Monday, 31 December 2012

Favourite beauty products of 2012 TAG

I was thinking of doing something like this instead of a December favourites post (especially considering they'd probably contain all the same products), and then Kat from Kitsch Snitch tagged me to do a beauty favourites of 2012 post! I'll have to start this by saying, I really only got into wearing makeup during this year, so my collection is quite small. I guess that just makes it all the more easier to pick my favourite products, but it also means I haven't used many. But here goes anyway

Lip Products
I've used some amazing lip products this year and I have so many lovely lipsticks, so this is hard.

MAC lipsticks. I got given 3 MAC lipsticks this year as Christmas presents and they're fantastic (I got 2 lots of Vegas Volt because my friends are great at picking presents, so I get to choose another colour to swap one of them with... so hard)! In particular, Vegas Volt is a fantastic orangey pink colour. Angel is also the perfect nude, as I prefer nudes that lean more towards pinks. They're creamy, smell lovely and last a decent amount of time.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter. I started using these kinda by accident when I found them 40% off in Target. I now own Strawberry Shortcake, Peach Parfait and Sugar Plum and I think they're great products.

Eye products
MUA Undressed. Everyone can already guess why this is my favourite. It's a great palette and if you're ever going to do an order from MUA, I insist you get this!

It's hard to choose a runner up here because I've used a lot of great eye products and they're all so different from one another, so I'll briefly mention some products I love using: Covergirl lashblast volume mascara, Covergirl lineexact liquid liner, Australis eyeshadow primer.

Makeup Base Product
Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation in 51. For me, this is a great foundation. It gives a light - medium coverage, smells great, and doesn't irritate my skin. I probably don't need to talk too much about this seeing as everyone's already reviewed it!

Body Shop Extra Virgin Minerals loose powder foundation in 105. This is the first powder foundation I own that I've actually used, and I think it's great. It's a little pricy at $40 for 5g, but this is great for my dry skin, lasts all day (without primer) and doesn't irritate my skin.

Cheek products
Benefit sugarbomb. This is a super lovely blush, it smells good, and applies lightly enough that you can build it to the colour you want.

Australis High Lights Mineral Face Highlighter in Gold. I think this gives a great glow to your cheeks and I really need to get my hands on Pearl too.

Nail Products
Ulta3 polishes: These are by far my favourite nail polishes, mostly because they are super cheap, are pretty decent quality considering and come in most of the colours you'd ever need. I've bought a whole bunch of these this year, with my favourites being Watermelon, Precious and Earl Grey.

Beauty Tools
Australis 6 piece brush set. This was less than $20, and so far has suited my needs. I really only use the eyeshadow and blush brush but I think they're pretty good.

Skincare products
Lush Ro's Argan Body Conditioner. I got this in my first Bellabox (as my first Lush product, too!) and after figuring out how to use it I really love it. I have super dry skin and this stuff is great - especially after shaving my legs. I've given it as presents to 2 people this year because I love it so much and want to spread the word about it around.

The Body Shop Cranberry Joy Body Polish. Fine, I only just got this but I love it so much that if I got it at the start of the year I'd have totally used this all year. I'm bummed it's limited edition because I'd love to use it all year round, but I would also be happy to use the strawberry version.

DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom. I got a sample of this in a beauty box and loved it, and was lucky enough to get given it for Christmas from my sister!

Hair Care 
This year I've been batling with getting my hair into good condition. Last year I decided to dye my hair pink, and the bleaching involved with that completly destroyed it, to the point I had to cut it super short because it was so thin. Anyway, it's getting pretty healthy now after using different shampoos and conditioners in the L'Oreal Elvive range. Particularly the 'conditioning repair spray' helped when used before brushing my hair.

I tag:
Tegan from Lucie Daisy
Sammi from Material Gurl88
Candice from You Review
Lu from Glaring Embers and Stark Twilight
Nay Denise from Tres Beau Glamour

...and everyone else who is reading this post!!!

What were your favourite products of 2012? Have you used any of my favourite products?

Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012 in review

Me at my 21st

Holy Moly. What a year! This year feels like it's gone by at warp speed.

2012 was an incredible year for me. So many great things have happened to me, and I've met some incredible people.

