Friday, 29 June 2012

A makeup range from Lush: Emotional Brilliance

Years ago, Lush had a sister company B Never Too Busy to be Beautiful. B Never produced the most stunning makeup range, with really vibrant eyeshadows, gorgeous lip products as well as some amazing perfumes and body products. In fact, I wore one of their perfumes - Two Hearts Beating as One, to my wedding (I will review this in my Rose Quest). Unfortunately, B Never closed down in 2009. I was never lucky enough to try their makeup range but always hoped that one day Lush would bring some of it into their stores. (Have a look here if you would like to see swatches of the B Never makeup range).

I have just found out, thanks to Su from My Perfume Diaries, that Lush is now releasing a makeup range. I was so excited when I found out that I went straight to BeautyDirectory to see if I could find out more information, and below is what I uncovered. The range is called Emotional Brilliance. All the colours are laid out on a wheel, you then spin the wheel and grabbed the three colours that jump out at you first. These are the colours you are psychologically drawn to. From Temptalia:

These three chosen colors will then be placed in the middle of the wheel in the order they have been picked. The first color choice symbolizes your STRENGTH OR WEAKNESS; the second choice represents your SUBCONSCIOUS NEED; while the third choice is your TALENT and it is what you require to achieve your subconscious need.

Image courtesy of Musings of a Muse

You might end up drawing out three colours from the one range (ie all eyeliners) or a mixture - it doesn't matter. The colours can be worn together but don't have to be. The range is entirely vegan. Below are the products that are included in the range and their descriptions (inages and descriptions courtesy of BeautyDirectory).

Charisma Skin Tint

Lush Charisma Skin Tint can be worn under your make-up to give the skin a healthy, warm glow. Tint is great on tanned skins or for paler skins to give a bronzed effect. $19.95

Cream Eyeshadow

Lush Cream Eyeshadow is bold and colourful. The base softens easily into the skin with rose petal infusion and skin-softening almond and jojoba oils that are caring on the sensitive eye area. Glycerine will help carry the colour onto the eyelid and capuacu butter helps set the colour pigments so the formula stays in place and lasts.  $24.95

Emotional Brilliance Translucent Face Powder

This translucent, ultra fine, light-reflecting face powder is suitable for all skin types. It can be used over foundation to set it in place and create a shine-free finish or on its own to even out skin tone for a natural look. It won’t dry the skin out as it contains softening jojoba oil that allows the pigments to be delivered onto the skin smoothly, without dryness. Jojoba oil is also exceptionally nourishing for the skin and creates an excellent protective barrier between your face and the elements. The powder can be smoothed onto the upper eyelid to prevent eyeliner from smudging. The face powder has a talc base that delivers the pigments onto the skin smoothly with no mineral oils or preservatives to irritate skin. $19.95
Eyes Right Mascara


This gentle mascara contains only one preservative in the formula, so the Lush Eyes Right Mascara won’t irritate eyes. It contains wheatgrass packed full of vitamins and minerals to condition and nourish the lashes. Japan and carnauba wax will help it set so it won’t smudge throughout the day. $19.95

Feeling Younger Skin Tint

Lush Feeling Younger Skin Tint contains orange pigment which works as a reflector on the skin making it look bright and youthful. Use it as a highlighter on the brow bone and eyelids or under the eyes. $19.95
Emotional Brilliance Liquid Eyeliner

Lush Liquid Eyeliner has a no-smudge formula that sets quickly and is long lasting. The eyeliner is made with a base of eyebright infusion, a herb with an ancient tradition of use for the eyes. Available in Independent and Fantasy. $24.95

Emotional Brilliance Liquid Lips

Lush Liquid Lips uses Lush super softening ultrabalm as a base. The ultrabalm combines organic jojoba oil, candelilla wax and rose wax to soften and soothe and carry pigment. Lips will be brilliantly coloured and left soft and smooth and deeply moisturised. $24.95

I have searched around but it appears that swatches have not yet been released for this range. It is being released, worldwide, on 21st July 2012 and I can't wait to get my hands on cream eyeshadow or some of the lip tints - they all look absolutely stunning from the press images that have been released.

Who else is excited about Lush releasing a makeup range? What product do you most want to try first?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Sephora Australia: an update

Back in February I posted the rumour that Sephora was opening a store in either Sydney or Melbourne later this year. This post received a lot of comments from people, piping in with what they have heard. At this stage it is still looking more rumour than truth but I thought that I'd lay all the evidence out before you and let you draw your own conclusions!

Evidence supporting the rumour that Sephora is coming to Australia
  • After I published my original post, a leading makeup artists contacted me to say that a student in one of her classes, who also works for a large commercial real estate agent, told her that reps from LVMH were searching for spaces for Sephora. Of all the rumours this one sounds the most promising!
  • I heard the rumour from staff at the Waikiki store, as did Ivy. Kimmi (from The Plastic Diaries)heard it from the Las Vegas store and Sandra heard the same thing from the Rome store. As promising as this sounds, Kimmi first heard the rumour in 2010 and was told a store would open in 2011 and that hasn't happened.
  • When Brooke was googling to find more information out about the rumour she found a Trade Mark filing for Sephora Australia filed in Nov 2011. Now I can't say I understand anything that is written on that page but hopefully it is the initial steps Sephora need to take to open a store here! Maybe Kimmi's source was right but instead of the store opening in 2011 they would be commencing the process?? Hope so!
  • Annie93 gets emails from Westfield Southland and in one of them there was a survey asking which stores you would like to see there and one of the stores listed was Sephora!
  • Sylivia says that there is a store opening in Bondi Junction, though I have googled and haven't been able to find out any mor on this.
  • LatherRinseRpt has just added this little beauty to the rumour mill: I heard from someone involved with Westfield that Sephora is scoping the higher floors of Pitt St Mall's
  • This article from SMH says that they are coming soon - surely that is some serious evidence!!
Evidence against the rumour that Sephora is coming to Australia
  • When Kimmi first heard the rumour she rang every single persn in the United States (or close to it!) to get confirmation and was unable to. Plus she heard the rumour 2 years ago and still nothing has happened.
  • I emailed Sephora to see if they could confirm or deny it and this as the response I got:
Dear Sarah,

Thank you for contacting We appreciate your interest in our company and are pleased to hear that you would like a store near you.

