14 December 2018

My Spring 2018 Favourites

I haven't blogged in ages and I haven't done a favourites post in even longer, oops! I thought that I'd combine the previous months' favourites post into one and then it hit me: I haven't done any favourites posts during the past three months, so this is now my spring favourites post.

I've pretty much used the same products for months because that has just been the easiest. Between working full time, taking care of a baby, and running a household, there hasn't been too much time or energy for blogging or trying out new products! In today's post I'm only mentioning skincare and makeup products that I haven't mentioned in a favourites post before.


I've placed three orders on Glow Theory (let me know in the comments if you'd like to know what I bought) and I've been trying to incorporate more Korean Beauty skincare products into my routine. The K-Beauty rituals absolutely fascinate me and who wouldn't want glass skin? My K-Beauty favourites of the past three months include the Pyunkang Yul Mist Toner, J.One Jelly Pack, and the J.One Black Jelly Pack. The Pyunkang Yul mist toner comes in a spray bottle (obviously) and I spritz it onto cleaned and exfoliated skin. It gives my skin a nice burst of hydration and everything just feels nice and plumped and refreshed afterwards. I don't like the smell, but luckily it goes away very quickly.

The two J.One products are, however, the stars of the show! At first I was a bit hesitant to use the J.One Jelly Pack (white tube) as the consistency is very weird: it's a clear gel but it's extremely tacky. When it comes into contact with your skin it almost turns into superglue. You can't rub it in, you have to pat it in. It creates a sticky base for whatever you put on afterwards. It is to be used as the last step in your skincare routine so it makes an excellent base for your foundation or BB cream. My makeup goes on beautifully and it stays put all day long. It really is quite an amazing product! I love the J.One Black Jelly Pack as a sleeping pack (at night, obviously). The product comes out as a blue-gray jelly and it smells good too. It almost feels cooling on the skin and it leaves my skin plump, juicy, and hydrated. I honestly don't know what else to write about it - just go and try it!

Other skincare favourites include the Nivea Q10 Plus C Anti-wrinkle + Energy cream and La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF50 sunscreen. I was skeptical about the Nivea Q10 cream because if I'm being honest I'd much rather slap Nivea on my body than on my face. That being said, I did read a few positive reviews from bloggers I trust so I decided to try it. I can't say that this has revolutionised my skin, but I can say that on nights where I've used this, I wake up to clear and smooth skin the next morning.

I've been a bit slack with applying SPF to my skin, especially my face, so now I'm making a concerted effort to protect my facial skin at least. Some recommended the La Roche-Posay and I have to say, I quite like it. It's a little bit more tacky and greasy than, say, the Kiehl's SPF50, but it's a lot less greasy and sticky than what I used in previous years. Makeup goes on easily afterwards and I don't experience more shininess than usual.


I've heard lots of overseas bloggers rave about the Catrice Prime and Fine Multitalent Fixing Spray and I'm really enjoying it. I haven't used it for the full three months, but for as long as I've used it I've like it. I like this more than the Catrice mattifying fixing spray (it smelled weird and made my lips tingle). I've used this both as a primer and as a fixing spray and I like it both ways. It makes my skin dewy without making it look oily.

At long last we have the Maybelline Instant Anti-age Eraser concealer in South Africa! When I saw it in my local Dischem I nearly fainted. I have it in the shade "Light" which I thought was going to be too light for me, but in actual fact is a good match. I apply it on my undereye area (on top of a bit of Benefit Erase Paste) and blend it in with a damp Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. I absolutely adore this concealer and will definitely repurchase.

Next up are two mascaras, Smashbox Full Exposure mascara and essence I Need A Miracle Volumizing & Strengthening Mascara. The Smashbox has a cone-shaped brush and I find that it does a great job at adding length and volume to my lashes. It's very black and it's not too wet so that it smudges everywhere. The essence mascara has an odd almost hourglass-shaped wand that also adds a good amount of volume to my lashes. It's supposed to tint your lashes over time but I can't say that I've experienced that (I don't use the same mascara each day). I love the packaging and since it's essence, it is super affordable.

My final favourites for spring are two eyeshadow palettes that look quite the same but aren't in the same price bracket: Smashbox Cover Shot: Neutrals eyeshadow palette and Makeup Revolution Reloaded Iconic Fever eyeshadow palette. The Smashbox eyeshadow palette is small and compact and contains eight shadows and a mirror. There are three matte shadows and the rest are gorgeous subtly shimmery shades. It's very warm toned and ranges from a rich camel brown to a deep dark chocolate brown, with bronzy red shades in-between. The Makeup Revolution palette contains 15 large eyeshadow pans and no mirror, but the price point is fantastic (R130 at selected Clicks stores). Nine of the shadows are matte and the rest are shimmery. This palette is also very warm toned but I feel that the difference between the different shades aren't as pronounced as in the Smashbox palette. Both palettes' shadows are buttery and soft, but I find that the shimmery shades in the Makeup Revolution palette don't layer as well on top of the matte shades as I would like them to, but maybe I should use it with Mac Fix+ spray or something.

And that's a wrap for my spring 2018 favourites! Which of these products have you used? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!


20 August 2018

Empties Post #13: Cleansers

Over the past few months I have accumulated a lot of beauty junk and I think it's time that I start blogging about them so that I can finally throw the empties away! Today we'll start with cleansing products, both facial cleansers and micellar waters.


I really enjoyed the Neutrogena HydroBoost water gel cleanser. It's a gel that foams up but it doesn't leave my face feeling squeaky clean - my skin feels nice and clean but still comfortable. It also smells nice, comes in a pump bottle, and is very affordable. Would I repurchase? Definitely.

