Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Q&A - Beauty

When I had my latest giveaway, one of the options to earn additional entries was to submit a question that I would answer as part of a Q&A post. I had so many more questions than I was expecting so I think I will do a couple of different posts! The first is questions post addresses some of those questions related to beauty.

1. What is your holy grail beauty product?
Excellent (but ridiculously tricky) question. I can't name a specific product (there is so much I've not yet discovered!) but lip balms in general are my absolute saviours!

2. What are your thoughts on high end makeup?
Being a 16 year old kid, sadly my budget does not accommodate for high end makeup of any kind. I own one or two 'high end' products from being blessed to win them in giveaways but I have never purchased any myself. For those who can afford it, I say go for it, but for me 'drugstore' makeup is perfectly fact I think some of the cheaper brands have amazing products that would probably rival high end products anyway! If I was to buy something right now, it would be a lipstick or eyeshadow from MAC, a blush from NARS, Chanel Foundation, YSL lipstick or Hoola Bronzer from Benefit! Wow, there is so much that I would love to own one day!

3. Do you ever feel like you have to gain a sense of self control after starting a blog since there's always so much temptation?
I'm guessing you mean self control in regards to spending money on makeup! Absolutely, since starting this blog my desire to buy more, more, more has skyrocketed as I am constantly aware of what's newly released and popular among other bloggers. Luckily, as I mentioned, being a student I don't have the opportunity to go crazy, but I've certainly had to think about my purchases a lot more!

4. What is your current "Slap on face and run out the door" look?
I have been doing a heck of a lot of this lately!
1. Garnier BB cream for oily skin
2. Face of Australia stick concealer
3. Maybelline Dream Matte Powder
4. Covergirl Lashblast length waterproof mascara
5. Nivea Fruity Shine Lip Balm in Guava

5. What is your favourite makeup brand?
This just about killed me this question! I love Essence because it has a small number of incredible (and cheap) golden products! Maybelline is good for eye products, Revlon wins in the lip department...Face of Australia is just all round amazing...Okay so that's four!

6. What is your favourite skincare product?
A quality moisturiser is the most important thing I can have!

7. What inspired you to become a beauty blogger?
I initially wanted to have a blog full of book reviews but I wasn't confident that I was capable of writing a quality review on a book, and that I would be able to read and review enough to post regularly. I found that it was easier to talk about beauty products so I decided to give that a shot and here I am now!

8. Would you rather wear the same lipstick or eyeshadow for the rest of your life?
Definitely the same eyeshadow (a golden champagne colour that blends into the lid but is still noticeable enough to look pretty!)

So there are 8 questions to get these Q&A posts started...thanks for your questions!

Monday, October 28, 2013

I love...Mango and Papaya Body Butter

Long term readers of this blog would know that I love scented products. It's pathetic - anything that promises to smell nice can suck me in like nobody's business.

When I returned from Cambodia I found this on my desk - a present from Mum! It turned out to be extra special because the scent reminds me exactly of all the incredible fruit drinks and beautiful smells I remember from Cambodia.

Anyway, back to the body butter. When I use a body butter I want something that is quite thick and heavy duty but doesn't leave too much residue on the skin. I dislike products that don't sink in as I find it rubbing off on my clothes and failing to moisturise my skin effectively.

Sadly, this isn't a great love of mine. I find that the texture is quite nice, easy to apply, however it leaves a film on the skin. If I apply this before bed, when I wake up in the morning and shower it comes off all slippery as it has remained on the surface of my skin all night and not soaked in one bit.

I don't need to use all that much product to rub it evenly over my skin, but as I mentioned it is a bit of a waste of time because it simply sits there, doing nothing much at all.

Perhaps I am being a little too harsh after having used Body Butters from The Body Shop, but this is just plain useless in comparison.

Ignoring the product itself, I will say that the packaging is quite lovely. It comes in a little pot covered in love hearts and orange colours to accompany the mango and papaya aspects of the product. I like the approach the brand 'I love....' takes with all their products, although their brand name is such a pain!

Basically, all this is good for is the beautiful fragrance that reminds me so much of Cambodia - the sole reason that I continue to use this product. As for its moisturising properties, it is pretty useless and it also sits on top of the skin and doesn't sink in. I couldn't find how much this costs, but from memory their products aren't super cheap.

I wish I could give this a better score, but for now it gets 3/10.

Friday, October 25, 2013

How to gain followers on your blog

I was recently sent a lovely email from Sophie over at Sophie Isabella asking me for some tips on increasing the success of your blog and gaining followers.

