bio-Oil, and samples of the Palmer's stretch mark cream and tummy butter. Not pictured are aftersun lotion decanted into a small bottle (good 'ol Freeze from Dischem), deodorant (Nivea for black and white clothes), a wash cloth, and a shower lily. The husband's toiletry bag is quite empty so I'm going to try and sneak the Nivea into his bag so mine is a bit lighter...

Makeup





As for makeup, I'm pretty much packing the things that were in my previous monthly favourites post. Travel sized Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, L.A. Girl Pro HD BB cream in "Fair", Bourjois Radiance Reveal concealer in "02 Beige", Catrice Prime and Fine pressed powder (this is a new purchase but I have used it in the past), Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge, Wet N Wild PhotoFocus eyeshadow primer (I need to use this even if I'm not wearing eyeshadow), Maybelline Color Tattoo in "On and on bronze", travel size EcoTools blending brush, essence Kabuki brush, L.A. Girl Slim Shade brow pencil in "Brunette", Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Filler brow mascara in "Deep brown", and a sample Clinique High Impact mascara. Not pictured is my essence Matte setting spray which I forgot to photograph. You'll see that there are no lip products. I only plan on taking one or two lipsticks and I'll only use them when we go out at night, so I'm still deciding what to take.


On-board skincare



Now this is a step that many people see as unecessary, but for me it is absolutely necessary. If I sweat a lot, or if the day just becomes too long, and I have mascara on, then my eyes start to sting and I just get miserable. Also, you'd take your makeup off before going to sleep at your house, so what's different when you're sleeping in the air? I packed another hand luggage sized plastic bag (this one had lots of Dove travel sizes in - I wanted a new one but couldn't find it at my Clicks). In it I packed Nivea 3-in-1 cleansing facial wipes, a travel size Avène thermal spray, travel size Dove deodorant (why don't they sell minis here??), earplugs, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream decanted into one of those small Lush sample pots, and a sample Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief moisturiser, and a travel size Clinique Pep-Start eye cream.

When we're tucked into our seats on the plane I'll remove my makeup with a facial wipe, apply some eye cream, spritz my face, and apply some moisturiser. Lip balm is an important last step. Upon waking up the next morning I'll pretty much repeat the process, but maybe also splash my face with some water in the bathroom before applying my eye cream and things and then also brushing my teeth (they usually give us little travel pouches with travel toothbrushes and toothpaste on overnight flights).

I am also taking medication (anti-clotting injections, prenatal vitamins, Panado's, nasal spray, Corenza Para-C, and Kentraxil) on the plane with me. As for entertainment I am taking magazines and my iPod. I'm also taking my Canon DSLR in a Lowepro bag.

And that's it for my travel skincare, makeup, and in-flight bags! I hope I'm not packing too much but I also hope I'm not forgetting anything important!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

02 November 2017

Travel Post: Off to Italy!

The husband and I have been uhmm-ing and aaah-ing about where to go for our fifth wedding anniversary for months. We were set on going to Zanzibar because it is (1) affordable, (2) close, and (3) reminds us of our honeymoon in Mauritius (not the same place, but still an island getaway). Then we found out that I was pregnant, so Zanzibar was out of the question (it's classified as a malaria zone). Then we started thinking about going to Europe... The last time I was in Europe was in 2014 and I absolutely loved it. (The husband was there briefly in 2016 for work, but that doesn't really count.) We initially wanted to go to Greece, but in the end Italy won the battle. This will be for our fifth wedding anniversary, as well as a "baby moon" as it will be the last proper holiday we'll be going on as just a couple.



We're going for little over a week and we'll be spending three nights in Rome, two nights in Florence, and two nights in Venice. I am deliriously excited as I've always wanted to go to Italy. The husband has also never been there, so it'll be a good adventure for us both. I'm a bit sad that I won't get to taste proper Italian wine, but I'll make sure that we pack a bottle or three into our suitcases for when I can have wine again. I will unfortunately not be able to drink all the coffee I want, but I intend on eating all the pizza, pasta, and gelato. I already have a list of the best places in Rome to order certain foods and I'm very excited to work my way through that list! I also look forward to all the sights and sounds and I'm very excited to see all the museums and cathedrals and to soak up the history.

I'm planning a travel series on our trip which will include a "What to pack" in terms of clothes, toiletries, and on-board goodies. I'll also do a series of posts on where we were, what we saw, and what we ate, so check in regularly so you don't miss anything. I will try to Instagram the trip as we go (wifi permitting), so please also check that account.

Arriverderci!

Hildegarde
xoxo


*Photo of Florence with thanks from Pixabay.

30 October 2017

Monthly Favourites: October

I don't know if it's my mushy pregnancy brain, but I couldn't really think of any favourites to put in this month's favourites post! I've pretty much been using the same things I've used for the past few months, which should probably tell you that they're well-loved. Since I've been loving the same products for a while now, I thought I'd do this post a bit differently than usual. Instead of only giving you the three new favourite additions to my routine, I thought I'd give you a rundown of makeup products I currently can't live without.


As for primer, it's no surprise that the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm made the cut (I recently spoke about it here). It leaves my skin hydrated and refreshed and ready for the next step. The next step being my beloved L.A. Girl Pro BB Cream in "Fair", of course! After that I use the Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer in "02 Beige" (more on it here), all applied with my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge (I recently spoke about it here).