I think as far as cleansers go, the Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel is by far one of my favourites. It might even hold the number one spot. It's very expensive, but the larger the bottle you buy, the cheaper it works out. I started with a few travel sizes, then this medium size (250 ml), and last year I bought the gigantic bottle (500 ml). It's also a gel that foams up and doesn't strip your skin. Compared to the Neutrogena one, my face feels even more comfortable after using the Dermalogica. I started using the special cleansing gel on holidays and found that my skin looked really great after using it once or twice: it's as if the cleansing gel "balances" my skin out. It smells very medicinal and on some weird subconscious level I feel as if that makes it work better (it doesn't). Would I repurchase? Well, I have already.

This Melvita milky cleansing oil for face and eyes is very, very old. I bought it overseas a few years ago and I don't think you can get it here. It's a very liquidy oil and it does remove every last trace of makeup. It's quite heavily perfumed but I don't mind it as it smells like roses. Scent is an important part of skincare (well to me at least) so I associate the rose scent with nighttime and winding down for bed. I also like the fact that it comes in a pump bottle. Would I repurchase? Yes, but sadly I don't know where.

Micellar Waters

The Nivea Perfect & Radiant 3-in-1 Micellar cleansing water is good, but I've used better. The gigantic bottle is good value for money (around R100 for 400 ml) and the micellar water itself is good, although I struggled to remove mascara with it. I'm glad I tried it out but I'd rather use one of the Garnier micellar waters.

Speaking of which...this green Garnier Fresh micellar water is still not available in SA as far as I know (I bought it in Italy). I was quite disappointed with it as I found that it didn't do much. Out of all the Garnier micellar waters, this one is my least favourite (my favourites: yellow, then pink, and then blue green). If it launches in SA I won't be repurchasing it.

Have you ever tried any of these products before? What did you think? Leave me a comment down below.

Until next time!


16 August 2018

Personal Post: When Things Don't Go As Planned

After a four month hiatus, I'm back. Well, sort of. Four months ago I had this grand idea of starting up the blog again whenever I wanted to, but these days I can think of 100 more important things to do than to blog. I have missed blogging, though, I just don't know if I'll be able to dive right into my usual schedule of posting twice a week.

For those of you who've been following the blog for a while, I had my baby girl on the 12th of April. Now I know this isn't a mommy blog but I thought I'd share with you where I've been these past four months and what happened on THAT day.

The baby's due date was 1 April 2018 (Easter Sunday) and I hoped and prayed that she would either arrive a few days early, or very late. You see, my doctor was away on Easter Holiday and I was dead scared of having the baby while she was away. But my baby apparently enjoyed her warm and cosy home because she wouldn't budge, despite being in the optimal position to be born and laying very low for weeks. The due date came and went, my doctor returned from her holiday, Granny flew up from Cape Town because "surely she'll be here by the 6th?", and our neighbours with whom we are great friends also returned from their holiday. Still no baby. That following Tuesday when I was 41 weeks 2 days pregnant I went to the doctor and she said that the baby has to be born before the end of the week as my amniotic fluid was starting to get less and the placenta was beginning to calcify. The doctor wanted to schedule me for an induction and I asked her to please give us two more days. My induction was scheduled for Thursday the 12th of April and so I went home with a knot in my stomach as I've not heard great things about inductions. The labour pains after an induction are apparently worse than they normally would be and most inductions end up in C-sections: something I didn't want unless absolutely necessary.

The Thursday morning we arrived super early at the hospital and I was hooked up to machines measuring my heart rate, the baby's heart rate, as well as a machine that measures the strength of contractions. At 06:00 the machine started registering contractions: the baby had decided that she won't be induced, she's coming out on her own. I was so relieved that I didn't have to be induced and I was also chuckling at my headstrong little girl who decided that she'll come into this world on her own time.

The labour got progressively worse (as all labours do) but I was completely zoned out. The hours flew by and halfway during the morning I asked for an injection. I can't remember the name but it doesn't really take away the pain, it just helps you cope better. They told me that it would wear off at around 13:00 as I was very anxious that it would harm the baby (it wouldn't). At 13:15 the doctor said that I could start pushing and at 13:40 my baby was born. The baby was big, much bigger than anticipated (4.2 kg!) and the doctor had to make small cuts so that I wouldn't tear (sorry for the overshare). When Olivia Isabella was born they put her on my stomach for about 30 seconds before towelling her off, cutting the umbilical cord, and whisking her away to the other side of the birthing suite. I slowly came out of my zone and alarm bells started ringing. I know babies aren't very pretty to look at when they're born, but why is mine so swollen and purple? When they took her away I asked, "Is my baby ok?" and nobody answered me. When we discussed my birth plan weeks before the birth, the doctor convinced my husband to cut the umbilical cord himself. Their deal was that he would cut it only if everything goes according to plan (we were going to delay the cord clamping to ensure the maximum benefit for the baby). So when the doctor cut the cord within the first minute without hesitation, we knew something was wrong. Nobody spoke to me and I could sense panic. I was still too zoned out to freak out, but the next moment a nurse (an NICU nurse, I would find out later) rushed in, didn't even greet us, just took the baby in a towel and stormed out again. My baby had somehow inhaled her meconium (first poop) and it went into her lungs rendering them unable to circulate oxygen. Nobody knows for sure if it happened in utero or during the birth process, but they assured me over and over again that none of it was my fault. It's uncommon, but it does happen, usually in overdue babies.