At this time there are no plans for a store opening in Australia. However we are excited to let you know that there are Sephora retail stores opening all over the world.

To view the latest store openings and locations nearest you, please refer to the Store Openings section on the Store Locator at

If we can assist you further please contact us again by replying to this email or via phone at 1-877-SEPHORA (1-877-737-4672.)


Now I like to think that it could still be possible and that they are just not releasing it to a tiny little blogger in Australia and are saving the exclusive for one of our major publications. Am I being naively optimistic?? Perhaps, but life is definitely more fun believing all the cool rumours!

What are your thoughts? Vicious rumour or potential truth?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The acne series: Guest review of Jurlique

It has taken me a while to get around to continuing the acne series that I started last year (due to my pregnancy related hiatus) but better late than never! Here is the second of my series of guest reviews on acne treatment ranges. I recruited Julie from Me, My Best and I to trial some Jurlique products as she has often mentioned her problematic skin on her blog plus after embarking on Natural November she has mostly stuck with natural skincare so this seemed like it could be the perfect range for her to trial. Here is Julie's review:

Popping my Jurlique cherry

So I'm a little ashamed to admit it has taken me so long to get around to trying Jurlique. Australian, natural, globally loved and celebrity accolades? I'm not sure why I snubbed them for so long.

My only experience was for some reason when I used to pinch a pump or two of the Herbal Recovery Gel from a tester in Duty Free mid a long haul flight change and slather it on my face to pep my skin up and mitigate dull skin arrival. Why? Not sure but I've done at on a few flights now and it's part of the random ritual!,

So I was lucky enough thanks to Sarah from Science of Beauty to get my paws on a myriad of the range to test out - no more sneaky Duty Free fly by pumps required.

And what can I say? I’m rather impressed. Overall I've found these products rich, and for the most part concentrated and a really fragrant therapeutic experience.

My favs;

Purifying Cleansing Gel
Lasts an age - I've been using daily in the morning since before Christmas (written as of April) and am not even half way through the pump bottle yet. One teeny pump ( I am partial to  a good pump action) of this tropical and zesty grapefruity and slightly herbal smelling gel, lathers up a treat (naturally sans SLS) for a really clean, refreshed morning face without any tightness. Works even more beautifully with a Clarisonic Mia. Not too foamy but just right.  Anything citrusy in the morning gets a get up and go tick from me plus the fact the bottle seems to go on and on forever gets one more. This also contains soothing rose and calendula, antioxidants green tea and surprise ingredient turmeric. This gel manages to clean and balance without being harsh, ideal in my mind for troubled skin. I do need to call out it does contain some PEGs so not as pure as they make out.....

Lemon-Lime Hydrating Essence
Ok - this could be deemed an entirely unnecessary skincare item and not one I ever would have bought into or bought myself BUT I am now officially hooked. It is a pre-cleanse booster. Quite a unique little product you don't see in many brands and one that lends a DIY spa feel.

You basically add a few drops to a basin of warm water, which seriously amplifies the lemon and limey sensory hit then you use a washer to compress the aromatic water onto your skin - the oils apparently soften and rebalance and pave the way for a better cleanse. I do more deep breathing when compressing and the combo of the aroma and the therapeutic breaths shake off my day and get me relaxed for winding down.

Mentally I adore this ritual and am totally sold on this addition to my skincare routine in the evening. I even save the water to rinse my face post cleanse to get all the skin benefits. My skin has been remarkably balanced with virtually no breakouts since the start of this year. A contributor? Perhaps. Regardless I enjoy it too much now to stop. Sodashi apparently do something similar, I am vowing to try theirs. Arguably you could with a little aromatherapy know how concoct your own version of this. Jurlique carry different blends for different skin types so more to explore.

Herbal Recovery Gel
This is quite a unique little product and another concentrated little goer - again after using two small squirts daily I'm still  only half way through the pump bottle since opening in Dec/Jan (as at April). Neither rich like a serum nor emoliating like a moisturiser. It's a funny little product that just kinda works. I use it in the morning after washing but before moisturiser. You pat this moist dewy gel into skin - its light and fresh but turns a little tacky and sticky before sinking into skin a few minutes later, it makes skin feel plump and fresh but I still crave a moisturiser on top of it. It is orange peel zesty with a rosy floral water sweetness underneath again why I enjoy using in the morning. I can't be sure of any skin condition changes to report but  I enjoy how it feels and smells and makes me feel every morning and look after I’ve patted it on and I am most attached to the ritual of it. My skin is behaving so well right now - this could play a role in that but I'm unsure what or how but it just feels good and right and an extra hydrating boost never hurt anyone did it? (That is a negative ghost writers ! )

Citrus Purifying Mist
Ok two gripes - a glass bottle that is teeny for the price ($24 for 30mls) I am a firm believer that face spritzers should not be overly pricey and should last the distance of a matching cleanser. This teeny bottle failed on both counts. However it redeems itself with it’s fabulous functioning spritzer nozzle - fine and misty yet powerful and covers good surface area with one refreshing little zingy pump. More citrusy zestiness here, even more lemony than the cleansing gel with lemon balm and more grapefruit extract plus aloe and vitamins A, C and E. I love the mist action so much I have been decanting Mukti's Refreshing Floral toner into the empty bottle as it came from a leaky nozzle sub-par spritzer. Not the best value for money as a facial spritz can only do so much but rather enjoyable regardless. They should consider selling cheaper refill options for their beautiful glass bottles.