I hate doing my eyebrows, so if I find something that works on them, I stick with it until something even better comes along. I go in with the L.A. Girl Shady Slim Brow Pencil in "Brunette" and then I comb through my brow hairs with the Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Filler in "Deep Brown" (I spoke about it here). Another important step is setting my makeup and I'm currently loving the essence Instant Matt makeup setting spray (you can read more about it here).



As for the three new items: I've really been enjoying using Bio-Oil on all the parts of my body that are starting to stretch. It's a tad greasy (it's an oil, after all), but it really hydrates my skin. Apparently having itchy skin on your stomach is another fun pregnancy symptom and I haven't had it very often. I'd like to think it's due to my Bio-Oil applications. For the rest of my body I'm using the Palmer's Firming Butter which smells delicious and comes in a handy pump bottle. I've also been enjoying the Lee Stafford Coco Loco Blow & Go Lotion (I spoke about it here) for days when I curl my hair and I want it to last.

There you have it, essentials for an everyday makeup look and my makeup favourites rolled into one. 

Until next month!

Hildegarde
xoxo

26 October 2017

First Impressions: Maybelline The Burgundy Bar Palette

I bought this palette on a whim when I saw it at my local Dischem. This is (as far as I know) the third Maybelline eyeshadow palette that is launched, the first one being The Rock Nudes and the second one The Blushed Nudes. I was never interested in the first one as the shade selection didn't interest me, but the second one was absolutely beautiful. The downside is that I never saw a tester palette at any of the shops I went to, so I didn't think it wise to buy it on a whim without testing it first (and with a R250 price tag). That being said, when I saw The Burgundy Bar, it was love at first sight. All the shades are warm and look absolutely delicious. I haven't worn it enough to do a full review, but I'll be sharing my first impressions.



Firstly, the shade selection is absolutely stunning. It ranges from a champagne, almost pale rose gold to a medium-dark brown. For R250 you get 12 decent-sized eyeshadows housed in a very thin and compact palette. The palette also snaps shut, which means that it won't open unexpectedly in your makeup bag. Of the 12 shades only two are matte, the rest are shimmery or metallic. The shades are all very buttery and creamy, which is quite unusual for a drugstore eyeshadow palette. Drugstore palettes usually have at least one or two chunky, chalky shadows.



The first row (top picture) has, from left to right, a pale rosy gold champagne shade, a dark gold, a warm brown with golden shimmer, a rich gold, a sparkly champagne gold, and a light brown, almost camel matte. The second row (bottom picture) has, from left to right, a sparkly champagne gold (lighter than the previous one), a rich burgundy, a coppery brown,  a sparkly gold, a rich and sparkly plum, and a medium-brown matte.

At first glance it doesn't look like there's any "order" to the shadows: the mattes aren't grouped, the metallics aren't grouped, and the shadows aren't grouped by shade either. However, when you turn the palette over they show you the shade groupings so that you can achieve 13 eye looks with these 12 eyeshadows. 13! There are duos: each row's shadows are grouped two-by-two (giving you a total of six looks). There are trios: each row's shadows are grouped three-by-three (giving you a total of four looks). And there are quads where the first two shadows of the first row and the first two shadows of the second row form the quad, giving you three eye looks. Of course you don't have to stick with these duos, trios, and quads, but it's nice to have a reference, especially if you're new to eyeshadow application or you don't know what goes together.

I've only swatched this palette so I can't give my thoughts just yet, but, what I will say is that I am impressed with the price point. It is R250, but you get 12 decent-sized eyeshadows. I am also impressed with the selection of shades. Granted, there could have been a few less gold shades, but all in all it's a very pretty palette and I hope the application and longevity will be just as good. I will do an update on this post when I've worn it a couple of times or mention it in a future post.

Have you used this palette or any of the others? Which was your favourite? Let my know in the comment section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

23 October 2017

Pregnancy Update: The First 16 Weeks

For those of you who don't know, I'm expecting my first child in March/April 2018. I posted a picture on Instagram announcing the news (you can see it here). I've been following Fleur de Force's vlogs on both her channels (here and here), and I thought the idea of doing a monthly pregnancy update is quite cool. I won't do them too regularly, though, as this is a beauty blog and most of you (if not all) are here for the beauty stuff and not for the pregnancy stuff. That being said, I do feel that it's important for the blog to grow along with me (so to speak).

I though I'd fill you in on stuff that's been happening and changing in the past 16 weeks. If there's anything else you'd like to know, please feel free to ask!



Symptoms

As far as symptoms are concerned, I am really lucky in that I didn't have morning sickness. I did feel nauseous a couple of times, but it never went further than that. I did/do have a couple of weird and interesting symptoms (stuffy nose and cold symptoms, dizziness, etcetera), but nothing I can't handle.   The past week I've also been down with a weird morning-only tummy bug, but that's luckily over now. Now we're on to flu symptoms (my throat doesn't hurt and my nose is only stuffy sometimes, but my body aches, especially my legs).