I tried to eat something: it was 14:00 and the last time I ate something was at 05:30. The nurses encouraged me to take a shower and standing between the shower and the basin, I fainted. The shock and the lack of sustenance was just too much. I woke up in my husband's arms with the midwife checking my pulse: my husband had seen me turning pale and called out to me and when I didn't respond he knew what was going to happen and ran into the bathroom. They put me back into bed and connected me to a glucose drip to replenish my sugar levels. I wasn't allowed to shower after that... By 17:00 I still haven't seen my baby and I cried every time a nurse came to check my blood pressure and asked how my baby is doing. One nurse felt sorry for me and said she promises she'll get a porter to take me to my baby. The husband went in first and took photos of little Olivia. He showed me the photos with the disclaimer to "not freak out". I did freak out. My baby was on a ventilator and full of wires and tape and stickers. I couldn't believe that after an amazing pregnancy and a natural birth, this was how everything turned out. We went to the NICU and I cried so hard when I saw her. Everything felt very real and in that moment all I wanted to do was hold my baby. All the books talk about how important skin-to-skin contact is, especially in the first few hours, and there I was, unable to even touch my baby, let alone put her on my chest. Being discharged on the Saturday was bittersweet because I looked forward to sleeping in my own bed and using my own bathroom, but heartbroken that I had to leave my baby behind in hospital. This wasn't how things were supposed to be!

The NICU is a scary but a wonderful place. The first time you go there it's just wires and incubators and beeping, but the more I went there, the less wires I saw. The people working there are absolutely incredible. I am so fond of those nurses. Sure there were one or two who I didn't want near my baby, but the rest of them are incredible. They limit the number of visitors in the NICU (each baby is only allowed three non-parent visits, except on Sundays when it's "Grandparents Day"), but parents are allowed any time and all the time. We tried to go as much as possible but it's hard to keep up. Luckily the hospital is only a 5 minute drive from our house, but the constant back and forth really got to us after a few days.

Olivia improved remarkably as the days went by and after a few days they took her off the ventilator and eventually she cried for the first time. A hoarse sound, but it became louder and clearer as the days went by. Every day they would remove more wires and stickers and she started to look more like a baby. I felt such intense loss: yes my baby would be ok, but I mourned those missed first hours and first days that we would never get back, and, never truly recover from. After about five days I could finally hold my baby. She was so small and so different from the big swollen baby they had put on my stomach five days earlier. Breastfeeding got off to a good start and on the ninth day I slept over in the hospital so that I could breastfeed her on demand. It was so weird staying in the hospital without actually being admitted! I only had to pay for my meals (it was something ridiculous like R35 per meal) and I got tea and snacks along with the other patients. The NICU staff would phone me when it was time to feed Olivia. On day 10 they discharged Olivia and we were scared and excited to finally go home. I was relieved to be taking her home but I also felt a bit of Stockholm Syndrome towards the NICU as it had become my second home during that week and a half.

Olivia is now four months old and retains absolutely nothing from her ordeal. There is nothing wrong with her lungs, she was born with severe pneumonia. It's been a rocky road up to this day (all new parents will agree), but it's been so worthwhile. 

As for me: I'm in good health and everything healed perfectly. I just need to accept my new body which is a bit of a struggle, but I'm getting there. As I type this Olivia is snoozing next door (today was her second day at creche) and I'm wondering what to wear tomorrow on my first day back at work in over four months. I hope my work wardrobe still fits...

Until next time!


09 April 2018

What to do when a Skincare Product Causes a Breakout?

Recently I tested a drugstore serum which broke me out in such a bad way that it necessitated the writing of an entire blog post. I'm not going to slam the product (it's the Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-wrinkle Replenishing Serum Pearls if you're wondering), but I will tell you what to do when you're in a similar situation. Different skin types respond differently to products and ingredients, so what worked for me might not work for you, and vice versa, but I do believe the approach will still be the same.

The Backstory

My first impression of the serum was that I really liked the packaging, but that the product itself was a bit weird. When you press down on the pump, the yellow pearls are squished together and dispensed as a bright yellow cream (it looks a bit like mushy peas), and it smells exactly like men's shower gel, which should probably have given me my first clue. I used it morning and night for about two or three days and everything seemed fine (I didn't change anything else in my skincare routine). On the evening of the second or third day I saw that my skin looked a bit lackluster and bumpy so I decided to use a clay mask that I have used many times before (the green L'Oreal clay mask). I rinsed it off and everything was fine. The next morning when I woke up the skin on my cheeks was a bit red, but nothing out of the ordinary. I applied the serum and my usual skincare products and put on makeup. When I arrived home about two hours later (we had a doctor's appointment the morning) my skin was an absolute disaster. I immediately washed my face and saw that my skin had the texture of the moon landscape: my cheeks were red and inflamed and I had white bumps (that looked like pimples) dotted all over my cheeks. There were a few white bumps on my chin and even down my neck (I always take the excess serum down my neck). I was shocked and upset that my skin had taken a turn for the worst so quickly! After some TLC my skin recovered after about four days and today's post will explain how I did it.

Tips on How to Recover

The first thing to do is: stop using the aggravating product. As a beauty blogger I've learned (the hard way) to not just jump in and try lots of new products at once: you will mess up your skin in a bad way. If you're using new products, introduce them one at a time to give your skin a chance to acclimatise to the new product(s). This way you will also know which one is the offending product if anything goes wrong. 

The next thing to remember is do NOT exfoliate your skin! It can be very tempting to just go to town with the exfoliation in the hopes of removing every last bump and "starting over". Exfoliation will definitely make things worse, so don't do it!