Clarifying Day Care Lotion
It's light, tick, smells great, tick, dispenses via pump, tick and offers again a delicate and creamy citrusy scent, tick, tick but why me no likey muchymuchy? Don't get me wrong it's fine but fine is just that. Again the glass bottle bums me with its precious heaviness and there is no SPF so I never use during the day then it doesn't seem rich enough at night.  Don't get me wrong it's good for more oilier days as is easily absorbed despite being nourishing with evening primrose, macadamia, jojoba and avocado oils and feels good on skin but I just don't reach for it very much at all. I'm a fussy mare with day creams - they need to have serious bells and whistles to float my boat.

Tinted Blemish Cream
Do not buy if you want something that will conceal and kill spots at same time. The concealing element is minimal, perhaps only taking redness down a degree or two. It is ointment like in texture so takes work to blend (which usually rubs away the tint) It is also pretty pink in tone , fine for my skin but probably not for 90% of the population. Having said all that it makes a good soothing and healing antibacterial aid. I do use it. Just not at night like my powerhouses Mario Badescu Drying Lotion or Mukti Sebogel but in the morning, under make-up as a little extra help for masking and healing any breakouts as it is loaded within essential oils for those specific problems.

Purifying Mask
A curious textured product that squirts from a foil tube which is good for travel but I just find the texture so dry and thick. I need to moisten my hands and face to spread it which just dilutes the clay in some parts and leaves thick blobs on others and I feel like the bitty ( but not exfoliating) texture is just going to flake off. The smell is also a little off putting for me - citrusy but not in the fresh way of the rest of the range, instead a strange orange peel smell but like orange peels left in the garbage and with an ashy sort of hint. A weird mask experience but not in the bitty, smelly, but effective way of Kosmea’s Daily Exfoliant. I can't really get my head round this one but in saying that will throw in my bag for a mask when traveling as it is so light and space saving .......

So Jurlique – how was it for me? Juicy with moments of greatness and a few let downs, but overall would go back for seconds ;)

Some real winners and keepers and some I'd leave on the shelf. I applaud you for your concentrated formulas, focussed on natural goodness and for the most-part beautiful scents and functional packaging (lose the glass purleassee) You do leave me wanting to try more though and I would really really like to give one of the salon facials a try, I say they are a totally tantalizing sensory trip.

Thanks Julie for your indepth review. I just needed to add that I did try a Jurlique salon facial last year and it was hands down the best facial that I have ever had!

 Have you tried Jurlique and if so what did you think? Which acne treatments have worked best for you?

All opinions stated in this blog are my own (or in this case are Julie's). I have no affiliation with Jurlique and received no remuneration for these comments. These products were provided to Julie for her consideration.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Quest for the Best Rose Perfume: Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare by Creed

I have decided to kick off my series of rose perfume reviews with Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare by Creed as this is the perfume that re-ignited my quest to find the best rose perfume; in fact, it turned it from a simpe quest to an obsession! I had never heard of the perfume house Creed until I read the article Aromatic memoirs of a movie icon before Lauders and Ardens in the Sunday Telegraph's Sunday Magazine. As soon as I read the following statement, Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare is part of Creed’s Private Collection. The crisp fragrance has none of the musky dustiness of most rose styles and is considered one of the best rose scents ever made, I became obsessed with Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare. I was a women on a mission. My ambition in life became to smell this fragrance.

Creed was founded in 1760; however, it was only launched in Australia in October 2011. Creed is the world's only privately held luxury fragrance dynasty, passed from father to son since founding, and is one of the oldest family businesses in the world. Strangely, Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare only comes in a 250ml bottle, which, at $452 you would want to make damn sure that you like it. I managed to find a seller who bought a 1000ml flask from the Creed store before deciding that it was too much juice for one person to get through so was selling smaller, more reasonable sized decants. I managed to pick up one such decant.

What they say (from the Creed website): Fleur de The' Rose Bulgare was made for the wife of an historic U.S. President. The distinguished lady from New York first encountered CREED on her extended honeymoon in Europe. When she returned to America, she wrote to CREED requesting a custom fragrance made with Bulgarian tea roses she had smelled during her sojourn abroad. For her, CREED created Fleur de The' Rose Bulgare, which evokes endless honeymoon romance. It also evokes the beauty and destiny of the gracious woman who became First Lady a few years later.

  • Top Notes: Bergamot, citrus notes
  • Middle Notes: Chinese green tea, Bulgarian rose
  • Base Notes: Ambergris

What I Say: As my quest for the best rose perfume did not end upon smelling his one it obviously wasn't the perfection in a bottle that I was seaking. I had built this fragrance up so much in my head that realistically it was never going to quite live up to my expectations. I imagined that it would smell exactly like walking through a field of red roses in bloom - heady and euphoric. My very first impression was that it smelt like rose pot pouri. However, I was 7 months pregnant when I first smelt it and pregnancy makes my sense of smell become incredibly sensitive so I put the perfume away until after I had given birth. Interestingly, when I first sprayed it I was in a room with three other women and they all immediately said that it smelt exactly like fresh roses.

Second impression - it is definitely a very true rose scent, though, to my nose, seems to be missing the sweetness of a fresh red rose. Initially I can detect the citrus top notes though these have all but disappeared within 5 minutes leaving the Bulgarian rose middle note to dominate. The other middle note is green tea and I think that it is this note that takes away the sweetness of rose, making it a drier scent. I have read reviews that say they can smell the tannins in this and while I can't say that I know what tannins smell like, there is a slight sharpness to the fragrance that does remind me of the bitterness of tannins in tea. This dry rosiness then lasts for hours and hours so, if you like how the fragrance smells after 5 minutes you will also like how it smells after 5 hours as it doesn't change or evolve.

