Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Save vs Splurge: Brow Gel

Who doesn't like finding a bargain? Spending a fraction of the money on a superior product? I'm in. I've decided to start a little 'Save vs. Splurge' series here on the blog to discover what products are worth the splurge, and which aren't. I may even save you a dollar or two along the way.

First up we're talking brow setting gel/ clear mascara. I've never really been one to set my eyebrows until recently. Something finally clicked and now it's part of my daily routine, tamed brows all day long. My budget friendly offering is Australis' Clear Mascara, retailing at $10.95, and the more spendy option; Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel (shown here is a sample) at a slightly steeper $39.

I'm going to cut straight to the chase and say that Anastasia's offering is a better product. It sets brows hard all day long, they literally won't budge. But is it worth the splurge? $39 for a clear gel seems a little steep for me. The Australis offering doesn't set anywhere near as hard, it allows for a little more movement but I think I might actually prefer it. Whilst Anastasia's is the one to go for if you've got unruly brows and want to keep them set in place all day long, the Australis option just seems so much more natural and I'm never left with completely unruly brows at the end of a long day.

I'll be sticking to my much more purse friendly Australis Clear Mascara in the future. Have you tried any of these?


Monday, 23 February 2015

Mineral Foundation Take #2

I've always been a liquid foundation gal. I've dabbled with a little Bare Minerals in the past but was never the biggest fan. I put it down to mineral foundation not being right for my oily skin. However recently I've heard those in the skin care know praise the use of a good quality mineral foundation on problematic skin. Brands like Jane Irrendale and Inika were names being thrown around but I decided to have a little riffle through my own stocks and see if I had anything suitable. In steps Antipodes Mineral Foundation, from a well trusted natural skincare brand I thought why not give it a shot.

Now the shade range for this foundation isn't great, I think there's a grand total of 4 shades of which I have Light Yellow. It works fairly well with my pale skin tone but I do have to be careful not to go too OTT as it can come up a little orange.

Application-wise I opt for tipping a little out into the lid, swirling around my Ecotools Retractable Kabuki, tapping off the excess then buffing into my skin in circular motions, paying close attention to problem areas. It's one of those mineral foundations which seems like it's doing absolutely nothing, and you keep buffing and buffing then all of a sudden things change, and your skin looks even and radiant. It doesn't completely cover pesky pimples but does a nice job of evening out my skin tone. The tiny specks of shimmer (undetectable on the face I promise) add a gorgeous radiance to the finish.

The lasting power on my oily skin isn't amazing. Bearing in mind that it is the middle of summer here in Aus so I'll definitely be re-trialling come the cooler months. I love the way it looks on my skin and would highly recommend to anyone in cooler temps or with skin that isn't so much on the oily side.

Are you a mineral foundation fan?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Breakout Survival Kit

You know when that time of the month rolls around and your skin starts to show it? Or you've munched on one too many unhealthy treats and it's break out central? I hear you gurl. At times like these I like to have a few products under my belt that I know will work quickly to sort things out. Trialling many a treatment over time, I've managed to whittle down a survival kit of sorts that I'm suitably impressed with.

The first things I reach for when my skin's playing up are masks. My favourite way to kick a breakout in the butt before things get too out of control. For a general decongesting I love Sanctuary Spa's Five Minute Thermal Detox, full review here. For these pesky under the skin ones which seem to hurt for ages before they even show, I love Aesop's Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque. I good dollop of this seems to calm things down nicely, I've even been known to leave on as a spot treatment over night- no harm done.

In terms of a spot treatment for daily use I've recently discovered Lush' Vanishing Act. I believe this is the same as Grease Lightning (does anyone know for sure?), but I can't seem to find it on the Lush website. But what I do know is that it's loaded with blemish busting ingredients such as witch hazel, tea tree and rosemary, that pack a real punch. It dries completely clear so perfect for popping on under your makeup and reapplying through out the day if it's a particular nasty one (with clean fingers of course). It's nice to know that you've got something anti-bacterial on throughout the day to keep things clean.

What are your breakout survival kit essentials?


Friday, 20 February 2015

A Beauty Bay Haul

A glowing Caroline Hirons review paired with a '3 for 2' deal was a situation just bound to end in a splurge. I'd read one too many good word's about First Aid Beauty's Facial Radiance Pads written by the skincare Queen herself, I had to give them a try. Luckily for me, Beauty Bay had a '3 for 2' special on all First Aid Beauty so I took the opportunity to try a few bits from the brand. Then came the 'Simply spend $X more to receive a free upgrade to premier service' and so I picked up an eyeshadow palette I've had on my radar for quite sometime now. It's always the way with online shopping, isn't it?

*Quick side note: if you're planning on ordering from BeautyBay, be prepared to wait a while for delivery. My order was apparently dispatched on January 20th but I didn't receive it until the 18th of February. Shipping time is meant to be between 7 and 10 business days.*

First into my basket was a 60 pack of the very famous Facial Radiance Pads. Also from First Aid Beauty I picked up the FAB Faves to go Kit and Skin Rescue Purifying Mask with Red Clay. The little kit included a mini Face Cleanser, Ultra Repair Cream and 28 Facial Radiance Pads. I thought the mini pack of toner pads would be good to leave at my boyfriend's (fingers crossed I like them!).