Return to the basics: your skin is in a very fragile position and you need to be very, very gentle with it. Stick to your old routine and try to pare it back if you're a bit on the heavy side with the skincare steps. For me this meant using a gentle face wash morning and night (and not washing my face in the shower in the mornings) - I recently repurchased the Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel which is a fail-safe to me. My skin always looks good when I use it and I know it won't break me out. After that I applied The Body Shop's British Rose Petal-Soft Gel Toner on a cotton pad (very gently) to my entire face, and I spritzed on some La Roche Posay thermal water, and when I ran out, the Avene thermal water. After letting that sink in I applied a few drops of the Dermalogica UltraCalming Barrier Oil (only from the second day onwards), and then lastly some of the Dermalogica UltraCalming Water Moisturiser. The reason I applied these products is because that's what I've been using in the weeks before messing up my skin with a drugstore serum. You can use anything that's been working for you before the mishap. Luckily for me that meant two products from the Dermalogica UltraCalming range! You don't need to spend thousands on products claiming to solve your skincare problems: the main thing is just to not upset your skin any further.

Go for gentle products. I'm a firm believer in using thermal water (Uriage, Vichy, Avene, La Roche Posay) to calm down irritated skin. I've used it on sunburnt skin, shaving rashes (on the husband), insect bites, you name it. It cools down the area and gently calms the skin.

I've been lucky in that I could stay home those few days while my skin was recovering, so I didn't wear any makeup. When I did go out I just applied a BB cream, concealer, and powder and tried not to faff too much with my skin. Now would also be a good time to tell you to not touch your face! By touching your face you can spread bacteria from your hands to your face, and goodness knows, this is the last thing you need now!

At night I would gently double cleanse if I've worn makeup, or else do a gentle single cleanse. Hot cloth cleansing proved to be the most effective way at cleaning my skin while soothing it. 

Patience. I know, I know. I do not have patience but trust me when I say, you can't rush this process. You just have to be gentle with your skin and give it time to heal. It took me four days but my skin is back to normal.

Do you have any tips or tricks for getting your skin to get back to looking its best? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!


* Image with thanks from Pixabay

06 April 2018

Dipping My Toe Into the K-Beauty Pool: K-Beauty Shopping List

I've always been very intrigued by other people's skincare routines, but even more so by K-Beauty routines. A skincare routine consisting of 10 steps that lead to the most perfect skin ever? Uhm, sign me up, please! Although I don't always even follow all the steps in my own skincare routine, there is a lot we can learn from K-Beauty routines.

When we went to Italy in November I bought a few K-Beauty things from Sephora (you can see my haul here), but I didn't do any research beforehand so I ended up only getting a few sheet masks and not any skincare except for a face wash and an eye cooling stick. 

I saw someone on Twitter posting about a new South African online shop (Glow Theory) who only sell K-Beauty products and I immediately investigated. Glow Theory was born out of necessity: it's not like we can easily get K-Beauty products here in South Africa! I have a few Tony Moly "I'm real" sheet masks and I can tell you, it's a fraction of the price at Glow Theory (R40!)... The rest of the products also seem reasonably priced, although I didn't compare the entire store's pricing to the likes of Sephora (my frame of reference).

I signed up and received a R100 voucher to spend on anything in the store, which I think is a big bonus. That R100 will cover the shipping (shipping is quite expensive, but it is next day courier) and a bit more. My only problem is: what to buy? "Everything" is unfortunately not an option. I then obviously took the next logical step and started googling what to buy. I came across this article entitled "The K-Beauty Products and Hacks a Flight Attendant Swears By". As I started searching for the products mentioned in the article on Glow Theory,  I saw that quite a few of the products were there! This is both a good and a very, very bad thing! Last week Julia from All Dolled Up uploaded a video where she unboxed her K-Beauty haul from Glow Theory and that gave me the kick in the butt to work on my wishlist some more... Below is my current wishlist.

The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask has fascinated me for a long time and I'm super stoked that I now have the opportunity to purchase it locally. It comes in two flavours (vanilla and berry) and is a cross between a lip balm and a mask that you apply to your lips before you go to bed. You apparently wake up with super soft and hydrated lips. Sign me up! This costs R365 for a small jar (I'm sure it'll last a while) and I have my eye on the berry flavour.

Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine sounds like something straight out of a "plastic surgery gone bad" TV show, but in actual fact it is chemical exfoliating pads that contain a wine extract. Apparently each pad has a textured and a smooth side: you use the textured side to exfoliate your skin and then flip the pad around and use the smooth side to wipe away any dead skin cells. This costs R385.

Son & Park Beauty Water is an interesting product. It sounds like it might be a micellar water, but it's touted as a "cleansing water" that can also be used as an exfoliating toner. It contains all sorts of goodies like willow bark and papaya extract (to gently remove dead skin cells), and rose water, lavender water and orange extract for hydration. It's apparently very gentle on the skin. The 60 ml bottle costs R155 and the 340 ml bottle costs R455.

The Tony Moly I'm Real sheet masks are amazing and each one is for a different skin goal, whether it be hydration or radiance. I don't know how many different masks you get, but Glow Theory has avocado (nutrition), lemon (brightening), pomegranate (elasticity), red wine (pore care), tea tree (soothing), tomato (radiance), broccoli (vitality), and aloe (moisturising). At R40 a sheet mask these masks are on par with the masks we can get at Clicks and Dischem. I've only used the avocado sheet mask that I bought from Sephora and I absolutely loved it - I will definitely be stocking up on a couple of these masks.