I was wearing this fragrance on the weekend, whilst I had Kiki in her carrier, and a friend came up to me to have a look at Kiki. She exlaimed 'oh wow, she smells just like roses' whereby I then took credit for the beautiful smell! So, it seems that when I am wearing it the scent others pick up is a very true rose scent and it is just when I sniff my wrists up close that the bitter dryness of the green tea is more noticeable.

I have seen some reviews that suggest this fragrance could be unisex which really surprised me as I don't see rose working on a male. The fragrance does lose some of its femininity by not having the sweet element to the rose but it is still a strong floral fragrance and not one I would associate with a man. To be sure, I used my husband as a guniea pig and sprayed it on his wrist. I could actually detect the citrus notes a lot more strongly on him than I did on myself. I was surprised that it wasn't too feminine on my husband, actually we were both quite surprised though he did say that it is not a fragrance that he would ever wear. I think the mear association with rose makes it too girly.

This is a very sophisticated, high quality fragrance and quite a poweful one. It is a serious one as opposed to a fun one - I would wear it in situations where I want to be respected. It does not smell cheap or tacky. The lasting power is quite incredible - I easily got 5+ hours out of it and that is strong scent - the perfume could still be weakly detected on my wrists the following morning. The sillage, that is the trail of scent left behind by a perfume, is high being evident by my friend thinking my baby smelt like roses.
How does this perfume rate as a rose perfume? Near perfect in my eyes - if it were only slightly sweeter then it would probably be perfect. I am going to experiment with layering with other fragrances to see if I can bring out the sweetness I am looking for.

Modern or classical? Definitely classical. It is a fragrance that you could imagine a mature women wearing. In saying that, it is not an old lady's fragrance - or at least I didn't think so but it doesn't have any notes in it that scream modern.

Day or night? Mostly night though it would also be appropriate in serious or formal day situations such as important meetings.

Summer or winter? This is actually a year round fragrance. The greeness of it would make it appropriate for summer yet it is quite heavy so it does not seem out of place in winter,
Would I buy it again? Probably. The only real thing holding me back is the size of the flask it comes in and the price. If it were ever to be release in a smaller sized bottle then I would definitely buy it again.

Where to buy? In Australia you can get it from the Creed Boutique in Double Bay, Sydney, online at Libertine Parfumerie or at the Elizabeth St David Jones Store.

Does this fragrance sound like your cup of tea? Had you previously heard of Creed? Does it do anyone elses head in that the company Creed has been around longer than the country we live in (or at least it was around before white settlement occurred in Australia).

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. This perfume was purchased by myself with my own money.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Posts you may have missed: It's all about the hair

I saw on Sara-May's blog, Makeup Utopia, that she does a recap each Sunday of posts you may have missed during the week. I thought that this was a brilliant idea so have decided to steal incorporate this idea for my blog. However, rather than recapping posts that I have done in the last week I will try to group together posts of a similar theme. This is because there will be some weeks where I only manage to achieve one post and that will look a little pathetic sitting there all on its own!

So, for my first 'Posts you may have missed' I have decided to go with a haircare theme.

Now that I have two kids to deal with (one being a newborn), finding the time to go to the hair dresser is near impossible. However, my kids are seriously sending me grey and it is driving me crazy! So I set myself a challenge - could I successfully dye my hair at home and cover my greys using the John Frieda Precision Foam Colour whilst my babies napped. Click here to see if I was successful!

Speaking of grey hair, have you always wondered whether it is true that if you pull out a grey hair, seven will grow back in it's place? Find out here whether it is true or yet another old wives tale.

I am not the only one who is struggling to find the time to go to the hairdresser. My husband has the same issues with time; however, he has the thickest, fullest head of hair you have ever seen so he needs to get it cut every four weeks otherwise it becomes one big boof. We test drove the Remington Powerhouse Clippers to see whether they were good enough to tame his steel wool like locks and if I could add hairdresser to my resume!

Does your head itch? It shouldn't. Give the QV Gentle shampoo and conditioner a trial and the itch should go. It did for me.

When my scalp is behaving and not being all itchy I use the Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly range to keep my curls looking awesome.

Finally, a bit of fun. I bet you have always wondered whether bull semen would make a great hair mask. Well, would it?

Do you have a great hair tip you wish to share?

Do you have any great hair posts? If so, I'd love to read them so please post a link in the comments.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

My quest to find the best rose perfume

Rose images used in this article are courtesy
When posed with the question 'If you had to give up one of your senses, which one would you choose?' my sense of smell is the first one I'd choose to keep. Where sight and hearing are necessity senses - ones that I take for granted, smell is the one that gives me the most pleasure. It can instantly lift my mood and bring with it a flood of memories - I don't know why but I just love the smell of tomato leaves; mangoes smell like Christmas to me because my Nanna used to buy us a box of mangoes each Christmas; the smell of salty sea air makes me happy as it means I am near the water; lemongrass sweeps me back to my honeymoon in Thailand; since becoming a mum I finally understand why people go on and on about the smell of newborns and often find myself snorting up my newborn's deliciousness; but my favourite scent of all would have to be that of the rose.

As long as I can remember I have always stopped to smell the roses. And when I do, it makes me feel intensely happy. I love the heady, intoxicating scent of a red rose or the surprisingly strong and fresh smell of a pink rose. Conversely, I hate the red roses you find in a florist that a bred for their beauty but have next to no fragrance. They are a tease for me as I feel the real beauty of the rose, it's amazing scent, has been removed.

Without realising it, I have been on a quest for most of my life to find the best rose perfume. When I was a kid, maybe 10 or 11, my neighbours grew stunningly fragrant red roses. I used to sneak over and pick all the petals off the roses, put them in a jar and cover them in water to try and capture the rose perfume. No surprises, I was unsuccessful with this experiment and my resulting concoction was nothing more than a jar full of pungent fermenting petals (though it did show that I was destined to be a scientist from a young age!).