Diet changes

I've had to give up a lot of things that I like, but I know that it will be all worth it in the end. The worst part was giving up sushi. I still dream about the taste of raw salmon, but oh well. I've tried vegetable sushi a few times, but it's just too boring and bland for me. I also had to give up eating my meat medium-rare as well as cold meats and squishy cheeses such as Camembert and Brie. Giving up alcohol wasn't too bad, but I do miss the occasional glass of wine: an ice cold glass of Chardonnay or a glass of smoky, woody red wine. As for coffee: the past few years I've cut back on coffee so that I only drank two (strong black) cups a day. My doctor said I'm allowed one regular cup of coffee or two cups of decaf per day, and I find that I don't really miss it that much. I'll have a cup of Nespresso decaf at home, especially over the weekends, and otherwise I keep my daily coffee quota for when I'm drinking coffee with a friend. I've also had to up my intake of fluids. I always joke that I'm a camel and that I can get away with drinking the minimum amount of fluids, but I find myself drinking in the order of two liters of fluids a day, which is way more than I am used to!

I normally try to eat healthily, but I've really had to up my intake of fruit, veggies, and calcium. I try not to stress about what I'm eating and how much of it I'm eating, I just try to eat as much as I can (within reason) and stay away from the foods on the "bad" list. I didn't really pick up weight in the first 12 weeks, which worried me a bit, but the doctor said that as long as the baby is doing ok (measuring the right length for his/her age, etcetera), it's fine. That being said, I've picked up 2 kg since that appointment so I think I'll be ok!

Body changes

I've had the usual body changes that come with pregnancy, and more or less in week 13 or 14 I started getting a bump. The bump appeared a little while after telling our friends and family (our parents already knew for a few weeks), so it wasn't such an issue to hide it. The bump seems to be picking up speed now as I can literally see a change during the past week! I haven't been able to wear my jeans for about six weeks now (it still fits, but when I sit down it chokes my tummy), but I actually found a pair of boyfriend jeans in my cupboard that was a bit too big and now fits comfortably. I've also had to invest in a couple of bigger tops to accommodate the growing bump. I bought a few bigger, longer length tops and short dresses (that I can wear over leggings) from H&M's and Mr Price's maternity ranges and I love it. I'm also glad that it's summer so I'm practically living in maxi dresses (that I already owned).

Skincare and body care

Since I was about 10 weeks pregnant I've been religiously applying lotions and potions to all the areas that can stretch. I started with Palmer's Stretch Mark Cream and then moved on to Bio-Oil from around 14 weeks. I saw that Fleur uses Palmer's Tummy Butter so I bought that to use in-between Bio-Oil applications. I don't see any stretch marks yet (touch wood!) but it might still be early days for that, who knows. I enjoy the ritual of applying the oils and creams, especially on my tummy.

As for my skincare routine, nothing much has changed. The doctor said I should not use products that contain a high dosage of Vitamin A, but apparently I don't own any Vitamin A products, so that's fine.

My hair and nails have also started growing quicker and longer, which is a nice bonus. My nails are normally quite brittle and flaky, but now they're quite strong and grow quickly. I haven't been in the mood for painting my nails in months, but I think I need to take advantage of these new strong nails! My hair also grew quite a lot and I need to have it cut, as it's becoming a pain to dry in the mornings. I try to use a hair mask once a week to keep the ends in good condition.

Baby and Baby's room

Apart from "how are you feeling?" the question I get asked the most is, will you find out the gender of the baby? The husband and I discuss this regularly and, although I always said I didn't want to know, I think knowing just makes it easier to plan. People will want to buy things for the baby (so do I!) and working with a colour scheme would be nicer and easier. We have an appointment tomorrow (16 week appointment) but we said that, if we have the choice, we'd rather wait until the 20 week scan when we have our fetal assessment and fancy sonar done at the hospital.

As for Baby's room, we have already started planning and painting. We're keeping the colour scheme of the nursery gender neutral (white and grey) and then we'll have white furniture and pink or blue/navy accents (toys, blankets, wall art) depending on if the baby is a boy or a girl. This way we can start decorating now without re-painting at a later stage!

The only things we've bought so far are paint and a second hand cot. I also bought a total of one baby blanket as I don't want to buy too many things now. A part of me still thinks it's "too early" to buy things for the baby. Silly? Let me know!

I hope you enjoyed this. Please let me know in the comments section what you would like me to mention in my next pregnancy update (which will only be up in November at the earliest). I also thought about doing a maternity haul sometime, and later on a nursery tour. Let me know if you'd be interested in that?

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

19 October 2017

Review: Lee Stafford Coco Loco

Over the years I've tried a couple of Lee Stafford products and I was intrigued when they brought out a coconut range called "Coco Loco". Loco for coco? Let's see...




Coco Loco Shampoo and Conditioner

I like the packaging which is a light blush with pink lettering and a picture of a coconut, yummy! Both the shampoo and conditioner come in 250 ml tubes.  The shampoo is a white-ish cream and smells like delicious coconut - not artificial. The second ingredient on the list is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) which is a foaming agent and usually strips the hair of moisture, so that's not too positive. Glycerin and coconut oil only feature halfway down the ingredient list. I've only been using it for a couple of washes but I find that it tends to weigh down my hair somewhat. The conditioner also contains a few types of alcohol, but coconut oil at least appears a bit higher up on the ingredients list than the shampoo. The conditioner is a white cream and feels nourishing on my hair. That being said, I seem to struggle to comb through my wet hair even while I have the conditioner in my hair - not too promising.