After reading the descriptions I want pretty much all the J.One products stocked on Glow theory! The J.One Jelly Pack Vita Mask sounds very intriguing: it's a two-step treatment sheet mask to hydrate, firm, and soften fine lines. The first step is a sheet mask and the second step is a sample of the cult Jelly Pack which is a miracle combination of a moisturiser and a primer. You can purchase this as a single-serving pack or as a box of five (it works out R53 per mask for a box and R60 for a single-serving).

The Banila Co Clean It Zero Classic is a balm cleanser and is apparently a cult classic among K-Beauty devotees. I love balm cleansers so I'm sure I'll enjoy using this! You can buy this one or a big tub, and there's also a version for super sensitive skin. The normal sized tub costs R345 (100 ml) and the big tub (180 ml) costs R395.

On the makeup front I have two eyeshadow products on my wishlist, both from The Saem. First up is the Eco Soul Water Eye Tint (R145) and the Eco Soul Glam Eyes (R145). Tati from Glam Life Guru raved about these two products, and after seeing Julia from All Dolled Up swatch the ones she purchased, I am now sold. The water eye tint is basically a cream eyeshadow in a tube with a doe foot applicator, and the glam eyes is a pressed pigment eyeshadow. Stunning!

Until next time!


02 April 2018

Monthly Favourites: March

I've been trying out a lot of new things lately and many of them have made the cut for my monthly favourites. This month's roundup includes a lot of new items.

Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lipcolor in "700 HD Sand"

I have been eyeing this for months, but when Luzanne from Pink Peonies Blog raved about it in her Instagram stories one day, I knew that I needed to get it. I can kick myself for not picking it up sooner, because it's pretty perfect. It's a cross between a lipstick and a lip balm and it reminds me a lot of Revlon's ColorBurst Lip Butters in terms of consistency. The gel lip colours are colour coded according to their shades and come in a long, slim twist-up pen. It's incredibly creamy and applies beautifully. It's quite opaque and leaves the lips looking and feeling juicy. It doesn't dry down (it's a gel, not a matte) so it will definitely come off when you eat or drink, but reapplication is easy and doesn't look gross. The shade itself is a stunning nude: the perfect mix of peach, pink, and brown. I can honestly go on and on about this, but instead I'm rather going to look online which shade I'll be getting next...

This retails for R185 but I've found that Dischem is a little bit cheaper (around R170 when I bought mine earlier in March).

Physicians Formula Butter Blush in "Natural Glow"

I spoke about the Butter range here, and out of all three products the blush in Nude Glow is definitely my favourite. It's a cross between a blush and a highlighter, so if you're pressed for time you can just use this instead of using both a blush and a highlighter. It's a rosy pink and makes the cheeks look nice and healthy and glowy. What's not to like about that?

Wet N Wild PhotoFocus Foundation in "Soft beige"

I reviewed the PhotoFocus range here and currently the foundation is my favourite from the bunch. It doesn't make my skin look like a mask, but it does give good coverage. I apply it with a damp beauty sponge and I'm really liking the finish it gives. I'm honestly not sure you can do better for R100...

Dermalogica UltraCalming Duo*

I spoke about the new UltraCalming Duo here and I've been loving both products this month. I tend to use the Barrier Oil only at night: I dot a drop on each cheek, one on my chin, and one on my forehead before massaging it in. I then go in with a drop of the Calm Water Gel moisturiser and my skin is loving the combination.

The Body Shop British Rose Petal-Soft Gel Toner 

This is a bit of a strange product as it's supposed to be a toner but it has a gel consistency. It smells of roses and the scent is just incredible! I apply a bit on a cotton pad and sweep it across my skin after washing off my cleanser (morning and evening). I can feel it adds a nice boost of hydration to my skin and I find the scent to be very comforting. If it does anything more than just feel nice, I don't know, but I haven't had any breakouts because of this and I find that my skin feels soft and hydrated after using it.

Lux Soft Caress Softening Body Wash

This favourite is a cheap as chips option that I bought at Dischem's Beauty Fair. I think the special was that you can buy two of these gigantic bottles for R75. I love the fact that it has a pump - perfect to use in the shower. It also smells incredible and the shower cream is very creamy and rich, without making my skin feel greasy. That being said, my skin also doesn't feel stripped and dry when I step out of the shower as so many other cheap shower gels tend to do.

Garnier Mineral Action Control Thermic 72h Non Stop Anti-Perspirant

This is a bit of a weird favourite to add as it's very boring, but I've really enjoyed using this anti-perspirant this past month. Due to pregnancy hormones and the fact that I've been hot hot hot since end of January means that I've been sweating a lot more than usual. My normal anti-perspirant doesn't do the job anymore but I've found that this one keeps me cool and fresh for much longer. It also doesn't irritate my underarm area and so far I haven't ruined any clothing items from stains or powdery residue. The scent is also very nice and strangely enough goes well with my J.Lo Glow perfume. The J.Lo perfume is very soft and feminine with an almost powdery scent, and I find that these two products compliment each other well.

Mavala Colorfix Strong, Flexible Top Coat

I have had this top coat sitting in a drawer for quite some time, but after two botched manicures with a crappy Sally Hansen top coat, I decided to rather use the Mavala top coat. Boy was I pleasantly surprised! The brush is a bit scraggly for my liking, but the top coat is nice and thick. It's not as thick as, say, the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, but it's not as thin as some other top coats I've used in the past. I can't really say which is better, but personally I like a thick top coat. This top coat is said to dry down to basically an acrylic, and I definitely agree with the hardness claim. My manicures now last five to six days where they usually only lasted about two to three days.

What were your favourites for the month of March? Let me know in the comment section!

Until next time!


