Oct 31, 2017

Real Techniques' Miracle Sponges. Miracle By Name....

Ready or not, it looks like the party season has officially begun.

The weather's been amazing, the Christmas decorations are up at Westfields around the country, all my weekends until the new year are pretty much accounted for and I've just discovered a makeup tool so life changing I'm amazed I've survived this long without it.  

Remember way back at the beginning of the month when I was in a bit of a state about trying to apply my special occasion (read full coverage, miracle-working) foundation with a blending brush?

Well, Instagram acknowledged my distress and suggested I try a makeup blending sponge next time.   As luck would have it, Priceline recently had a 30% off promotion on the Real Techniques range which has sadly ended but I've linked anyway in case you needed anything.

You're welcome.

Anyway, the first sponge I used from the range was the Miracle Complexion Sponge ($16.99 AUD full price) which has two ends with quite different uses.  These are so not the rubbery squares that you get free with makeup compacts or those solid and somewhat awkward triangles you buy in bulk and pull apart as needed.

The larger, flat surface is great for covering areas such as the cheeks, under the eyes,  across the forehead and around the jaw bone

while the pointy end works well around the nose and in the inner eye area.

The sponge is really comfortable to hold and hence control.  It's firm, latex texture smooths out liquid products much more easily than a brush.  Goodbye and good riddance, visible brush marks across my face!   Hello, softly blended makeup.  Just in time for the party season.

 I've been applying things to my face and then blending out with these sponges.  I'm not sure, though, if you're actually meant to apply product to the sponges directly and then to your face.  Need to watch some YouTube tutorials to confirm this, I think.

To store, you can get special sponge holders with some of the Real Techniques range but I've been using a spare skincare lid.  I've been cleaning mine with a few sprays of Mecca's brush cleaner.  The sponges are meant to last 1 - 3 months depending on frequency of use and because I loved my first sponge so much, I took advantage of the Priceline promotion and went back for this value set.

The Miracle Sponge 6 Pack currently retails for $55 AUD full price and you get quite a nice selection of product.

The little purple sponges are great for applying primer and base to your eyelids.  As well as blending out shadow if you're a bit of dunce at the smoky eye or contoured lid or anything involving more than one eyeshadow look.

In other kinda beauty blogger news, I've got some feedback on the Mecca Lit From Within illuminating drops ($45 AUD)  I got in my Beauty Loop box.  Just how I got to Level 3 is a bit of a worry.... but let's not go there today.  Plus I got to use my Body Shop green tea mask sample on the weekend.

Sad to say but the Mecca drops weren't all that for me.  I didn't really notice any change in the finish of my foundation with the drops mixed in.  All I got was a one shade lighter in the face than my neck effect, sadly.  Fortunately, because it was being worn to a girls night out dinner, the contrast wasn't as obvious in the restaurant as it was in my bathroom mirror.  People have been using this as a highlighter over foundation so perhaps I'll see if it works this way for me.

I was all excited about The Body Shop's Japanese Matcha Tea mask ($35 AUD)  but again, sadly, not much happened for me.  It has to be said at this point, I'm not really a mask kind of girl.  I don't have the patience to apply them and I much prefer using daily serums that you just pop under moisturizer and sunscreen before getting on with the rest of your day or night.

Back to the mask. It's slightly exfoliating with granules in it and is also meant to purify your skin as well.  I found it quite drying and the granules really didn't do much to smoothe the texture of my skin.  While I love body care from The Body Shop, I do find that facial skin care from the brand does tend to make my face sting.  

Is your phone calendar looking awfully full for the rest of year already?

Any exciting beauty finds to share?

Oct 30, 2017

Life This Week 30/10/2017: Travel Tales.

The phrase 'travel tales' conjures up images of exotic locations accessed by plane, train or sea.  It implies a long journey rewarded with long dreamed of experiences quite foreign to your everyday life back home.  Travel tales are the memories you hold on to you as you return home with cases to unpack, the same old same old to resume and possibly a few credit card statements to give you that final jolt into reality.  All of this is true but the tale I have for you today relate to a place closer to home via a motorway I will probably always consider my arch nemesis no matter how long I live here in Sydney.

It might only have been a 9.4 km drive but my preparation to get to Alexandria via the Eastern Distributor was as intense as if I had been planning a month-long backpacking and cycling tour of Vietnam (something that's on my bucket list only I'm not sure when I'll ever find the time to make it happen, I suspect I shall have to just make the time...).

Insert dream sequence here.  Images of myself cycling casually yet earnestly as I take in the beauty around me.  Evenings spent recording the day's events by hand in a battered Moleskine.  Old and new favourite Vietnamese dishes being savoured in between, their recipes coming home with me and being lovingly recreated in the kitchen of SSG Manor 2.0.  Me then deciding to use my long service leave to cycling more of the world's most beautiful cities.  Except for London and New York.  I'm not that misty eyed and romantic....

The times I have to drive the Eastern Distributor are few and far between but absence definitely does not make the heart grow fonder.  The merge points are so short, the exit points always come at me at such short notice (despite the voice over lady's authoritative instructions on my car's GPS) and it's so confusing have something called a distributor buried in the middle of another street.