All in all I like the texture and the smell of the products, but as far as performance goes I prefer my other shampoo and conditioner pairs.

Coco Loco Blow & Go Genius Lotion

This product claims to be for "stress free drying" and "Your hair sits better, feels better, behaves better, bit of oomph, just great hair". That's a lot of claims for such a small tube! I rub a peanut sized amount onto towel dry hair and massage it into my lengths and tips whilst avoiding the roots. I find that my hair dries slightly quicker when I use my hairdryer, and my hair feels very soft and manageable. To me this is the standout product of the three.

There are other products in the range which I might try later on. Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comment section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

09 October 2017

Empties Post #12: Skincare

Today I'll be showing you some more of my beauty trash, this time it's skincare that I've used up.


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Micellar Water

I spoke about this here and here and my opinion is still the same: it's gentle yet effective. It's not the cheapest micellar water per milliliter, but it's also not too expensive. I will probably purchase this again.

Clinique Pep-Start 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser

I've always been a fan of the Clinique 7 day scrub, but this is even better. I wrote about it in a monthly favourites post (you can read it here). It's gentle though scrubby and my skin feels really clean and smooth after using it. I will definitely repurchase this.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub

I've used many Neutrogena face washes and scrubs over the years and I'm apparently determined to try the entire extent of their products, as I seem to purchase a different one each time! This one is a clay/scrub hybrid and I would highly recommend it for people with oily or oily/combo skin types. My skin feels really clean and my pores unclogged after using this. I would repurchase this, but, you know, I'd probably rather try something else from their line-up...

The Body Shop Drops of Youth Essence Lotion

An essence is supposed to be used as a step between cleansing and toning, but I prefer to use it in the place of a toner. You either put it on a cotton round and wipe it across your skin, or you put it in your hands and splash your skin with it. The best way for me to use it is to keep it outside the shower and as soon as I get out of the shower (without drying my face with a towel), I immediately splash some of this essence lotion on my skin. My skin then looks incredibly clear and awake, but I mostly forget to take it to the shower with me (it's in another bathroom), so I end up using it as a toner. Due to the price (R190) I would probably not repurchase this, although I quite like it. There are many toners that are a lot cheaper.

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask

I think I've been through about three of these bottles and it's still great (you can read about it here and here). It looks and smells like marmalade and gently exfoliates your skin through a chemical exfoliation process. It's not too harsh but really packs a punch. I will repurchase this until I can't get my hands on it anymore.

And that was my beauty trash! Which of these products have you used? Let me know in the comment section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

05 October 2017

Monthly Favourites: September

Just like that three quarters of the year is gone! How?! I feel like this year is in fast-forward mode and I seriously need it to slow down a bit. Lately I've been using the same products over and over again but this month I seem to have branched out slightly.



Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub


I've had this scrub for ages and I only started using it a few weeks ago. It's not that I didn't want to use it, it's just that I don't want to finish it. Soap & Glory isn't available in our country and I will be devastated when this tub is finished because it smells amazing. It's a thick scrub, almost like cake batter and it's quite grainy. But the smell...oh my word, the smell! It smells like margaritas and lime and holiday, all rolled into one. The smell fills the entire bathroom and it lifts your spirits, whether you're using it in the morning or the evening. This is hands down one of my favourite scrubs ever.

Eucerin Volume Filler Concentrate

I've been using this serum for a few weeks now both morning and night. I can't say that it has revolutionised my skin, but my skin does appear to be more hydrated and plump. The serum is a white cream and smells very nice (like most Eucerin products do). It is easily absorbed into my skin and my moisturiser glides on top smoothly.

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm

This is an oldie but a goodie, and one that I've recently fallen in love with again. I apply a pea-sized amount to my entire face in the mornings as a primer before I apply BB cream or foundation. It just makes me look more awake and alive and gives my skin a nice glow.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

I'm onto my second sponge and I've only now really become obsessed with it. My skin has been very "meh" the past couple of months and it felt like everything I applied on top of it just looked wrong and cakey. One day I decided to use my RT sponge and my beloved LA Girl BB cream and I haven't looked back. The combination of the two products gives me glowy skin while hiding my imperfections, but not in such a way that it looks like I'm wearing a mask. I also use this to blend in my under-eye concealer.

Clinique High Impact Mascara

I received this mini mascara with my recent Gift With Purchase (GWP) and this has to be the first time that I've received a mini that wasn't already dried out. I can now understand why people rave about this mascara, it's fabulous! The wand is quite thick (but not scary-thick as some others are) but I find that it coats my lashes evenly with pitch black mascara. My lashes are naturally quite full, but this mascara really makes them pop. Depending on the price I might just buy the full size...

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Yuzu Perfume

I bought this on a whim on Takealot when they had one of their perfume sales. I had never smelled it before, but I got lucky, as this smells delicious! It's not something I would normally go for, but I love it. It smells like cool green tea and summer and holiday, quite the perfect pairing for the S&G Sugar Crush Body Scrub! I'm not quite sure what "yuzu" is but I believe it to be a citrus fruit, which definitely comes through in the scent. It's the perfect scent for summer and it makes me feel crisp and fresh. It also lasts quite long considering that it is an eau de toilette.