*PR sample

29 March 2018

Pregnancy Update: 36-39+ Weeks

This will probably be my last pregnancy update post because I have, according to the calendar, pretty much come to the end of my pregnancy. As I write this I am 39.5 weeks pregnant and my baby is considered full term, which means that she can arrive any day and when she arrives she should be healthy and "ready".

My maternity leave was supposed to start on the 22nd of March (the day after the public holiday), but at my 37 week scan the week before, my doctor said she's going to book me off on sick leave for 19-20 March because  "What are you still doing at work??" and she reckons I need to stay home and relax before the baby arrives. My boss made me go to work on the Monday for an "HR meeting" which turned out to be a surprise baby shower, so I wasn't too cross with him! I didn't know how I would fare at home alone with nothing to do except wait for the baby, so I set up something each day to keep busy. The Monday afternoon one of my good friends came to visit me at home with Seattle coffees in hand, the Tuesday I went for milkshakes after work with one of my blogger besties, and the Wednesday was the public holiday so the hubby and I spent the day at home vegging on the couch. The Thursday was our 38 week scan at the doctor after which I went grocery shopping, and on the Friday I went for lunch with two of my friends. 

At the 38 week scan last Thursday the doctor said that I was already 2 cm dilated and that she would be surprised if I made my 39 week scan on the 28th of March... Her prediction was that Olive would arrive on the weekend of the 23rd, but, as you are reading this it's already past that and Olive is still snuggled up in her home of the past nine months... I went for my 39 week scan and the doctor said that not much has changed since the previous scan. So now we wait...

As far as symptoms go, the extreme tiredness has subsided, but that's probably because I can now nap whenever I want to and for how long I want to! The other day I had three naps in a ten-hour span, each lasting up to one hour. The heartburn has also subsided for the most part, probably because Olive dropped and is no longer squishing my intestines. Moving around is just a pain, and bending down even more so. My right leg is constantly in pain as Olive is pressing on some or other nerve that sometimes sends shockwaves through my right thigh and my crotch ("lightning crotch" is a real thing!). Besides that I miss being able to close my legs (sorry) as it's now pretty impossible to sit with my legs closed without it hurting. Speaking of legs hurting: I have leg pains when I sleep at night. They're not cramps, just pains. I take a SlowMag capsule every evening and that helps somewhat, but I still wake up in the early hours of the morning and have horrible leg pains around my knees and calves. Anyone else experienced this?

Olive's room is now officially finished (you can see the nursery tour here): we even got a lamp for the side table (picture below). The car seats are also ready to be installed, we just don't want to put it in our cars just yet, it is South Africa after all and I don't want my window to be smashed just for a car seat! Her carry cot is also ready to be snoozed in. The idea is that she will sleep in our room in her carry cot until she either outgrows the carry cot or she is six months old, then she can sleep in her own cot in her own room. I would like her to sleep in her own cot during the day, just to get used to her own room, but we'll see how it goes.

I oscillate between being very nervous and very excited: I have this fear that I'll go into labour and not know it! Not everyone's water breaks before going into labour so I'm scared that this will be me and that I won't realise the contractions are, in actual fact, contractions. The flip side to this is that every ache and pain is now scrutinised and analysed! Everyone around me is on baby watch and almost every day someone will Whatsapp me and ask if I'm still pregnant. In the beginning it was funny but now I'm getting slightly annoyed. I know everyone is excited and that they care, but really people, you'll know when I go into labour!

The one thing that is also making me very scared is the fact that my doctor is going on holiday (for a week!) a day before my due date. I want my baby to arrive when she's ready, I don't want to be induced or to fiddle with the process of starting labour, but I do wish that she'll arrive before my doctor leaves. I don't know the stand-in doctor and I feel that this is a very personal and special event and that my doctor and I have built up a good and trusting relationship over the past nine months.  That being said, I'm sure my doctor wouldn't just have any random doctor fill in for her, so I'll just have to trust the process and believe everything will work out perfectly. Otherwise I'll just have to stay in bed and "knyp" until the doctor comes back (the husband's solution)...

Until next time!


22 March 2018

Nursery Tour

We've been working on the nursery for months on end and we're finally finished. When we moved into our home in 2016 we kept the spare bedroom next to our bedroom empty. We told friends and family that it will be a "store room", but we always knew that it would one day (God willing) become a nursery. Today I'll be taking you through the nursery and showing you all the things we've bought and made. I am incredibly proud of the nursery and especially proud of my husband's handiwork.

First off, we painted (ok, my husband painted, I just supervised and checked for missed spots) the walls white and grey: the bottom third is dark grey and the top two thirds are white (ceiling is also white). Coincidentally the grey on the walls perfectly match the curtains, but I've had the curtains since we moved into the house. The curtains are lined cheapies from Mr Price Home. The idea was to replace them later on (we just bought the cheapest decent ones we could find so that we at least had something to hang in front of the windows!), but they grew on me and now they're staying.

We initially had thick textured carpets in a chocolate brown colour in the room, but with a baby and all the bodily fluids that come with that, we didn't want to risk it. Initially we couldn't decide between (thinner) carpets, tiles, or laminate flooring, but in the end laminate flooring won as it's easier to keep clean than carpets, but not nearly as cold as tiles. That was the only thing in the nursery that we didn't do ourselves. We got a very reasonable quote from a company and it took them all of 90 minutes to remove the carpets, put in laminate flooring, and put up new matching skirtings. We're very happy with the result and it makes the room look much bigger and lighter. It also goes surprisingly well with the two-toned walls.