Definitely the highlight of my year (more like highlight of my life) was in June meeting my favourite band ever, Simple Plan, not once, not twice but THREE TIMES! A friend and I did a road trip to see them play in Sydney, Newcastle, Sydney again and Wollongong in the space of 6 days! It was such a fun trip and we met some incredible people at the shows who we keep in touch with. They played with a band who I've also loved for a while - We The Kings, and it's safe to say that they're now my #2 favourite band, and I've been listening to them almost non-stop since June.
Me and David <3

The rest of the band

The best night... the second Sydney show when the lead singer was sick
so the bassist sung a few songs. Oh yeah, and we were right up in front
of the stage and there were only 20 people in the room. So fun!

I also got a new Italian Greyhound puppy - George, went skiing twice, had a fantastic 21st party where I had some forum friends from Sydney and Wollongong come down for, got the best birthday present - a Kitchenaid mixer from my boyfriend and did a whole load of baking, went to plenty of awesome parties including a weekend down the coast for a friends birthday, finished a freaking university degree, took some really interesting classes (biosecurity and microbial forensics - learning about viral outbreaks!), and finally started to move on from the job I've been at for 5 and a half years.

View from my friends house down the coast.



Kitchenaid mixer.

This year was great, but I know next year will be even better. My boyfriend and I are planning on moving to England from the end of May till (hopefully) after Christmas. It's going to be our gap year that we never had. We'll hopefully manage to travel a lot during that time and we want to at least go to Paris and Germany (and see ALL of the UK).

Saturday, 29 December 2012

NOTD: Ulta3 Fruit Tingle

I've been wanting to use this ever since I got it, but because of Christmas I put it aside for more 'festive' manis. But I put this on the other day to try it out and I love it! It does look kinda scary in the bottle, but it applies into a nice barbie pink colour that is totally wareable. I did find it chipped quite quickly, but I'm attributing that to the fact my nails are in horrible condition. It also was opaque in 2 coats, but I needed 3 to get even.

I've been super busy the last week. I've been working long busy days because of boxing day sales and today has been my only day off since Christmas day, and I've been busy organising to go camping overnight for New Years. I didn't have much of a chance to look at any sales, but I did manage to buy a lot of sale items from work (Cotton On) and found some bargains in Priceline and Kmart (Australis and Rimmel gift sets half price!). I'll make sure to do a post on everything once I receive my stuff from Priceline.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Beauty blog Christmas swap!

A while ago Jasmine from Sweetaholic Beauty hosted a beauty bloggers Christmas swap, where she partnered girls from around the globe to swap products for Christmas. I was lucky enough to be partnered with Nay Denise from Tres Beau Glamor, who is from the US. We decided to set a limit of $50, and WOW. I was totally shocked with how much was in the box when I opened it!

It's hard to find a place to start, but I'll start with the things I was most excited about when I opened the box, which was the Lancome products. These were an eyeshadow quad, a single eyeshadow, a 'super enhancing mascara base' and some sample sized mascaras. I love all of these products (especially the mascara base with the mascara, so great! and the single eyeshadow is super duper pigmented!)

Lipstick in All Done Up, single eyeshadow in Officially In, and the quad shadows: Pink Pearl, Pink Zinc, Drama and Successorize

Next the lipsticks. I love Covergirl lipsticks, so I was so excited to see 2 lovely shades of these, Fairytale and Delight. The covergirl lipstick I own is super long lasting, and these are no exception. I also got a Revlon colourburst lipstick in Peach, 2 L'Oreal color riche lipsticks in Tickled Pink and Peach Fuzz, Maybeline lipstick in Coral Lustre, a wet n wild lipstick in just peachy and NK lipstick in Orange Tint.
Fairytale, Delight, Peach, Tickled Pink, Peach Fuzz, Coral Lustre, Just Peachy and Orange Tint.
Swatch order as above.

There were also some lipglosses. 3 L.A Colors glossy lips lipglosses in Sweet Treats, Butterscotch and Pink Icing, Elf super glossy lip shine in Watermelon, NK lipshine in Taupe, Milani crystal gloss in fruit punch and a clear Bobby Brown lip gloss. There were also 2 carmex lip balms in original and cherry.
Sweet Treats, Butterscotch, Pink Icing, Watermelon, Taupe, Fruit Punch, Clear, Cherry and Original. 

Next there were a bunch of really pretty single eyeshadows from NK. These are great because I don't own many coloured eyeshadows. I got 3 purples, 2 pinks, a green and two blues (these don't have names, just numbers). I also got 2 wild and crazy eyeshadows in New u Girl (yellow) and Crazy on You (orange).

Order as above.