I've been blogging for over 3 years now and I remember when I first started and it seemed impossible that anyone could have over 100 followers! I had absolutely no idea what made a successful blog and how to go about things, so I could really identify with Sophie's email. Here are some things I have learnt as a blogger about gaining followers and maintaining a quality blog.

Be Passionate
I can't stress this enough - being passionate (or moderately interested) in what you write about is the most important thing for a blog. It will be blatantly obvious if you simply don't care about what you write in your posts and will turn people off from your blog in an instant. Additionally, if you have an interest in your blog's content you are more likely to come up with entertaining, creative posts that will keep people hooked.

A picture tells 1000 words
Yes, I know...that is probably the most cliche line ever but it is so true. Accompanying your text with amazing photographs (taken by you, not taken from the internet!) will make the world of difference. Trust me, I experienced this myself when I went from no photos, to terrible photos, to okay photos, to good ones. I am constantly looking to improve!

Find your 'style'
This is a really tricky one, because for some people it can honestly take years. It's really important to have something that people know you by, recognise you for and love about your blog. It could be a particular way of 'signing off' from your posts, a blogging series or style of photos. I still don't think that I'm there completely, but I do have my trademark 'phrases' and way of going about things. I have some quite humorous posts on here at times, but for me, photographing my pictures outdoors is my 'thing.'

Be part of the community
There is nothing cooler than having people comment on your posts and take part in discussions. If you are a new blogger this is the most important thing you could possibly do because it gets your name (and blog) out there and you establish blogger 'friends' who remain loyal to you and spread the word about your blog! Not to mention it is also good fun being a part of the blogging community.

This is by no means compulsory, but taking part in giveaways and holding your own is a great way to increase traffic to your blog (and possibly win some cool things too!). Even though it can be a little pricey, holding a giveaway is an awesome way to gain new followers and find new blogs to follow.

Tag, you're it!
You may have seen blogger tags or 'blog hops' going around. Tags are fun to write, mean that you have another post to upload and spread the word about other bloggers. Get tagging!

Social Media
I can't say much about this one because I don't actually do it myself, but as far as I am aware, having social media (like twitter, youtube and facebook) for your blog increases traffic like nobody's business. It gives you a multitude of platforms to promote your blog and interact with other bloggers and your readers.

Lookin' good
I won't even give a blog a chance if the text is hard to read, the colours unappealing and the layout too cluttered. It doesn't take much to have a simple and appealing blog and it honestly makes all the difference when it comes to keeping people on your page. Make it easy to read and nice to look at!

Followers galore
Ensure that when people have reached your blog and decided to follow you, that it is quick and easy. Have 'buttons' for GFC and Bloglovin' (and other similar platform) so that it is literally as easy as the click of a button.

So there are my top tips for a flourishing blog! If you have any others be sure to comment and let me know. Happy blogging!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Revlon Lip Butter in Gumdrop

It's pretty difficult to escape the hype that breaks out in the beauty world when a new product comes onto the scene. The Revlon Lip Butters caught my attention as soon as they came out, but their arrival in Australia proved a disappointment when 22 dollar price tags were slapped across their pretty quilted packaging. I vowed to pick at least one up, after all I wasn't going to be the only one who didn't have one. Sweet Tart on sale for $15, then Berry Smoothie for $10 seemed like good deals at the time but it got even better when I spotted Gumdrop and Brown Sugar for a measly $4 at Target. Yes please!

Despite that the shade Gumdrop had never caught my attention previously, for $4 I figured I couldn't really go wrong. I've since changed my mind.

If I'm really honest, it's not a horrendous shade. It's not like it's bright blue or tennis ball yellow, but purple lipsticks never have been and probably never will be my favourite, even if they are super sheer.

Gumdrop really is a light lilac shad, glossy and rather sheer but noticeable all the same. It has some tiny, tiny shimmer but it's considerably more noticeable in the bullet than on the lips.

When I apply it on my pigmented lips, it just looks plain ridiculous. It appears as though there is a white/purple cast over my pink lips and it's a little ghostly.  Though I appreciate that the purple aspect of this lip butter is just my personal taste, I don't think anyone finds a corpse lip pretty. It's not an extreme look, in fact, those who are more daring than me in this department would probably scoff at my hesitance with this lip butter because in reality, it's a lot more subtle than it is bold. Still, I know I am not the only one out there who doesn't like to venture into purple lip territory.

