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!


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!


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!


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!


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!


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!


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!