Lottie Soap Star Solid Brush Cleanser


I picked this up on a whim when I was shopping at Foschini. I've never heard of the brand before, but apparently there are all kinds of items, mostly brushes. I don't own a solid soap cleanser for my brushes, so I thought I'd try this one. At R120 I was a bit disappointed when I opened it up at home and found a small white piece of soap inside. It looks and smells like hotel soaps that they leave by the washbasin in the bathroom. However, when I used this to clean my brushes and my sponges I was pleasantly surprised. Every last bit of dirt and makeup was removed from my brushes, and cleaning my sponges have never been easier! I just wet the brush and swirl it onto the soap. If it's very dirty I will massage the brush hairs between my fingers and then rinse it. I find that this works much better than normal soap bars, even though it looks quite the same. The soap bar also rests on a teeny tiny mesh "stand" so that the soap bar doesn't get mushy and gross and sticks to the bottom of the packaging. After use I just leave it open to air dry.

Which of these products have you used before? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

18 September 2017

New From Maybelline

As far as drugstore brands go, Maybelline has always been a favourite of mine. I love their mascaras and lip products and whenever they bring out something new, I'm all ears. I recently picked up two products from Maybelline (at Dischem) and received a gift with my purchase.

Maybelline Master Blush Color & Highlighting Kit





There is a bronzing and highlighting kit and then this blush kit. In one of Tati's (Glam Life Guru) videos she reviewed the bronzing palette and didn't like it (it was very glittery and shimmery), so I decided to steer clear of that and rather opt for the blush kit. The blush kit contains one highlighter and three blushes. The highlighter (leftmost shade) is a beautiful shimmery champagne shade. I try to apply it with a light hand otherwise the shimmer tends to get a bit out of hand and spread across my cheek. The blush shades are, from left to right, a peachy shade, a bright pink, and a dark almost plummy pink-purple. They apply easily and are quite pigmented, so a light hand is necessary. I found the bright pink shade to be a little chalky but the other shades all blend beautifully. My current favourite is the peachy shade as it leaves your cheeks with a healthy flush, perfect for spring.

Maybelline Vivid Hot Lacquer in "Classic"



I already own two of these shades and I absolutely love the formula and the high shine. This shade is called Classic and that's exactly what it is - a classic vampy red. Not ideal for spring, but I might save it for a night out or else for autumn.

Gift With Purchase




The gift with purchase consists of the Colossal Kajal eyeliner pencil and the Colossal Volum' Express mascara (both in black). The Kajal is a twist-up pencil and is very creamy and smooth. I haven't used this yet but the texture makes me think that there will be no dragging on the skin when you apply this, which always makes for a more pleasant eyeliner application. The mascara has a nice fat wand and I find that it does a good job of separating and volumising my lashes. Not the best mascara I've ever used from Maybelline, but it does the job.

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

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

14 September 2017

Empties Post #11: Shower Products

It's time for another look inside my beauty trash! Today I'll be showing you some body care products of the shower gel/cream variety.


The Body Shop make some of my favourite shower products. In this batch I have the Almond Milk & Honey Shower Cream, Piñita Colada Shower Gel, and the Lychee Blossom Shower Gel. The Lychee Blossom is a very old scent and I don't think you get it anymore, unless maybe on a sale table. It smells sweet and fruity although I'm not sure the scent is for everyone. If I ever find this on a sale table again I will definitely pick up another bottle. The Piñita Colada has the quintessential "summer" scent: pineapples and coconuts that make you think of hot summer days and long, tall cocktails. When summer rolls around I might just pick up another bottle or two. The Almond Milk & Honey shower cream is more of a winter scent: it's warm and sweet and I find it extremely comforting. Out of all three it is also the most nourishing as I find that the others sometimes strip my skin of moisture if I don't follow up my shower routine with body lotion.

Lush is one of my other favourite brands, although I'm quite surprised that there are two products from them in here since they are, in my opinion, very expensive. Snow Fairy is a shower gel while Sweetie Pie is a shower jelly and comes in a tub. Sweetie Pie is ridiculously fun as it's literally a piece of wobbly jelly moulded to the shape of the tub. It smells incredible and I really wish they would come out with a normal shower gel in that scent. However fun it is to play with, I don't think it's good value for money. I tried cutting the jelly into small blocks so that I only use a block per shower session, but that failed. The jelly and my bath lily did not like to interact and more jelly ended up on the shower floor than on my bath lily. I don't think I would repurchase this. Snow Fairy, on the other hand, is one of my favourite Lush shower gels. It's pink and incredibly sweet smelling, but I absolutely love it. A little lathers a long way and I make sure to stock up on a bottle each Christmas (it's a Christmas exclusive release).

One of my newest favourites is the Palmolive Gourmet Spa Mint Shake shower cream. At R50 for two gigantic bottles (Dischem often has this special) it is incredibly good value for money. The shower cream is nice and thick and is incredibly nourishing. And the smell, oh my word, the smell! It smells exactly like Peppermint Crisp chocolate. It doesn't smell sickly sweet or artificial, instead it smells like you are showering in a Peppermint Crisp factory. It's also incredibly cooling and I like using this when I'm using my Pureology Hydrate shampoo and conditioner (the conditioner has that same intense minty coolness and smell). I've repurchased this already and will continue doing so indefinitely.