Alongside the FAB purchases, Stila's In the Light Palette also made it's way into my bag. I've eyed this up so many times in Mecca Cosmetica and just couldn't resist the cheaper online price. Ten neutral shades with a mix of shimmer and matte, I'm so excited to test this out. Expect to see a review post soon!

Have you tried any products from First Aid Beauty? What about Stila?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

What's in my Bag: The Mini Edition

I'm a bit of black bag fiend, they make up rather a large proportion of my embarrassingly large bag stash. So what's the first thing I pick up in ASOS' post-Christmas sale? Yep, you guessed it. A black bag. This Ravel Clutch Bag in Ostrich Texture was soon on it's way to me and I've been using it non stop ever since. What better time to rummage up a 'What's in my Bag' post than when you've got a new bag to put on show?

One of the smallest bags in my ranks calls for a very minimalistic edit of add ins. Once the necessaries are in (think money, keys and cards), there's not a whole lot of space left for the multitude lip products usually floating around, anyone else? I've actually been enjoying the challenge of streamlining things though, I even feel a little chic with such a small, well packed bag.

I've left out the boring bits to focus on the more beauty-based content. I'm not a huge on the go touch-up gal but I do like to have a few products on hand just in case. Complexion-wise Estée Lauder's Stay-in-Place Concealer and a mini tub of Tarte's Smooth Operator Finishing Powder both make the cut. A small Ecotools brush is thrown in to pair with the powder and that's that sorted. For eye's I've been loving Rimmel's Scandaleyes Shadow Sticks, they're particularly good for on the go. The shade shown here is Bootleg Brown, perfect to quickly dress up a look, one of those day to night type offerings. I also like to have a mascara on hand, just in case. This is a mini sample of Estée Lauder's Sumputous Extreme, another one that's perfect to ramp things up a little.

I always like to have a lip balm on hand and recently it's been Nuxe's Reve De Miel. I don't usually carry around something quite so heavy for day use but my lips have just been so darn dry recently (thanks flu for that!). I also think it's nice to have something smelly on hand should the need arise. Rollerball perfumes are perfect to refresh your scent through out the day. I think smelling good is sooo important for self-esteem. I always feel ten times more confident when I'm wearing a scent I love. This little double-ended rollerball is from Juicy Couture and has Viva La Juicy and Viva La Juicy La Fleur. A hair tie and a few bobby pins are also popped in because, let's be honest, they're just so darn useful.

What are your handbag essentials? 

Monday, 16 February 2015

Healthy Pancakes

With Shrove Tuesday just around the corner (literally, it's tomorrow!), it's time to get flipping. This year I'm opting for a slightly healthier alternative than my usual sugary treat and I thought I'd share the recipe with you. Dairy, gluten and refined sugar free, these pancakes with make a tasty breakfast any day of the year.

I make mine in a food processor but if you don't have one, don't fret. You can just as easily buy pre-made oat flour (or any other flour of your choice) and get to work mashing the bananas with a fork (I've done it before so you can too!). The bananas add an incredible sweetness to the mix, you barely even need a topping! Although i do like mine piled high with fresh fruit and for a little extra treat you could always add some maple syrup or agave nectar.

Let me know if you gives these a try. I'd love to see your Shrove Tuesday pancake snaps so be sure to tag me on Instagram or Twitter!

2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup oats (or 1/3 cup of your choice of flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp flax seeds (optional)
Fresh fruit to serve

Start by placing the oats, baking soda and flax seed (if using) into a food processor and process until a it is a flour like consistency, it doesn't have to be too fine (you can skip this step if you're using ready made flour).

Add in the bananas and eggs. My food processor is fairly small so I added them gradually so as not to make too much mess. If you don't have a food processor you could always use a ready made flour and simply mash everything together with a fork. 

Now simply heat a frying pan over a medium heat with a little oil (I use coconut but it's entirely up to you). You don't want the pan to be too hot as these are rather thick and take a little while to cook through. I simply spooned in two tablespoons of battered and fried until firm enough to flip (about a minute), then followed with another 30 seconds- a minute on the other side until golden brown. It's important not to overcook these as they can go a little dry.

Serve immediately with your favourite toppings and enjoy!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Little Bird Café

After a meeting last week I found myself wandering the Northbridge area in search of some breakfast. Then I remembered the little café that constantly floods my Instagram feed and had been on my 'must try' list for way too long. The one down side to following accounts like BreakfastinPerth, the 'must try' list is constantly growing and I'm always hungry. The Little Bird Café is perched (hehe) on the corner of Newcastle Street and Lake Street, although don't trust Google Maps- it took me to the completely wrong place.

A cute little café with both indoor and outdoor seating but we chose indoor. It was a particularly warm day and the Google Maps deviation had left me feeling a little less than fresh, noice. Once inside you're faced with a cabinet full of extremely tasty looking food. Sandwiches, salads and raw treats (think 'carawmel slice' and the like) but I was on a mission, to try the granola that I'd double-tapped on Instagram so many times.

We placed our order before taking a seat on a comfy little sofa. Honey granola with coyo and homemade almond milk for me and buckwheat pancake with cashew cream for my sister. Instead of the usual jugs of water for your table, the Little Bird has a variety of fruit infused offerings. We opted for a strawberry and mint concoction which was oh so refreshing.

The food soon arrived and the servings were absolutely huge. The granola was piled high with a variety of fruits as were the pancakes. Both were delicious and not too guilt-inducing, just what I look for in a breakfast. 
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