Luck was on my side this time, though.  With a print out of my route next to me to consult as I drove and clear skies under which to read the street signs, I got to my destination with plenty of time to spare.

I was in Alexandria to get my car serviced and with all the effort (and nerves) that it took to get there, I decided to stay and wait for my car.  With wifi, snacks and power points aplenty, I sat myself down to get all things done.  And to regroup for the drive home.

Is there a stretch of road where you live that you absolutely loathe driving?

Do you make a mountain out of a molehill every time you need to do so?

Have you been on a cycling tour of Vietnam?

Oct 29, 2017

Springsummer Begins.

And on the seventh day,  I rose and decided I had to get out there and watch the sun rise over this glorious city.

Preferably while running.

The skies may have begun the day looking grey and cloudy

but the sun eventually won.

 It was also the kind of day for making things like double shot skinny caps a thing

as a solution to something called 'WINE' happening the night before.

Sunday has basically been one of those days where I didn't really have to look that hard to find the joy.  It's been the official, perfect start to my favourite time of the year in Sydney - springsummer.

Perhaps it was the weather that made everything seem easy.  Or perhaps it was the fact that we're only days from November and hence the downhill run to that festive season filter that gives everything within its days a golden glow.  Either or both, who knows?  I'm just glad I'm here basking in it all for another year.

Our elevator ride up to swimming this morning featured an impromptu stop on a level of the club that's been transformed into the kind of lawn I'd happily spend a summer's afternoon lazing around on.

I went a little off the shoulder in some broderie anglaise courtesy of my local Kmart for lunch at Centennial Park with a dear friend and her precious eight month old.

The Homestead was suitably glam with its mix of Scandi, hipster and croquet chic going on.

Outside the airy and light filled dining room was a large verandah and beyond that a lawn set up for drinks, chess and general running around with your arms flung wide (if you were Preschooler SSG).

I had a So Sydney moment as I ate a cauliflower steak and sipped an Aperol Spritz.

While Preschooler SSG tucked into some fish and chips.

The Festival of Springsummer continued after lunch with ice cream and fizzy drink.

This was Preschooler SSG's first Golden Gaytime and while they look half the size they were compared to the ice creams of my youth... thirty something something years ago... they apparently taste just as good.  He gave it two thumbs up which was more a technically correct thumbs up done twice with his free hand.

How was your Sunday in your part of the world?  I must say it was looking especially amazing throughout Sydney judging from social media.

Be well and may your week ahead be as golden as the weather.

Oct 27, 2017

Friday Drinks #17: Summer Ready. Summer Reads.

SSG Manor 2.0 is officially ready for summer.

While I personally am years to never away from being beach body ready,.. our freezer is now stocked with a mix of both Zooper Doopers and marginally better for you Berri Quelches.

I do, however, have the makings of 'beach face' thanks to this generous Beauty Loop gift from Mecca Cosmetica.  Inside the hot pink box were 2 full sized products from the Mecca house label - a peach lip balm with SPF 25 and a bottle of illuminating drops which you can mix into your favourite foundation or tinted moisturizer.  I'm planning on using both this weekend as I flit from one social engagement to the next.  I'm not joking, for once, I actually do have a couple of glamorous get togethers scheduled in between my usual mum life engagements.  Watch this space.

Preschooler SSG is all set for the Melbourne Cup.  This is a hat he made at preschool this week and he got lots of compliments on it while were doing the shopping the other night.  My favourite design elements are the generous sweeps of glitter and the tail he added that looks great either flowing down his back or pulled to one side of his face.  There's a blue bottle top on the hat somewhere too because upcycled embellishments are everything this season.  I love it all.  But then again, I am biased.

In the spirit of living life to the full by trying new things, I ordered a long black for my hump day coffee.  I do believe it's the first time I've ever ordered one and it won't be the last.  They seem to deliver that espresso hit more cleanly than my chocolate and froth laden skinny caps.  The only thing is that I need both a dash of cold milk and heaped teaspoon of sugar with my long black to make it my drink.  I wonder how I would order that?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

As we head into summer and the thought of that Christmas / New Year break ... I have a new favourite author to share.  Shari Low hails from Glasgow and she writes the most addictive modern day comic romances with a side of chick lit for the thinking woman (I completely made that genre up) under her own name as well as novels in other genres under pseudonyms.  I've been working through Shari's entire back catalogue and have loved each novel.

'A Life Without You' is the story of Jen as she struggles to get her life back on track after first losing her best friend Deb in a car accident and then the collapse of her own long-term relationship with her partner.  In the hazy weeks that follow these events, Jen rebuilds her life in stuttering steps thanks to the love and support of Deb's family who adopted Jen when her own mother died.  Jen discovers Dee's secret life, she and Deb's husband Joe build a friendship and we also learn about how Deb's mother Val is struggling with her desire to avenge the death of her daughter by stalking the mother of her murderer.  There are so many disparate themes in this novel but Low weaves them all together in a warm, funny and suspenseful read.

Can you believe it's going to be November next week?  I'll just leave that with you.

Be well.

Oct 26, 2017

Lovin' Life 26/10/2017: The Lego Jar.