Which of these have you tried before? What can you recommend? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

11 September 2017

Review: The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask

If you've been reading this blog for a while you will know that I am obsessed with face masks. Anything from clay masks to hydrating masks to sheet masks. If it's a mask I'm almost guaranteed to love it. This new mask from The Body Shop gets its share of the lime light today.

Tea tree is a natural antiseptic and is great for blemish-prone skin. To be honest, I don't think I've ever tried any tea tree products from The Body Shop, but I do own a bottle of tea tree essential oil that I use for many things from pouring a few drops into the washing machine when I wash my dog's blankets to using a few drops in an aromatherapy burner. My skin has also been well-behaved so I've never really felt the need to use tea tree oil. Well, that was until a few weeks ago when my skin started freaking out and I got breakouts on my cheeks and on my shoulders.


This new mask from The Body Shop is called the Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask. I have to admit, the price and the words "night mask" caught my attention. At 75 ml it's quite a nice size for a mask and even though it's the same size as the Recipes of Nature masks, the tea tree mask is only R180 whereas the Recipes of Nature masks are R310 each.

Masks in tubs are not usually my favourite thing, as it can get unsanitary quite quickly, but I've found that using a little plastic spatula to scoop the product out really helps. The texture of this mask is a weird jelly, it reminds me a lot of the Drops of Youth Sleeping Mask that used to be called the Bouncy Mask or something along those lines. When you look at the mask it looks like a thick gel, but when you press your finger into it and then remove it, the mask bounces back. So cool! This makes it a little bit difficult to get it out of the jar, but again, a spoon or spatula solves that problem.




The mask is an alieny, snotty green, and I must say, I love pressing my finger into it. The smell is incredibly strong and if you don't like the smell of tea tree, you'll hate this. The smell also doesn't go away but just becomes a little bit less strong. The first time I used it it irritated my nose slightly, but I got used to the smell and then it just felt comforting and medicinal and "clean".

The mask is incredibly cooling and applies like a thick jelly. Although the texture is quite thick it still smoothes easily onto the skin. The first two times I felt a bit of tingling but that goes away after a few minutes. The directions say to sleep with this on and although it's quite tacky when you first apply it, it is either absorbed into your skin or dries down a bit (don't worry, your skin won't feel tight). The first time I applied this I had a really bad skin day and I was afraid that the tingling and the tea tree oil will aggravate my skin further, but when I woke up the next morning most of my blemishes had disappeared! I was so impressed that I waited a day or two and applied it again. This time the results weren't as impressive as the first time, but I could see that the appearance of my skin had still improved slightly. And new blemishes didn't look like they were forming. I recently also applied it to the tops of my shoulders and although it didn't make my blemishes disappear, I could see that no new bumps are forming.

All in all I am incredibly impressed with this mask. It's fun to use, it delivers, and I think mosquitoes might hate the smell (which is a bonus).

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

07 September 2017

Review: L.A. Girl Double Drama Mascara

I love trying out new mascaras, especially if they are cheap. To me, if I have to throw it out after 3-4 months, there's no way I'm spending upwards of R200 on it, sorry. I like my essence, Catrice, Maybelline, and L'Oreal mascaras, and when I saw that L.A. Girl brought out four mascaras priced at R99.95 each, I knew I wanted to try it.


Please excuse the bad-quality photo, but it's so difficult photographing something with foil lettering! Anyway, I settled on the Double D (Double Drama) mascara. It comes in a swanky black and gold box which is, in my opinion, a waste of cardboard and space, but anyway. The mascara is said to give a false lash effect and "buildable drama". It is supposed to separate and coat your lashes as well as having a buildable and lightweight formula.




The wand is quite big and it has short plastic spikes. What occurred to me initially is how difficult it is to get the wand out of the tube. It's like the tube wrings all the mascara out of the brush wand and you're left with an almost clean and dry brush. I don't know if it's that or if the formula is just very dry, but I am very disappointed with this mascara. It does almost nothing for my lashes, and I have long, well-behaved lashed to begin with, so it's not that hard a task. The spikes separate my lashes, but almost no pigment is deposited onto my lashes. For R99.95 I could have done much better with an essence or Catrice mascara, to be honest.

Have you tried this mascara? What did you think? Did I just get a dud mascara or is this how they all are? Let me know!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

04 September 2017

Clinique Promotion: Gift With Purchase

I've always said that where Gift With Purchase (GWP) promotions are concerned, Clarins has the best free minis (travel sizes that are 40% the size of the full product), but Clinique has the best bags. It also seemed that Clinique had the exact same set of minis each time, just with a different bag. This time, however, they've really upped their game in terms of the bag AND the minis.




When you buy two items, one of which should be a treatment product (moisturiser, serum, foundation, or mask), you get this super cute pink makeup bag. It has to be the funnest bag Clinique have ever brought out and I simply love the unicorn keychain picture! Inside the bag are five minis (the sixth one I got as a thank you for shopping online, but more on that later).

Included in the minis are a small pot of Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief moisturiser. This stuff is pretty amazing and this pot should last you a couple of days, so great to pack in for a short holiday or a long weekend away. The texture is very similar to the Neutrogena HydroBoost gel cream.