The white cot we bought second hand from Gumtree. At the time I didn't know you get different sized cots; I thought a cot was a cot was a cot. We got a large cot so everything else also had to be large: the mattress, the waterproofs, and the fitted sheets. We bought the Snuggletime Healthtex 3-in-1 mattress from Takealot as Takealot were the cheapest at the time. I received a few waterproof fitted sheets as well as soft cotton fitted sheets (such as the pink one on the photo) as presents for my babyshower. The mosquito net I got at Mr Price Home - I initially bought one for a cot but it was too small so I had to exchange it for a larger one. I like the pom-pom details and as it is actually for a single or three quarter bed, I can still use it when Olive gets bigger and sleeps in a bed.

I know not to put toys in a baby's cot (choking and suffocation hazard and all that), but since she's not here yet the cot looks incredibly empty without the stuffed toys... The star and moon pillows are both from Mr Price Home and the soft toys are from various shops. The beautiful pink bear is a babyshower gift made by an aunt.

We decided to rather get a chest of drawers and put a changing mattress on top than buy a dedicated changing table or compactum. When the baby's older we can still use the chest of drawers as a chest of drawers. The changing mattress/pad is a Snuggletime mattress from Babies R Us as they were the cheapest. I poked and prodded a couple of changing mattresses and the one from Snuggletime felt the sturdiest, plus it has a plastic cover so easy to wipe off. The white frame around the changing mattress is a wooden changing station made by my dear husband. It's a bit larger than the chest of drawers and it has a frame surrounding the changing mattress so that the mattress can't slide off the chest. It also has space for toiletries on the side.

The toiletries on the right hand side are bath time and changing time toiletries: cotton wool, cotton wool balls, baby oil, Sudocrem, baby jelly, lotion, wash, earbuds, wash cloths, comb, brush, and nail clippers. I might put most of these things back in the drawers, but this is how it looks for now! The bath time supplies will be getting their own container and moving to the bathroom across the hallway, but for now everything is kept in the nursery.

Our Tommee Tippee nappy bin is next to the chest of drawers, behind the door. I know I can just use a normal plastic bin, but gosh, I really can't stand the smell of dirty nappies! Our house and yard is also quite big and the outside dustbin is literally on the other side of the yard, so I'm not at all keen on walking that far every time Olive has a dirty nappy...

Inside the first small drawer I keep a lot of nappies - these are newborn nappies that I got as part of a baby shower gift. I also keep a packet of Johnson's baby wipes in there.

In the second small drawer I keep more toiletries: some of the things on top of the chest of drawers might end up back here depending on what I'll be using. In here are more cotton wool balls, linen savers, bath thermometer, wash cloths, baby powder, Sudocrem, bum cream, and soap bars.

In the first large drawer I keep newborn and 0-3 month clothes. I don't know how big she's going to be or how long she will be wearing newborn clothes, so I decided to pack both sizes in here. The drawer looks incredibly untidy, but the drawers are very small so it's difficult to fit in everything the way I want to!

In the second large drawer I keep her socks and booties, more wash cloths, burp cloths, towels, and random things like nasal aspirators, dummy clips, dummies, a medicine dropper, etcetera.

In the third large drawer I keep her muslin and swaddling blankets and a few other fluffy and fleecy blankets (and her lamb snuggle blanky). The rest of the blankets are too thick for the chest of drawers so I keep them in the closet.

On the other side of the chest of drawers we have a woven laundry basket. I got it at Mr Price Home for  next to nothing. I think it was originally priced at R699 but I got more than half off, score!

We put two floating shelves up in the nursery and both are from Mr Price Home. The one above the changing table is a 90 cm one in "natural" (there are about five colours to choose from), and the one above the feeding chair is a 60 cm one also in "natural". On this shelf we have a lot of small random things. I might change it later on, but this is what it looks like for now. The rubber ducky set was part of a baby shower gift. The picture frame (this one and the one right at the beginning of the post) we bought on special at Builder's Warehouse. The bear and the shoes were gifts. The white star nightlight is from Mr Price Home, and the grey stars are actually coat hooks that we still need to put up (maybe), also from Mr Price Home.

We got the feeding chair at Eric Barnard Furnishers on special. I'm very thankful because I was not going to pay R3,000 for a chair! The white and grey blanket was a gift from my Gran. The side table actually comes a long way: I bought it about 6 or 7 years ago from Ericcsons Mattress and Pine for something ridiculous like R70. It's been used in the most random places since then, but when we couldn't get an affordable side table (why are they so expensive?!) we decided to just use this one. The husband fixed it up: sanded the legs, oiled the legs, put vinyl on top, and did the edging. and I think it looks great! I still need a lamp for the side table, but I'll get to that this week now that I'm on maternity leave.

On the floating shelf I put all the books that Olive received as gifts. The trinket box, the pink bear book stand, and the Carol Boyes picture frame were all gifts from friends and family. I bought a baby record book at Baby Boom to record all her milestones and I was very chuffed to find an Afrikaans one!

The multicoloured rug in the middle of the room was another steal of a deal from Mr Price Home. I went in there one day looking for something else when this caught my eye on the Priced To Go rack... It really adds a lovely pop of colour to the room without being too contrasting.

We have a small walk-in closet in this room with lots of shelves. Unfortunately this is where we store a multitude of stuff, including our fancy evening wear and clothes that we don't wear very often but that are too bulky to fold up. I made space on the shelves for Olive's things and it really helps!