When I was in my teens I would go to Paddy's Markets and buy rose 'essential oil'. In hindsight it was most definitely not genuine essential oil as I think I paid about $8 for 50ml. Back then I naively believed the seller when they told me it was genuine, and worse still I use to apply it to my face. I remember it stinging so I shudder to think what I was actually putting on my face.

For Christmas, when I was 17, Nonny (my grandmother) sent me a Jurlique Rose gift pack which contained a shower gel, hand cream and their best selling Rosewater Freshener. At this stage I had not heard of Jurlique but one spray of the Freshener literally changed my life. It was the most amazing thing that I had ever smelt. It smelt exactly like a bunch of fresh red roses and each time I sprayed it I was hit with a wave of euphoria as I inhaled the magical scent. I believe that it was probably that one gift that really ignited my obsession for beauty and also my quest for the best rose perfume. The scent of the Jurlique Rosewater Freshener is my ideal rose perfume but, alas, it lingers barely 2 minutes on the skin so my quest had to continue.

When I was about 20 my then boyfriend (and now husband) bought me 1ml of (this time) genuine absolute rose essential oil. It was the first time that I had smelt absolute rose essential oil and I remember being surprised that it didn't smell as 'rosey' as a fresh red rose. Beautiful, yes, just not as crisp and fresh as a rose in bloom. So the quest continued.

Over the years I have bought a bottle or perfume here or there in an attempt to find the perfect rose perfume. At times I have felt like I have come close, yet I have not quite found my perfection in a bottle. I recently read a review for Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare by Creed which has been described as possibly the greatest rose perfume ever created. This one review completely ignited my desires to find my perfection in a bottle, in fact, it turned it into an obsession!

So, I have decided to take you along with me on my quest to find my perfection in a bottle - the best rose perfume - by reviewing a variety of rose perfumes as I trial them. So far, I have the following perfumes in my list:

Evelyn Rose Eau De Parfum - Crabtree & Evelyn
Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare - Creed
Imogen Rose - Lush
Joy - Jean Patou
L’Eau d’Issey Florale - Issey Miyake
Rose Essentielle Eau de Parfum - Bulgari
Red Roses Cologne - Jo Malone
Rose The One - Dolce & Gabbana
Tea Rose - Perfumer's Workshop

This list is not final and I would love further suggestions of fragrances that I should try. Especially as perfumes differ so much from person to person.

So, please tell me - what is the best rose fragrance that you have ever smelt?

(Is it just me, or can you virtually smell the scent of fresh roses emitting from your computer screen, just by looking at these gorgeous images?)

All images used in this article are courtesy of Best Top Desktop HD Wallpapers

Friday, 22 June 2012

NIVEA Visage Daily Essentials Fragrance Free Facial Cleansing Wipes

During my last pregnancy I found myself to be really fatigued and although I knew how important cleansing each night is, I simply didn't have the energy. So, I decided to get myself some wipes and the NIVEA Visage Daily Essentials Fragrance Free Facial Cleansing Wipes were on special at Priceline.

Most days I don't wear makeup so I found these perfect for quickly removing the oil and grime that had accumulated on my skin throughout the day. Some wipes are too dry to effectively cleanse but that wasn't the case with these ones. They were lovely and moist and it was quite surprising the amount of dirt they would lift off my skin.

After using them my skin felt clean and refreshed and not at all dry. I always apply moisturiser afterwards but immediately after using my skin never felt tight. The cloth felt lightly abrasive, like my skin was getting a very gentle exfoliation on top of the cleanse - I really liked the feeling of the cloth on my skin. The wipes have next to no fragrance - definitely not one that would offend anyone.

The wipes were perfect for every day use; however, unfortunately, they were no match for my makeup. Actually, they removed my foundation with ease it was just the eye makeup that they struggled with - nearly all of it remained. However, I do always were a primer so most cleansers, other than oil cleansers, really struggle to remove my eye makeup.

I will definitely buy these wipes again, especially now that I have Kiki and Crazy to deal with by the end of the day I just want to brush my teeth and fall into bed. By using these wipes I just need to spend an extra 20 seconds in the bathroom and my face is cleansed!  They are the perfect antidote for time poor people (or super tired mums!) who still wish to cleanse before bed but in the quickest time possible.

The NIVEA Visage Daily Essentials Fragrance Free Facial Cleansing Wipes retail for $7.50 for a pack of 25 and are available in supermarkets, chemists and Priceline.

What is your tip for speed cleansing in the evenings? Do you use wipes or do you perform a full cleanse?

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. These wipes were purchased by myself with my own money.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Planet Eve Organics Certified Organic Facial Cleansing Oil

I have a bit of a thing for oil cleansers. Don't ask me why as they tend to be more effort to use than your standard foam cleanser. I guess I just like how thoroughly they cleanse yet are so gentle on the skin. Oil cleansers are fantastic for dissolving stubborn long wearing makeup making removal so much easier than with a standard cleanser. The Planet Eve Organics Certified Organic Facial Cleansing Oil is the first all natural cleansing oil that I have had the opportunity to review.

What they say: A deeply nourishing facial cleanser that gently and effectively removes dirt, grime and make up without the chemicals. Cleanses pore deep without drying out skin leaving skin soft and supple, ripe and ready for skin toning and effective moisturising. Anti-bacterial, antioxidant and vitamin rich. Helps balance sebum levels for oil prone skin and soften fine lines for dry and dehydrated skin. Once you experience our Facial Cleansing Oil you'll never go back to chemically based cleansers. Specially formulated with Soybean, vitamin rich Rosehip, Argan and Tamanu Oils, nurturing and anti-inflammatory Jasmine and Patchouli. Promotes healthy, blemish free skin. Suitable all skin types.