Ther were also 2 eyeliners from Prestige in Shiraz and Lagoon, a multicolour blush from Kleancolor and an Isis Idel Cosmetics lip conditioner in Innocent.

She also sent me an Avon skin softener in Imari, an Apricot scrub, and a makeup case full of Lancome samples, manicure guides and nail stickers!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Battle of the macarons!

Macarons are a usually a sometimes treat. They're delicious, but too expensive to buy on a regular basis. I started making them myself after I got a kitchenaid mixer for my 21st, and discovered they're not that hard at all! Whenever I make them I bring them to work and everyone seems to really enjoy them (and I get a huge ego boost, haha). For Christmas I decided to make candy cane maracons after mum bought a recipe for them home, and I also made some caramel macarons from Zumbo's packet mix (that you can get from Coles and Woolies and also comes in passionfruit) for my boyfriends mum for Christmas because the last time I tried to make caramel myself it was a disaster, and I wanted to see how good his packet mix was, compared to making them from scratch from his recipe.

Most ingredients and equiptment laid out on the table 
My trusty kitchenaid mixer
To make macarons from scratch, I use Adriano Zumbos recipe (which you can't find on the internet, but I would totally recommend buying his Zumbaron book - SO many good recipes... I got given 2 of these for Christmas!) I don't follow the recipe exactly, I don't use egg white powder in mine and I like to add a little less castor sugar (he says 150g, I usually go between 70g and 90g)

My macaron shells
150g Almond meal
150g Icing sugar
55g egg white
70-150g castor sugar
37.5ml water
55g egg white

Mise en place is really important with making macarons and makes cooking them sooooo much easier, so measure everything out before you start!! Sieve the almond meal and icing sugar then combine with the first lot of egg whites. Add the castor sugar and water to a saucepan and heat till 118˚c (This is soft ball stage and seriously, just go out and get a sugar thermometer instead of trying to figure out when it reaches this stage!). This is also the part where you add any colouring of flavourings, by replacing some of the water you're adding with the dye or flavour. I replaced 2.5ml water with peppermint essence.

sugar syrup in the saucepan with sugar thermometer
While waiting for the sugar syrup, beat the second lot of egg whites until you get froth on top, then when sugar syrup is hot enough, beat the egg white while pouring in the sugar syrup, and then beat until stiff (not quite hard peaks).

glossy Italian meringue
Then you 'sacrifice' about 1/3rd of the meringue and beat it almond and icing sugar mix (this is so you can fold the rest in easily).
finished macaron mixture
Piping the shells with the mat underneath
Fold in the remaining meringue, pop it into a piping bag and pipe onto baking paper. You'll need a stencil underneath, which you find on the internet, or you can buy a macaron mat from a baking shop (I use those, but I still put baking paper on top). You can add stuff to the top of your macarons at this step, like cocoa powder or gold dust, and I added ground candy canes to mine. Bang the tray on the table after you've piped it and let them sit for about 30 minutes (longer if it's humid, they need to form a kind of skin). Heat your oven to 135˚c (fan forced) and when the macarons don't stick when you touch them, whack them in for about 16 minutes.
Crushed candy canes!

The packet mix was a whole lot easier! It came with 3 packets, 1 was a caramel meringue, 1 was caramel almond mix and the other was the caramel filling.
To make these you just beat the meringue mix with some water (exact amount is on the box) until it thickens, then sift in the almond mix (which I would recommend doing before you beat the meringue because it takes a long time) and fold to combine. Put it in a piping bag and pipe onto your baking tray lined with paper. There's also a link to get a template for the macaron shells. For the filling you just need to beat the packet of filling with some butter (and a bit of salt if you want salted caramel.

I found that the packet mix was a little runny and most of my shells stuck to the baking paper. I also preferred the taste of the candy cane ones, but next time I make them I would rather a white chocolate and peppermint ganache (like Zumbos recipe) instead of a buttercream. The macarons I made from scratch are far from perfect looking, but I really enjoy making them, and definitely more than from a packet. The Zumbaron book comes with a whole heap of delicious flavours, and I can't wait to make peach iced tea, and chocolate peanut butter and jelly.
Candy cane on the left and caramel on the right.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas tag

I decided to do this tag after reading it on Jasmine's blog. I'm usually a huge grinch so I'm not sure how interesting this post will be :p

What's Your Favourite Thing About Christmas?
I guess I should talk about Christmas in Australia first, because Christmas in the northern hemisphere is a whole other world! 
I like presents! I like buying presents for people and finding the perfect thing for them (and I love the excuse to go shopping, but I don't like the Christmas crowds!), and of course I love receiving presents. I love the food (more on that later) and now that I'm old enough, the excuse to drink before midday!
I did spend one Christmas in the UK though, which was really magical. We were lucky to have a year with a lot of snow, with my favourite part being the German Christmas markets in Edinburgh.