Moving on past the shade to the is with the case with all their lip butters, they are smooth, creamy and darn easy to work with. They can be applied quickly with no fuss and last a couple of hours (without eating and drinking).

Gumdrop is not nearly as pigmented as Berry Smoothie and Sweet Tart, due to the nature of the colour of course.

The quilted packaging has proven to be a hit with many. I personally don't love it but it's by no means awful either. I love that the colour of the tube changes in accordance with the lip butter shade because it means it is easily identifiable when you are sifting through your lipsticks for the shade you want. The silver tube and black base is classy and stable.

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with Gumdrop. It's unlikely that I will warm to it and it certainly won't be one of my most used shades, but I feel a bit bad having it sit there completely ignored in my collection. Perhaps I can combine it with another shade that doesn't work either...who knows, but this was a bit of a silly purchase.

Well, for only $4 it's no great loss but I wouldn't bother with Gumdrop if I saw it again. I would love to hear your thoughts about this if you have tried it because I think many ladies out there might get on well with it, but for me it just didn't work.

Sadly I can only give this 6 out of 10.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Travel Times 9

Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain
I'm back! I've returned home after two weeks in Tasmania with the family, followed by a week in Melbourne on school camp. Sadly I didn't take a single photo on camp but I did take some in Tasmania so I'll make a post about that!

In our two weeks there we literally explored the entire island. We started in Launceston and then travelled down the East coast, to Port Arthur, along the south coast to Hobart and then back up to Launceston. 

These photos are from some of my favourite places.

The photo to the left is at Cradle Mountain by the Dove Lake. We spent about an hour and a half walking around this picturesque lake and it was really lovely. 

Below is a photo from Wineglass bay, my favourite place in Tasmania. It was a killer hike down to the bay but it was so worth it! We saw some starfish in the rock pools and a little wallaby came up to eat lunch with us!

Wineglass Bay

The two photos above are sights we saw while driving around the coast. We were lucky to have amazing weather, but there is absolutely no way I would ever contemplate going swimming! Seems such a shame to have such beautiful coastline when you can't use it!

The next two photos above are at the top of Mount Wellington. This trip up the mountain was such an impulse idea but it turned out to be absolutely awesome. I hate the cold and absolutely despise snow, so I really didn't enjoy that expect of it, however the view was just incredible.

While we were in Tasmania we went on SO many walks in the rainforest and along the coast. Russel Falls was one of my favourite inland spots.

Have you ever been to Tasmania? What were your favourite spots?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

NOTD - Revlon Scented Nail Enamel in Pretty in Papaya

My Revlon polish in Pretty in Papaya is pretty sad looking. Covered in yellow clearance sale price tags with the black print all mismatched and rubbed off, it doesn't look too flash. However, at $2 down from $13.95 it makes you realise that looks aren't everything.

As you may know, I love my red polishes and I love a good bargain. This couldn't be any more perfect...oh but it could! It's scented!

To be honest I wasn't completely convinced that polishes could actually smell pleasant but this proved me wrong. Once this has dried, it has a strong fruity fragrance that I found myself inhaling at every opportunity. I am sure I must have looked ridiculous smelling my fingernails and I probably suffered some kind of fume inhalation problem, but it was so worth it. It smells wonderful, and you get to carry it around on your nails for days! (Sadly the scent does wear off after two or three days).

The formulation of this polish is wonderful. It takes two coats to become opaque and there is absolutely no streakiness or trouble with the application. This polish is ideal in every way.

I will say - although I personally enjoyed the scent, my Mum despised it and thought the concept of a scented polish was awful. Whether you like this will depend upon personal taste.

My only complaint would be that it takes a little while to dry. Actually, I don't think it does take all that long but I have become accustomed to the super fast drying polishes (thanks Essence and Rimmel) and have no patience whatsoever.

I am really pleased with this $2 bargain!

Have you tried any of the scented polishes Revlon has to offer?

Friday, October 18, 2013

20 random facts about me

As you may have noticed, I've been really getting into these more personal, non beauty related tags recently. I don't imagine everyone would love these but I do have some beauty posts dispersed within them too.

I decided to do a simple '20 random facts' tag today!