Today's post is in praise of my (clean) Marmite jar full of spare Lego pieces and several of the orange brick removal tools that you get with the dollars sets.  Which reminds me, I need to sit down and plan my order for this Christmas' Festival of the Brick.  The fluid routine of the Christmas / New Year Break, its fabulous weather and food and that unusual stillness of the world around me all add up to perfect Lego building conditions for me and I intend to do it on a grand scale again this year.

The Lego jar is not only useful for finding 'make do' pieces for the ones that Preschooler SSG lost from the current set we're building when he decided to open the bags over spare craft paper and a tin of pencils and stickers it's also full of memories of the various sets we've built together.  Khaki green smooth tiles from the French restaurant, clear flat tiles from the Louvre, flowers and wreaths from a Christmas set... I'll always remember fondly those holiday break days we spend each year building things together.

Are your family Lego builders?  Do you have a Lego jar?  Has yours saved you from seriously injuring yourself by holding stray pieces that would otherwise be on the floor waiting to cause you pain?

Oct 24, 2017

Tuesday's Miscellanea.

You know when the highlight of your Sunday morning involves you sitting in your car trying to work out a back street route to school based not on the advice of Google Maps but rather on the wonky line of your yellow highlighter?  

You don't? 

Well, allow me to elaborate.

The streets to Preschooler SSG's school were strangely empty as I attempted to make the route I had planned happen.  It didn't end well.  What I thought were tiny unnamed streets on my map were actually pockets of land between houses which, sadly, are yet to be converted to roads for my personal convenience.  Don't you hate that?

Long (and possibly pointless) story short, I finally worked out a route from home to school that I've committed to memory on the strength of the route involving a very distinctive roundabout as a reference point.

My next challenge is to convince myself that there is enough room on this narrow side street for an entire junior school's worth of boys to be safely dropped off at and picked up from on a daily basis.  I'm getting palpitations just thinking about it. I think I might be safest following Faux Fuchsia's sage advice and park a few streets away before briskly walking to Kindergarten.  Looking forward to all that incidental cardio I'll  be getting next year.  I just have to remember to include a hill or two in my route.

I wore my dayglo blue trainers to the gym this morning.  Nothing much more to say about this except that the Vomeros are a lovely (for want of a better, more 'fitness' word) shoe to run in.  Lots of support with a firm hold both of your feet and between the shoe and the treadmill.

In other exciting news, I managed to get myself to the car repair place via The Eastern Distributor (To Hell... my parentheses) and get both a major service done and my vehicle safety inspection checked off for next year's registration.  Plus while I waited, I did such things as catch up with work reading, finish reading my current novel and muck around on social media.  Productive morning.

Not much to report from work except that I had enough time yesterday to label my personal bottle of lemon juice (the one I took 20 minutes to find at Woolies the other day) for the work fridge.  We have this rule that anything that isn't labeled and in the fridge on a Friday gets binned by our cleaner.  It's working a treat and we have one of the cleanest fridges on level six.

I'm slightly devastated that my local Woolies has run out of their own brand of barley sugars.  It's an unusual thing to be running out of if you ask me.  I wonder if someone's on a tight budget for Halloween candy this year?  Or perhaps barley sugars are having a superfood moment.

New in the shower caddy is a cleanser from London cosmeceutical brand, 111Skin available at Mecca online and instore.  At $83 (!?!?!!? what was I thinking... actually I probably wasn't at all) it's one of the cheapest things in the range, face creams being in the region of a thousand dollars (!!) upwards.  There are so many things to love - the word cryo in its name, the fact that it's a cleanser and toner in one, it's elegant scent....  I'm enjoying it so far but it's too early to tell if it is 300% more efficacious than your standard $30 cleanser.

My last bit of news for today isn't just that Aldi Eastgate has plentiful stock of these French pastries (they make an excellent preschooler breakfast if microwaved for 8 seconds precisely by the way) but also what I discovered just a few steps from the store on the upper level of Eastgate Shopping Centre....

via google images
A threading kiosk!!!!  

Access to a threading place has been my one frustration since I moved over here.  It appears that the folks around here don't seem to love threading as much as they do where I used to live.  You can get everything else done to your brows on the east side but get them threaded at your local shopping centre.  Anyway.  Elegance Brows are your people if you're a blow in like me who loves getting their brows threaded while you're at the shopping centre in search of things at Aldi.

Oct 23, 2017

Life This Week 23/10/2017: With $1000 I Would....

via Google Images
There are many noble causes that I could pledge that $1000 to.  The money could also go into a rainy day fund for the bills that all seem to come at once at this time of the year.  I could put it towards the mortgage.

But I'm not.

I would use that money to have a laundry and housekeeping service visit the bedrooms of my nearest and dearest to strip their beds, launder the sheets and then remake the beds.  Perfect corners on the sheets, plumped up pillows, doonas that fill their covers evenly and that glorious smell of bed linen that's been line dried on a hot and sunny day.  Wouldn't it be bliss to return home to all that on a Monday night?  Especially when the person who did it all was that fairy godmother named Someone Else?

What would you do with $1000?


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