What's Your Favourite Make Up Look For The Christmas Season? 
Because I'm the grinch, I think doing your make up to look Christmasy is a bit tacky, and I'd prefer to do my make up for the season (summer) instead. I'm loving bright coral and pink lipsticks. However, I have been using Christmasy colours on my nails.

 Real tree or fake tree?

Real!! My family have always had a real living tree, and it lives outside most of the year. They are a bit hard to take care of in Australia because of the summer heat, but I think it's worth it. We are also probably the worst at decorating it, but I prefer having a bunch of multicoloured sentimental ornaments on it than it looking perfect and colour co ordinated. I did buy a small fake pink tree from work this year though, because it was pink.

Giving presents or receiving presents?

Do you open your presents Christmas Morning or Evening?
Morning! As if I could ever wait till the evening to open them, haha. Although now my sister and I are getting older, it's almost afternoon by the time we get out of bed on Christmas. I do have to wait till the evening to open presents from my boyfriends family though.

Handmade Christmas Cards or Bought?
I really don't have an ounce of creativity so I just buy my cards. I do like to get nice ones though.

What's your all time Favourite Christmas movie?
Love Actually.

Whats your Favourite Christmas Food? 
 I don't like roasts, so I'm not a fan of traditional Christmas foods. I love seafood on Christmas! Especially prawns and baby octopus salad. We also eat potato salad and bean salad. Last year mum made the nicest duck ballotine that had a pork and cherry stuffing, but she managed to lose the recipe for it.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

L'Oreal color infallible eyeshadow review +FOTD

If you read my recent wish list, you'll see I've been lusting after one of the eyeshadows from the Miss Candy collection after seeing them on Makeup and Macaroons. After looking in Priceline with no luck, I decided to check out Target. I found their Miss Candy stand fully stocked, AND 25% off! Win! I love all the colours in the collection but decided to go with the 2 most wearable ones, Tender Caramel and Innocent Turquoise. I also managed to pick up an Australis Ready to Mingle set for $5 (Australis has been discontinued from Target and they had heaps of Australis on sale, but most things weren't cheap enough), Maybelline babylips in pink blast (because I've somehow lost the other million babylips I owned) and had an embarrassing moment in the counter where I had accidentally picked up the tester instead of a new eyeshadow (whoops!!). Anyway, onto the actual product.

These eyeshadows are so creamy and pigmented and just all round lovely. They last a long time on your lids without creasing or smudging (They didn't even budge when I had a bit of a cry when my car broke down).  They're both iridescent and Innocent Turquoise has hints of gold through the pan, but they don't show up when used. I've also found that Tender Caramel works great as a base for a neutral smokey eye look.
swatches without flash

swatches with flash

I used both eyeshadows when I went to work the other day, with Tender Caramel all over the lid, and Innocent Turquoise as a liner. I really like using this colour as a liner, and think it adds a nice subtle bit of colour.

What I used
Bourjois healthy mix foundation in 51
Benefit Girl Meets Pearl
Benefit Sugarbomb blush
L'Oreal color infallible eyeshadow in Tender Caramel
L'Oreal color infallible eyeshadow in Innocent Turquoise
Covergirl lashblastvolume mascara
The Body Shop lipstick in 48

Now, I'm in a bit of a pickle here. I really like these eyeshadows and would consider buying more (especially the other's from Miss Candy, if on sale), however I know L'Oreal are known to conduct animal testing. I try to buy cruelty free whenever I can (sometimes I can't resist temptation, which is why I could never be a vegetarian, or rich) but lately I've bought a few products from another brand who don't claim to be cruelty free (Revlon). I've done a lot of reading and it does seem that things surrounding animal testing are a lot better than they used to be (a lot of companies claim they only conduct animal testing when required by law, which I think seems a bit fishy if other companies can manage to be cruelty free). However I would still rather buy from brands that actually have the cruelty free logo on their products (which isn't all that hard, seeing as Australis, Face of Australia and Covergirl are all cruelty free).