1. I love the behind the scenes features some DVDs have almost more than the movie itself!
2. Handwritten letters are just about my most favourite things in the world
3. Waterfalls, thunderstorms and sunsets are the most incredible things nature has to offer
4. If I could be any book character I would be Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird
5. I love list making and don't think I could survive without lists
6. Going on a mission trip to Cambodia is the best decision I have ever made
7. I love fairy bread
8. 8 is my favourite number
9. I don't think I've worked on anything as long as I have this blog
10. When I was little there were 5 things I always wanted: a trampoline, a house with stairs, a lava lamp, a tree house and those pin toys. At 16 I have achieved 4 of those 4 things.
11. The word 'wean' makes me feel sick. Not because of its meaning, purely because of how it sounds.
12. If I could live in hot weather (at least 28 degrees) every day, I would.
13. At this stage in my life, I never want to live anywhere else. I do however, want to travel.
14. I think studying biology is just so exciting. The complexities of the human body and human life is mind blowing.
15. I'm not a huge fan of Christmas.
16. Florence Welch is my favourite singer of all time.
17. I still miss primary school, and I'm in year 11.
18. My most worn piece of clothing is a tatty jumper from a state sports carnival I played netball for that my Mum nearly didn't buy because she thought I wouldn't wear it and it was expensive. It's faded and stained and all the fleece from inside is gone, and it is still my favourite piece of clothing, years later.
19. I am highly organised at school but my bedroom is always a complete mess.
20. I am hopeless at cooking. Absolutely disgraceful!

I love being nosy and hearing facts about others, so feel free to make up 20 random facts of your own if you want too!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Essence Me and my Ice cream Cream blush - Ice Bomb

It's a well known fact that Essence have the best limited edition collections. Admittedly, there aren't all that many products from their permanently line that capture my interest (especially after they discontinued many of their highly raved about stand-out products) but when it comes to their limited edition collections I am always sure to hunt them down.

It was such a lovely surprise when I managed to get my hands on a a display that hadn't been interrupted and every single product was in pristine condition (a miracle considering Essence products have no seals). Surprisingly it was only the blush in Ice Bomb that I found appealing so I picked that one up for $4.95.

This makes me think a little of the Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blushes (or whatever they are called), not that I have actually tried them. I feel like the concept is quite similar, and certainly the packaging seems to reflect that.

The packaging, as is with most Essence products, does look cheap and is quite flimsy, but it is perfectly acceptable considering all of their products cost almost nothing. This is quite a small blush but the product is shaped like a dome so I feel like you would get many uses from it. The minty green print with the bright pink doesn't work magnificently, but it's not the worst packaging I've ever seen.

The product is a really strange texture, certainly not mousse like or creamy, but not really a powder either. On the skin it glides quite effortlessly although I really struggled to get it to blend when using my fingers. Using a stippling brush was a little easier but not perfect.

This blush is a very unique colour, seemingly cool toned in the pan but a warmer peach shade on the skin with almost a silver shimmer running through it. I struggled to make this work and found that it looked a little garish on my skintone which is more suited to warm pinks or gold toned shimmers.

The lasting power on this is wonderful. It seems as though once it is on the skin it really 'sets', hence why it is a bit of a struggle to blend.

I do like the concept of this blush but unfortunately the formula and shade wasn't a real stand out for me this time. I am glad I purchased it and I will use it but I wouldn't get any more.

I give this 6/10.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Travel Times 8

This will probably be my last Travel Times for Cambodia but I'll then do one for Tasmania which I just came back from, and then one for Melbourne where I am going this week!

I decided my last Cambodian Travel Times post would be about the animals I saw, the good, the bad and the surprising.

 Without a doubt, seeing elephants for the first time in real life (except for in the zoo) was a pretty amazing moment. They are just the kind of creature that you find yourself in awe of, they are just so beautiful and powerful.

 These tanks full of fish were everywhere, and for a couple of dollars you could sign up for half an hour of 'foot massage' whereby they ate all the dead skin off your feet. Yuck!

We were blessed to visit a small village that had been set up from overseas monetary donations, and this little pig was a big contributor to their successful pig farm.

 Cows were absolutely everywhere in Cambodia, although sadly (despite there appearing to be an abundance of food) they were all skeletal, their skin hanging off their bones in the most horrible fashion. Though they looked so unhealthy to me, many locals reassured me that they would be okay!

It was such lovely surprise to spot this guy hanging out at a cricket farm we visited! I spent a lot of time holding him!

Spiders! I think the tarantulas were my favourite because they were so unexpected and really quite enjoyable to play with! 

We saw a couple of white horses wandering around the temples of Ankor, although none of them were dressed as elaborately as this one!

I hadn't really expected to see dogs around the place, but they were everywhere!

 Chickens seemed to wander about the country, almost as if they were wild and had no place to go.