The first shelf contains three woven baskets from Mr Price Home with clothes that will be too big for Olive now: 3-6 months, 6-12 months, and 12-18 months. There are also two pairs of shoes (so cute!) and a few things for me such as breast pads. On the second shelf are extra toiletries. We got a lot of wet wipes when we bought nappies at the Baby Expo, as well as for my babyshowers. There's also extra shampoos and lotions, nappy bin refills, linen savers, a Tommee Tippee microwave steriliser, Phillips Avent bottles, bottle brush, breastmilk bags, and a breastmilk bottle. The third shelf is currently a bit unorganised and contains a baby wrap, baby carrier, baby pamphlets, feeding bottles, feeding sets, and toys to use when she's a bit older. The fourth shelf contains size 1 nappies.

On the floor I keep size 2 nappies. Next to the shelves there are size 3 nappies, extra bed linen (I need a better way to store them), as well as thicker blankets that don't fit into the chest of drawers. She only has about three dresses, so they hang on teeny tiny hangers on the rail next to the shelves. I also put my Medela breast pump that came with the City Style Bag on the floor so that I know where it is when I need to use it. My Dischem baby bag is also there, packed and ready to go when we're out and about (I'm taking my other bag to hospital for now).

Something that's for the baby but that isn't in the nursery itself is our bath trolley. I bought a baby bath at Mr Price Home (I promise this post isn't sponsored by them!) and then we had to figure out how we're going to make it work so that I don't have to bend over or stand on my knees next to the big bath tub. My wonderful husband decided to build a trolley (at the right height) so that I can put the baby bath on top and not strain my back. It has wheels (and brakes!) so that we can move it around. The idea is to use it as a kitchen island when we're done using it for the baby.

If you're still reading this, kudos! I know it's a monster of a blog post, but I'm so chuffed with the way the nursery came out, and I'm looking forward to spending lots of time in there..

Until next time!


19 March 2018

Review: Wet N Wild PhotoFocus

I've been a big fan of Wet N Wild cosmetics ever since they launched in South Africa. Most of their products are high quality and their prices are very affordable. Their eyeshadow trios and eyeshadow palettes are some of my favourites. Their PhotoFocus range is fast becoming a favourite in my makeup bag and today I'll show you some of the products I have acquired from the range and let you know my thoughts on them.

PhotoFocus Eyeshadow Primer

It all started with an eyeshadow primer... About a year ago I was looking for a new eyeshadow primer and I happened to see this one from Wet N Wild. At R130 I was a bit sceptic as that is quite a lot to pay for a drugstore eyeshadow primer. However, I quickly fell in love with this product. It comes in a 10ml tube and it will last you a long time as you really only need a tiny bit at a time. The texture reminds me of a NYX eyeshadow primer I once used (the one with the doe foot applicator, I can't recall the name now). It's very creamy and spreads easily onto the lid without tugging at the skin. If you apply too much it will leave you with a weird white cast after you've set it with powder, so be warned! That being said...this is the best eyeshadow primer I have used except for the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potions (and those are very expensive). My eyelids are extremely oily and even on days where I don't wear eyeshadow, I still apply this to my lids as they will otherwise be creasy and gross by 17:00. It really prolongs my eyeshadow looks and I can highly recommend it.

PhotoFocus Foundation in "Soft Beige"

After watching Tati from the Glam Life Guru profess her love for this foundation, I knew I had to get it when it launched in South Africa. I trust her opinion so if (1) she loves it, (2) it's available in South Africa, and (3) it's affordable, I'm definitely going to try it. The foundation claims to eliminate photo flashback (no white cast when your photo is taken with the flash on) under seven light conditions with top smartphone models, and both with and without flash. Now I haven't tried any of these claims, but I can say that I am really enjoying this foundation. 

The glass bottle looks very high-end and it's nice and heavy. The cap twists off and you get a spatula-type applicator to apply the foundation with. As you can see from the above photo, things are bound to get messy real soon. I scoop out a tiny bit on the back of my hand and then either apply dots to my face, or directly dab my beauty sponge on the back of my hand before bopping it onto my face. The texture of the foundation is a bit thicker than a serum foundation, but more liquidy than, say, the Rimmel Match Perfection foundation or the essence Fresh & Fit Awake Make Up foundation. I personally prefer a more liquidy foundation as I find it easier to apply and to slightly sheer out. The foundation looks like skin but does offer enough coverage to hide imperfections and blemishes. I will continue to use this and I'm sure I'll still like it after a few more weeks. This retails for R100 but the shade range is very limited.

PhotoFocus Concealer in "Light/Medium Beige"

When I bought the foundation I also picked up this concealer. I can't remember all the details, but I think Tati said that she loved the foundation but not the concealer. Anyway, I still wanted to try it out for myself. The concealer comes with a doe foot applicator and is quite creamy, but not as creamy as my beloved Bourjois Radiance Reveal concealer. It applies nicely with a damp beauty sponge, but I would've like it to be a bit more creamy. It's also a bit warmer than the foundation, but not so much that it looks weird when applied on top of the foundation. It doesn't crease or cake under my eyes and it goes nicely with the foundation, and for R65, it's a steal.

PhotoFocus Pressed Powder in "Neutral Beige"

I was looking for a new powder and this domed pressed powder looked really interesting. I haven't really used it a lot so I can't comment on the staying power or the coverage, but I can say that it is extremely soft and finely milled. It's also a breeze picking up product on a brush, even if the brush is quite fluffy. I have the feeling that if you're oily skinned but you don't like the look or feel of a liquid foundation that this might do the trick for you. At R90 this is also a very good price for a high-quality pressed powder.

Wet N Wild products are currently on a 3-for-2 special at Clicks (online and in-store). I'm thinking of picking up another eyeshadow primer as mine is almost empty, as well as a contouring kit, and maybe a mascara. What are your picks? Let me know in the comments section! Come on, enable me...

Until next time!