Ingregients: Soja Hispida (Soybean)*, Glyceryl Oleate, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil*, Tocopheryl Acetate, Argania spinosa (Argan) Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba)Seed Oil & Jasminum (Jasmin) Grandiflorum Flower Oil*, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil*, Tamanu Oil*. *Certified Organic

My review: I have used oil cleansers in the past but this one was unlike any of those. The oil cleansers that I used in the past weren't natural so when you mixed them with water they formed a bit of a milky emulsion - this one doesn't. Therefore, it takes a little getting used to in that it doesn't rinse easily with just a splash of water. But once you do get used to using it, you won't be disappointed.

I will start with a little tutorial on how I use it. I tend to use this cleanser when I have been wearing water proof makeup that is a bit resistant to an ordinary cleanser. Before applying the cleanser, I fill the basin with hot water and soak a face washer in the water. I apply a few pumps of the oil (3-4 - I like to use a very generous amount) to my hands then warm it between my fingers. I then massage it all over my face, including over my (shut) eyes and eyelids. I keep massaging for around 30 seconds to one minute. I then grab the hot face washer and start wiping off the oil cleanser. I usually start with my eyes so that I can open them and see what I am doing. I then keep wiping my face with the hot face washer (rinsing it between each wipe in hot water) until my face no longer feels greasy. If it feels like I haven't removed all of the oil cleanser, I will follow up with my normal foaming cleanser but most of the time I don't bother with this step as the oil cleanser is also moisturising and I don't want to strip the moisturiser away.

The cleanser has next to no scent. Whilst I like my scented products I actually prefer that it is scentless as it means I can use it all over my eyes without causing any sting or irritation. It really is so gentle. It never ever hurts my eye nor does it dry my skin out - just leaves it silky soft and beautifully cleansed.

The cleanser does an amazing job of removing makeup - even the waterproof long lasting makeup. I find that it removes just about every last trace of makeup with no more effort than massaging for a minute. Harsh scrubbing is not required. In addition to removing makeup, I also use this oil cleanser when my skin is suffering from breakouts or is overly greasy. I find that it helps to normalise my oil production and really aids in reducing the breakouts without stripping my skin.

The reason the cleanser is so moisturising and doesn't strip the skin is that it is jam packed full of oils that are great for the skin. These include soybean, rosehip, vitamin E and Jojoba (which I have written about in more detail in the past). These oils would make a beautiful serum for the skin which means that they make an incredibly nourishing and moisturising cleanser (which is in real contrast to your typical cleanser which is stripping and does not contain any beneficial ingredients).

I recommend this cleanser to anyone who is after a natural product that effectively removes makeup as the Planet Eve Organics Certified Organic Facial Cleansing Oil ticks both those boxes. I will definitely be purchasing this again.

The Planet Eve Organics Certified Organic Facial Cleansing Oil is $49 for 100ml and can be bought online.

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. This product was a prize from a competition on BeautyHeaven.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Winners announced of the Herbal Essences giveaway

Thanks to everyone who entered my amazing Herbal Essences giveaway. It has felt really good to be back blogging again and it really pleases me to see that I still have some loyal readers even though I neglected you all!!

There were some great hair stories there. Thank you all for going to the effort of telling them. If you haven't had a chance yet, have a read of the comments to see everyone's mishaps. I got a giggle out of a lot of them but some of them just made me want to cry for you.

The story that tickled my funny bone the most was by Kristine Simmonds for her creepy/funny story about her colleague ripping out a chunk of her hair while she was going through chemo. Congratulations Kristine, you are my first winner.

I used to pick my second winner and that lucky person is dorme. Congratulations!

I will email you both in the next 24 hours.

Now I have a question I would love your opinion on. I am in the works of putting together a largish giveaway in the coming weeks but I wanted to know what do people prefer - would you rather one big prize and winner takes all or break the prize up into three smaller prizes and there be first, second and third place? Thanks for your feedback and thanks once again everyone for entering.

Friday, 15 June 2012

A simple step to take when your moisturiser isn't moisturising enough

I have been trialling a moisturiser that promised to reduce pigmentation (review to come in a couple of weeks). The timing was perfect as I ended up with quite bad pigmentation due to my recent pregnancy. It really seemed to be working as my skin has been looking much more even in the last few weeks. There was one problem, however, and it was a big one. I did not find it moisturising enough. My skin was left feeling tight and this feeling was lasting throughout the day. So I was left with a dilemma - do I stick with a moisturiser that is treating my pigmentation but is not moisturising enough or do I ditch it for something more moisturising and leave my pigmentation as it is?

As I was quite impressed with the effect this moisturiser was having on my pigmentation, I decided to add a step to my routine to see if this helped the situation at all. You might recall that I wrote an article on why jojoba is so good for the skin. Jojoba is regarded as the oil that most closely resembles the skin's own natural oil - sebum. I decided to test whether applying Jojoba to my skin before the moisturiser would make the moisturiser feel more moisturising and leave my skin feeling less tight.

The Jojoba I used was from The Jojoba Company and is 100% natural Australian Jojoba. After cleansing I applied one pump to my hands then rubbed them together to warm the Jojoba. I then pat it into the skin on my face and left it to soak in for a couple of minutes whilst I brushed my teeth. I then applied the moisturiser I have been reviewing on top.

The application of this one simple step to my routine has completely changed how the moisturiser feels on my skin. The tightness has completely gone and it now feels really comfortable on. My skin is not left feeling or looking greasy at all. The Jojoba has a slightly unusual nutty scent however this vanishes within seconds after application and cannot be smelt at all once moisturiser has been applied on top.

The addition a simple 30 second step to my routine has meant that I am now able to continue using a moisturiser I most likely would have discontinued with. This is brilliant as it means that if you need your moisturiser to be a little heavier - such as in winter when the skin tends to become drier, this is an alternative to buying a new one. It also gives you the flexibility to continue using a moisturiser if your skin is going through a brief change such as if it got wind or sunburned. Rather than swapping to a different moisturiser you can continue using your current one but apply Jojoba beforehand.