Also included are two products from the new Pep-Start range. I used to be a big Clinique fan when I was at university back in Stellenbosch, but ever since I moved to Pretoria it's like the products don't really do anything for my skin anymore. That was until Clinique came out with the Pep-Start range.  Both products I've used so far have been fantastic. Here you get a 30 ml tube of the Pep-Start 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser which is like the 7 day scrub, but more mild and less scrubby, so better for everyday use. I've already finished a big tube of this (you can read about it here). You also get a Pep-Start Eye Cream. Now I haven't used this yet, but I am very interested to see what kind of benefits it offers.

On the makeup front there is the usual mascara: the High Impact Mascara in "01 Black". I like the mascara but I sometimes find that the GWP mascaras are a bit dried up, but I'm hoping this one won't be like that. The last item is a mini Chubby Stick in the shade "04 Mega Melon". I've only swatched this, but I'm so excited as I've never owned a Clinique Chubby Stick before. Upon swatching I can feel that it's very silky and creamy, and the rich peach shade is sheer but buildable.

The sixth mini I received because I shopped online, and it's the 2-in-1 Cleansing Micellar Gel + Light Makeup Remover. I'm super excited to try this as I love micellar waters, and I love interesting textures, so I'm very interested to see how this will work.

All in all I am very chuffed with the gift, and now I'll show you what I bought to get it.

Clinique Pep-Start Double Bubble Purifying Mask


Oh my goodness. You really don't want to see my face mask stash, it's a bit over the top. No one needs as many masks as I have, but I can honestly say I've never met a mask I didn't like. Ok that's not entirely true, but I like to buy masks and test them out. A while back I tried a Skin Republic Charcoal Bubbling Mask and it was so cool that I'm now totally hooked to any sort of mask that bubbles. When I saw that Clinique brought out a bubbling mask, I was sold. I've tried it once already but this post isn't really for review purposes, it's more of a show-and-tell, so let me know in the comment section if you'd like to see an in-depth review on the mask.

Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in "11 Wow Pop"



This is my third pop lipstick (I have a full size "10 Punch Pop" and an adorable mini "09 Sweet Pop" from a previous GWP) and I really can't fault the lipsticks. They are creamy, glide on easily, and stay put for a decent amount of time given that they aren't matte and don't dry down. This shade is quite light and I think I might have underestimated the colour online, but seeing as it's Spring, I'll make it work.

And those were my recent Clinique purchases and gifts. Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

17 August 2017

New from Skin Creamery

A while back I did a post about the Skin Creamery products that I bought (you can read it here). A few weeks ago I did another spot of shopping (this time on Faithful-To-Nature's website) and bought a few new things.


I bought another The Everyday Cream (for face and body) but I'm keeping that as either a backup or as a present for someone (I'm still deciding) so I'm not featuring it in this post.

Oil-Milk Facial Cleanser

This comes in the same packaging as the Everyday Cream - a 200 ml frosted glass bottle with a pump. The cleanser is a thick almost gel-like consistency and is a pale, almost milky colour. It contains sesame oil, baobab, and melon seed. I pump a few pumps of this into my hand and apply it to dry, dirty skin. I find that I need about three pumps which seems excessive, but I find that with less it doesn't give me a nice slip to spread it over my skin. After massaging it into my skin (even over my eyes, there's no stinging), I take a little bit of water and work that into my skin. The cleanser immediately turns from an oily gel to a light milky texture. I then use a facial sponge or a hot cloth to gently remove all the cleanser from my face, before rinsing everything off one last time. My skin is left clean and super soft, and not dry at all. The scent is also incredible, just what we've come to expect from Skin Creamery. It smells herby and delicious and I think what attracts me to most Skin Creamery scents is the melon seed, delicious!

Skin Tonic

This was the product I was looking forward to trying the most as you all know I love a good spritz. I initially thought that you would spritz it directly onto your skin, but the directions tell you to pump a few drops onto a cotton round (or your hand) and then apply it to your skin. The applicator on the bottle also prevents you from spritzing it on your skin, it dispenses drops, not a spritz. The tonic contains baobab, malachite, and rose (which is always a good ingredient in a toner or spritzer). The tonic looks like some of those bi-phase makeup removers: an oily part on top and a watery part on the bottom. My favourite way to use this is to shake it first and then apply a few drops to a cotton round and use it as a toner after using the oil-milk cleanser. The scent of this is also delicious and the rose scent makes it nice and sweet, but not in a sickly way. Better yet, you have to smell it for yourself.

I bought these goodies on Faithful-To-Nature's website but you can also get them from Skin Creamery's own website. These products are not cheap, but if you're serious about skincare, or just want to treat yourself or someone else, they are perfect.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

14 August 2017

Empties Post #10: Skincare

I've apparently used up a lot of serums these past few months so I thought I'd show you what I used and tell you if I'd repurchase any of it.


Serums


I love French skincare and Vichy is one of my favourite brands. The Vichy Aqualia Thermal serum comes in a classy and sleek blue pump bottle. It's quite expensive for a drugstore serum so not something I would necessarily purchase monthly. I can't remember the price and I can't seem to find it on Clicks' website, but I believe it to be around R400. But...it does give the skin a nice boost of hydration and everything you put on afterwards just looks and sits better. I'd maybe repurchase this as part of a 3-for-2 promotion.