Last but not least are crickets, a popular source of food in Cambodia. We were told that cricket farms are less labour intensive and more profitable than pig farms in many cases! I can't imagine cricket farms hitting off here in Australia, but you never know...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Haul - Revlon, Loreal, Garnier, Just Jeans & Factorie

I love bargains. I just love them. Here are the pieces I picked up when on a family holiday in Tasmania.

First stop: Target

I was quick to spot a HUGE makeup sale with brands like Maybelline, Bourjois, Loreal and Essence all up for grabs. It took a while to sift through the red and green Essence shadows, $10 brown Maybelline lipsticks and $9 yellow Bourjois polishes and then...Revlon proved to be a bargain.

Revlon lip butter in Gumdrop: $4
Revlon lip butter in Brown Sugar: $4
Revlon Scented Nail Enamel in Pretty in Papaya: $2
Revlon Top Speed Nail Enamel in Fire: $3

All you beauty bloggers will know that those Revlon products are an absolute bargain, you would never dream of picking those products up at those prices!

The last thing I picked up from Target was the best bargain of all…
A Loreal Colour Infallible eyeshadow in Magnetic Coral for…$0.83. 83 cents!

Next I popped into the chemist and saw that they were chucking out the Garnier BB creams for $9. Having just finished mine, I decided to try out the oily skin version. I am interested in comparing them, because I used the original version everyday but found it to be a little too greasy. Hopefully this new one does the job.

I then went to Just Jeans and was drawn to their sale rack where I found a pair of shorts that were originally $50, discounted down to only $5! The only size left fit me like a glove!

Factorie was last, where I purchased a skirt and some jeans. I spotted the skirt immediately as, like so many others, I have been into skater skirts/circle skirts lately. Though it is a little bit childish in my opinion, I figured I'm 16 and if I can't wear it now I never will be able to, so why not give it a shot?! I really love the pattern, but I think I will be getting rid of the belt that came with it. I think that it will look lovely with a simple white tank top. It retails for $30 but I was able to snap it up for $10.

As for the jeans, I've been looking for a pair in a more unusual colour because my black and blue ones are getting boring. I saw these maroon ones for $10 down from $40 and they too fit perfectly so I grabbed them as well.

I am so pleased with this haul, I think I was lucky to stumble across some amazing sales. I want to know what your best bargain has ever been...I think my Loreal eyeshadow takes the cake for me!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Australis Paparazzi Perfect High Definition Blush - Screen Siren

Yes, yes...I know this blush is old news, but when I saw it getting chucked out at priceline for only $6.47 (when it usually retails for $12.95) I knew it was coming home with me.

I don't own all that many Australis products - Face of Australia is definitely the stand out of the two for me - but recently it has been catching my eye, resulting in me first picking up the Paparazzi perfect eyeshadow palette in Snap Attack and now the blush in Screen Siren.

As always, my first comment is on the packaging. I don't love the black plastic and metallic pink writing, especially because the black picks up fingerprints and gets dirty remarkably quickly, but it's not horrendous either. This blush is a lovely size with a large pan but quite compact and slim. The product opens to reveal a good sized mirror and gorgeous looking marbled blush. I have never been attracted to marbled eyeshadows and certainly not marbled lip products, but for some reason I think this blush looks just beautiful.

The marbled effect is not just good for aesthetics but allows you to create 'custom' blush shades. Obviously it is quite limited - you won't be using this to get bright red, peachy orange and plum pink shades from the same pan but you can control it to some extent by swirling your brush in the desired areas.

When I apply this blush I simply swirl my blush around the entire pan and apply to the cheeks as normal. It gives a natural looking dusty pink that is highly wearable and easy to work with.It isn't incredibly pigmented, but it's not too sheer either. It can be built up as desired, but a single application also looks just fine.

I have found that this is long lasting and lasts the duration of the day with ease. As far as I am aware, the Paparazzi perfect line is designed to be good for photos which I can attest to! As there is no shimmer in this, it photographs beautifully and shows up really well on camera.

 The texture can be a little bit powdery but nothing challenging to work with.

For the retail price of $12.95, you get a fair amount of product for a pretty affordable price. There are 4 shades to choose from and like I mentioned earlier, there is some flexibility as you are able to alter the shade slightly according to where you swirl your brush. They are very pretty and wear really can't really go wrong!

If I see any more of these on special I will most definitely pick another up because I can tell this is going to be a favourite of mine soon!

I give this 9/10.

This is impossible to photograph as it is just too reflective

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