100% natural Australian Jojoba is available from The Jojoba Company in 30ml ($19.95), 85ml ($29.95), 100ml ($29.95) and 300ml ($49.95) bottles. As one pump goes a long way a bottle is going to last you quite a while. This link will show you where to find a stockist near you.

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. This product was provided for consideration.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Remington Powerhouse Clipper: powerful enough to cut through steel wool

My husband has been blessed or cursed with a head full of the thickest hair you can imagine - think hair as thick as Ray Martin's with the consistency of steel wool! Right now it feels like his hair is a curse as he has to get it cut every four weeks to keep it looking respectable; however, I am sure that when he is 80 and he still has a full head of thick hair he will realise just what a blessing it is.

After years of haircuts every four weeks he finally cracked and said that we needed to get a pair of clippers so that I could cut his hair at home. He gave me very strict instructions on what I was to get - I wasn't to get any cheap, crappy clippers; he has tried them before and they don't work on his hair. They needed to be salon quality.  So we decided to take the Remington Powerhouse Clipper for a test drive to see whether they had what it takes to tame his wild locks!

Image courtesy of beautydirectory

What they say: For the man that wants total control over the stubble on his head – not just his face – Remington introduces the new Powerhouse Hair Clipper. With an all-new Pro Power Motor, it is Remington’s fastest and best performing clipper yet. Providing the power to cut significantly more hair with every stroke, it delivers outstanding performance on all hair types and textures. The blades are coated in titanium and are self-sharpening to provide superior cutting performance. Other features include three interchangeable comb attachments for adjustable lengths ranging from 1mm to 42mm and Micro USB charging technology add up to make this the home-groomer’s clipper of choice. The clipper can run for up to 40 minutes when fully charged.

What we thought: Our first test drive of the clippers was not a good one, and we may have ended up having a little marital tiff over them! We did not find the instructions that easy to follow; however, it may have been that we were approaching the process with an assumption that we already knew what we were doing. Hubby works in the corporate sector so he has to have a sensible haircut - he didn't want it too short. In the past he has gone for a number 3 so that is what he wanted with this cut. The comb attachments have numbers on the side for the different cutting lengths. I set it to 30 assuming this would be the equivalent to a number 3, but when I started clipping no hair was being cut. Hubby was getting annoyed with me and was telling me that I was doing it wrong (I may have responded with 'fine, do it yourself then' before calming down and having a second attempt). I eventually worked out that the numbers referred to the length in millimetres that the hair would be cut so I was attempting to cut his hair 3cm long, which was longer than it actually was. Once we had made this realisation I switched attachments and tried again, and immediately cut a bald patch into his hair. This initial hairdressing session was conducted on Christmas Eve - he had 2.5 weeks off work so figured if I messed it up it would have just about grown back by the time he had to go back to work - good move! I then experimented with different lengths until we came across the one that was most suitable - 18.

Comb attachments

Once we had worked out which attachment we set the clippers to, cutting was a breeze. It takes me about 10 minutes to do his whole head, and that is mostly because I am being a perfectionist. I will go over it about 3 times until I can no longer hear the buzz sound of hair being cut so that I know it is all even. I then remove the comb attachment and shave the hair at the nape of the neck with the blade so that it is even. This is my favourite part - it makes me feel like a real hairdresser!

One thing we have noticed is that the clippers perform better when plugged into a power point rather than running on battery. It may be that we hadn't fully charged them but they definitely buzz louder and cut easier when plugged into power than when running on battery.

The clippers are not too loud to use which is excellent as I usually conduct our hair dressing session in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed.
As well as hubby's hair, I also tried cutting The Crazy Kid's hair with these clippers but that was a fail. Just before his second birthday his hair was still very fine and, apart for one tuft on the top of his head, it really wasn't much more than peach fuzz. I know in some Asian cultures they shave their babies head to encourage thick hair to grow to grow back. I decided to adopt this philosophy for Crazy. I was too scared to use a razor on a wriggly 2 year old so though that these would be the perfect alternative. Unfortunately his hair was just to fine and kept sliding straight through the clippers - it was like attempting to cut animal hair. It might actually have been a blessing for Crazy that the clippers didn't work as I was planning on shaving a Christmas tree into the back of his head (I do tend to get rather festive)! Since this initial attempt his hair has thickened up. I attempted to clip it on one other occasion but unfortunately he now has a fear of loud noises. Although the clippers aren't particularly loud, the constant buzzing terrified Crazy so they have joined the list, along with vacuum cleaners, blenders and jackhammers, of appliances we can't use around him!

Since getting the clippers in December, I have cut hubby's hair each month and, apart from our early issues, we have not had any problems with them. Actually I lie, I have had a problem - I keep getting hair splinters when I cut his hair. I had a really tender foot and when I checked it I found a hair growing out of it. This scared the crap out of me as the skin on the sole of your foot cannot grow hair so I immediately thought the worst. When I googled it I came across 'hair splinters' - an affliction that commonly affects hairdressers. I pulled on the hair in my foot and it slid straight out - I had a damn hair splinter and not some scary disease! I got another one in my lip after the last session. But, other than hair splinters, we have no complaints at all about the clippers and would recommend them to anyone who wants to cut their own hair and requires salon quality equipment.

These clippers retail for $73.95. Considering my husband was paying $25 per haircut it makes them excellent value as they have paid for themselves after 3 months.

Do you cut your own, or your family member's hair at home?

Does anyone have a tip for avoiding hair splinters?!

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. These clippers were provided for consideration.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Fragrance Review: Flora by Gucci Glamorous Magnolia

My parents have recently returned from an epic 9 week trip overseas. Whenever anyone in my life goes overseas and leaves me behind, they are given a wish list of presents to bring me back. As my parents were going to Paris, naturally I asked for perfume. I was quite vague in my request - I just asked for a floral, preferably white flower and left it up to mum to choose. She came home with Flora by Gucci Glamorous Magnolia.

Flora by Gucci Glamorous Magnolia is one of five spin off fragrances of the original Flora by Gucci that make up the Gucci Flora Garden collection. According to Fragrantica, the Gucci Flora Garden collection includes five most important blossoms outlined on the legendary Gucci scarf designed by Vittorio Accornero for Princess Grace of Monaco.

 Legendary Gucci scarf designed by Vittorio Accornero for
Princess Grace of Monaco that the Fora Garden range is
inspired by (image from Gucci Facebook)

The five new editions are: Glorious Mandarin, Gracious Tuberose, Gorgeous Gardenia, Glamorous Magnolia and Generous Violet, which were launched in May 2012.

L to R: Gorgeous Gardenia, Gracious Tuberose, Glorious Mandarin,
Generous Violet, Glamorous Magnolia

Gorgeous Gardenia
  • top notes of red berries and pear
  • heart notes of gardenia and frangipani flower
  • base notes of patchouli and brown sugar accord
Gracious Tuberose
  • top notes of violet leaves and peach
  • heart notes of tuberose, orange flower and rose
  • base notes of rock rose and white cedarwood
Glorious Mandarin
  • top notes of mandarin and peony
  • middle notes of jasmine and pina colada accord
  • heart notes of ambergris, white musk and creamy wood
Generous Violet
  • top note of violet leaves
  • heart notes of orris and violet petals
  • base note of suede accord
Glamorous Magnolia
  • top notes of freesia, green leaves and citrus zest
  • heart notes of peony and magnolia
  • base notes of musk, sandalwood and warm chocolate accord

Before I commence my review of Flora by Gucci Glamorous Magnolia I have two confessions. Firstly, I have no idea what a Magnolia flower smells like. When reading up on other reviews of this fragrance there are mixed opinions as to whether this smells like Magnolia. Some state that there is no hint of Magnolia whilst others are saying that it smells just like their Magnolia tree in full bloom. If you are specifically after a Magnolia fragrance, you will need to sniff this one yourself. My review will be based on my opinion of the fragrance rather than it's likeness to Magnolia.

My second confession is that I have never smelt the original Flora by Gucci so I have no idea how similar or different this fragrance is from the original. So, again my review will be on this as a stand alone fragrance.

Description: Fragrance contains Freesia, Magnolia, Sandalwood (Warm Chocolate) and symbolises feminine beauty. Inhale the aroma to give and receive love.   

  • top notes of freesia, green leaves and citrus zest
  • heart notes of peony and magnolia
  • base notes of musk, sandalwood and warm chocolate accord

  • The notes I first detect after spraying this perfume are an orange citrus plus a creaminess. the creaminess fades quickly allowing the orange citrus to take over. The orange citrus is not sharp, like citrus can be. I think the underlying floral cuts through the potential harshness of citrus leaving a sweet juiciness instead. I cannot specifically detect freesia or green leaves in the top notes although there are definitely floral notes. My initial impressions of this fragrance is that it is a sweet fruity floral.

    As the top notes fade, on me after about 5-10 minutes, I am left with a generalised floral scent with a faint creaminess in the background. This is where the magnolia is meant to appear so perhaps that is the floral element I am smelling.

    After about 3 hours the floral middle notes have all but disappeared leaving the creamy base notes. I can detect musk, and the creaminess I attribute to the warm chocolate. It is not a distinct chocolatiness ie you don't finish up smelling like a chocolate bar. It is more of a sweet, warm creaminess.

    A few of the reviews I read of this fragrance described it as sugary sweet or sickly sweet. I don't know whether this was based on sniffing it off cardboard or from their wrists but I did not detect this at all. There was definitely some sweet fruity notes initially and the dry down had a creamy sweetness but on my skin it was not an overpowering or sickly sweetness.

    I found this to be a very wearable daytime fragrance. It does not make enough of a statement, nor was sophisticated enough to be an evening fragrance. It is a beautiful fragrance but not a particularly striking one - you will smell lovely wearing it but I don't see someone stopping you in the street to ask what you are wearing. I found it to be a light hearted fragrance. Flirty and fun. It is definitely more of a spring and summer fragrance; hence, why it was released in May in Europe. With the cold weather we are experiencing now, I find myself craving a heavier fragrance - still a floral as that is my thing, but a warm spicy floral.

    I have only been wearing this perfume on my wrists. With Kiki feeding so often I thought it would be cruel to spray perfume all over my chest, which doubles as her dinner plate! If I just put one spray on my wrist I find that it lasts a maximum of 3 hours on me. I can still faintly smell the dry down but others couldn't. Today I tried two sprays  and now, five hours on, the fragrance is still detectable though is fading. So, it has decent longevity when applied liberally - enough to just about get you through the work day.


    I have to to say that this is one of the more beautiful bottles in my (extensive!) perfume collection. To me, the hexagonal bottle with a clear glass lid looks really classy. It's almost a shame that I store my perfume in their original boxes in the cupboard - but as beautiful as the bottle is, it's not the reason I buy a fragrance so I am not going to risk destroying it in sunlight.

    The Gucci Flora Garden collection is available in 50 and 100ml EDT. Gardenia, Magnolia and Tuberose are available in Australia from David Jones - 50ml $109, 100ml - $161. I believe that Mandarin and Violet are only available from Gucci stores in 100ml bottles.

    Have you tried the original Flora or any of the Flora Garden collection? Which one is your favourite or which do you most want to try? I am now on a mission to sniff Generous Violet!

    What is your all time favourite floral perfume (I am always after a good recommendation) or if florals don't float your boat then what is your favourite fragrance?

     All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. This perfume was provided to me by lovely mother and possibly also my darling father, though perfume makes him sneeze so I am not sure how much imput he really had!