Ahhh, The Body Shop's Vitamin E Intense Moisture Serum. I have probably gone through about four of these and I still like it. The plastic pump bottle is light and compact, making it perfect for travelling. It doesn't exactly revolutionise my skin, but for the price point (R180) it's definitely worth buying. The Body Shop also regularly have sales and special offers, so this is a good item to put in your basket next time you're there.

Lately I've been loving Neutrogena's products. The Ageless Intensives Deep Wrinkle Anti-wrinkle Serum comes in a sturdy bottle with a pump. At R180 at Clicks (although Dischem is usually cheaper) this is also a very good deal if you think about the fact that this actually contains Retinol (although I can't find out the amount) and multivitamins. I have repurchased this and will continue doing so in future.

Another French pharmacy goodie is the Avène Hydrance serum. It comes in a clear plastic bottle with a pump and the serum itself is quite milky. It doesn't smell like anything and is a fuss-free hydrating serum. At R299 it's quite expensive for the drugstore, but Avène is a great brand and they also regularly have 3-for-2 specials at Clicks.

All four these serums are 30 ml each (with the exception of the Neutrogena which is 29 ml, odd), so it's easy to compare the prices. The Vichy serum is by far the most expensive, with Avène coming in second. The Body Shop and the Neutrogena offerings are the cheapest. I won't only go on price when comparing these products, but if you're on a budget, it's nice to know what's out there.

Eye care



The Vichy Aqualia Thermal Awakening Eye Balm offers dynamic hydration and is paraben-free. It comes in a small pump bottle and although my eye area felt nice and hydrated, I can't say that it did anything more. I probably won't be repurchasing this.

The Body Shop's Drops of Youth Youth Eye Concentrate is a pretty nifty product. It comes in a thick pen-sized bottle with a weird tip with a metallic roller ball. When you press the "button" on the side the product is dispensed around the roller ball. You then use the roller ball to massage the product onto the skin. It hydrates my under eye area nicely and there's been no flaking or peeling or redness. I'm also busy with my second bottle of this, so you can tell that I like it. It's not the best eye cream I've ever used, but I like the hydration and the cooling sensation, plus, at R195 it's not a bad deal.

Which of these products have you used? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

07 August 2017

Travel Post: One Night in Cullinan - What to do?

A week ago I blogged about our one night stay in Cullinan (you can read it here). Today's post is about what there is to do in Cullinan. There is obviously much more to do than what's in this post, but these are the kind of things that we like to do.

Oak Avenue

Oak avenue is a short street, but probably the most important (and famous) street in Cullinan. It houses everything from a jeweller to restaurants, shops, a venue, and mine tours. There's a Harrie's Pancakes, le Pate a Choux, As Greek As It Gets, Oak Guest house, Cullinan Mine Tours, Whispering Oaks Garden Cafe, Jan Harmsgat se Agterplaas (venue), Rust in White (shop), The Cockpit Brewhouse, and Studio 14 Gallery. We've spent many Sunday afternoons strolling down Oak avenue perusing all the little shops and eating at restaurants.



The Cockpit Brewhouse

Our favourite place to eat in Cullinan has to be The Cockpit Brewhouse. Long before the days of Capital Craft (which I love dearly!) we ate beer-inspired lunches and drank delicious beers from The Cockpit's own brewery. The husband and I actually featured in the background of an interview between Valiant Swart and The Cockpit's brewmaster and owner on the Afrikaans TV show "Mooiloop" a few years ago!

Their menu consists mainly of pub lunches and I can highly recommend the beer-battered fish and chips and the burgers. They also brew six beers which you can taste for free before deciding which one you want to drink a full size of. On weekends there are live music and I've always felt right at home there. It feels like you're having a lazy lunch in someone's front yard!




Cocopan Coffees

A fairly new (well, new to us) addition to Oak avenue is Cocopan Coffees. It's a tiny shop where you can buy coffee and either drink it outside on the cute stools, or inside by the coal stove that they fire up in winter. We had lunch at The Cockpit and, after wandering around Oak avenue, stopped here for cappuccinos and oats cookies. They also sell huge soft serve ice creams for something ridiculous like R10 a cone, bargain!








Oppistasie

After a lazy hotel afternoon nap we wanted to try out Oppistasie as we always see their signs when entering Oak avenue and because it's one of the only restaurants that are open in the evening. It was too dark to take photos of the place, but it's out on a dirt road close to Cullinan station. Driving there in the dark we weren't certain we were on the right path, but just before we wanted to take out the GPS the restaurant appeared before us. It's very quirky and I loved the three cats roaming around the restaurant. They weren't a nuisance but it was fun watching them snoozing and playing with each other.

We were both in the mood for steaks so we ordered steaks with chips and a mushroom sauce. As you can see our steaks were buried under a mountain of homemade mushroom sauce! I've never eaten out of a shovel so this was definitely an experience! Next time I'd like to return during the day so that I can take pictures and explore the place more.



We also went to the jewellery store, the gallery, the sweet shop, the shop that sells other people's crafts, and the second hand bookstore. There truly is something for everyone!

Have you ever been to Cullinan? What can you recommend we do next? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo