Sunday, 29 May 2016

SPOTLIGHT: BotanicES Natural Caffeine Skincare...

Back in November last year, my gorgeous blogger pal at A Bella Adventure gifted me with a sample pack of botanicES skin care  I was thrilled to say the least as she is my main source of natural and organic (and Aussie-made) product information, and if she loved this stuff, then I was bound to. Well that's sure how it turned out - I wrote a RAVE review, and I'm now using these refreshingly different and highly effective creams in my daily routine...
A couple of weeks ago, the lovelies at botanicES sent me this adorable travel pack - not only are the 15ml pump bottles the perfect size (and weight) for away-from-home adventures (actually the Eye Creme is full-size), the box is a "starter kit" for discovering how magical the formulations are, and beginning the journey to fresher and firmer looking skin. The whole range is based on CAFFEINE which is known to reduce puffiness, redness and the symptoms of dry skin, as well as having anti-cellulite properties. The Arabica beans are sourced locally from plantations in Byron Bay NSW, in fact every component of this range is developed and made Downunder - yay! According to their press release, their unique method of extracting the caffeine results in a product that has six times more efficacy than other caffeine formulations available in the market...
Clinical testing by the Institute for Personal Care Science showed improvements in skin hydration (up to 59%) within 3 hours and elasticity (up to 50%).
The bottles are sturdy and recyclable, and I love the fact that I can control the quantity of product that's dispensed by the pump, plus it's airless, which means that the contents are protected from contamination. Trust me, the eye creme is so concentrated and has so much "slip" you only need a half a pea-sized amount. The 5ml sample lasted me just over two months, so I'm expecting this full-size to keep me going for at least six ..

I listed all the individual ingredients in my previous post, but didn't include what's NOT in this range - just as important (if not more so), so here we go...


The Face Creme is an infinite pleasure to use - I can't get enough of the natural smelling fragrance, the consistency is light and effortless to apply, absorption is lickety split, and not only does my skin feel beautifully hydrated and toned, I feel as energised as my face. The whole moisturising experience is a pick-me-up, and that has me grinning from ear to ear ...

As for the Body Creme, I'm hopelessly time poor on weekdays, but with the inevitably drying cold season fast approaching, I'm making a supreme effort to apply this delish cream whenever and wherever possible - it's already made a huge difference to the suppleness and softness of the skin on my legs (see ya later flaky bits) and another major benefit is it sinks in in seconds, so there's no delay getting dressed...
I've already taken advantage of the free shipping for orders over $50, and bought the Face & Eye Care Package, but I'm kicking myself for not choosing the Full Skin Care Package, which includes their hand creme. I'm positively BUSTING to try this next, although at present it's not available as a single item - hope that changes soon ...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE everything about this range, and if you've been following me for a while, you'll be aware of how fickle I am with skincare. Sure I'm bound to keep trying other products (hey it's my duty as a blogger right?), but this is now officially the staple set in my kit. My face and bod thank you again A Bella Adventure for introducing me to these beautiful products, and I so appreciate Team botanicES sending me this cute-as pack of natural goodness to review ...

Take care of you,
kats xxx

P.S. If you haven't checked out Ingrid's Monday Makeup Madness Link Up Party, you're missing some brilliant blog posts - starts 6:30am tomorrow 

Saturday, 28 May 2016

EOTD: Too Faced Chocolate Bars...

Well now, here's a post I thought was highly unlikely to ever appear on my blog - four eye looks by me using what I call "neutral" palettes! I'm a colour maniac, and have barely looked twice at shadows in the brown/taupe/beige spectrum, WAY too dull and boring for this rainbow gal, or so I thought... But Too Faced has changed all that, and I've fallen truly, madly deeply in love with their Chocolate Bar & Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar collections. Better late than never lol ...


Having said that I'm not a fan of the fact that these palettes are scented - I prefer my chocolate in a wrapper and edible, but I've overcome that little bugbear purely because these pigments are such utterly stunning hues, and the texture is so buttery and smooth. For this look I used the Semi-Sweet palette - matte Cocoa Chili (why does it only have one "l"?) over the whole eyelid and underneath, and then blended the fabulous Caramel from the inner corner. My base was Eye of Horus Bronze Amulet Goddess Pencil, and I used that on the waterline too...


Foundation was Mirenesse Velvet Maxi Lift Supreme, cheeks were DB Cosmetics Lip & Cheek Rouge in the shade Irresistible dusted with Hourglass Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light, lips were Milani Candied Toffees...

Most of these accessories came from Lovisa - powerless to resist, I am drawn to their store like a moth to a flame 



And here we have Truffled & Peanut Butter (inner third) also from the Semi-Sweet set over Eye of Horus Bronze Amulet Goddess Pencil (+ waterline). But what's wrong with this picture? Undoubtedly my WORST EVER mascara application! Note to self - it is far better to get the later train than to rush the finishing touches ..

These colours go so magnificently with my new hair shade 


Same foundation and Hourglass bronzer, but I added the peachy Cheek colour from the BYS Sweet Contour palette, and lips were L'Oreal Color Riche Cristal Cappuccino...


More Lovisa loves, plus a twisted gold & pearl bracelet I picked up for a steal almost 20 years ago at Vinnies...



And this is Salted Caramel from the Chocolate Bar palette over Bronze Amulet Goddess Pencil (again!), waterline was Max Factor Charcoal Grey Kohl Pencil...


First try of DB Cosmetics Flawless All In 1 Foundation stick - True Beige is an astoundingly good colour match for me, coverage is excellent, and I love the creamy formula - only cooler weather wear though as it has a tendency to develop shine on my oily-T. Cheeks were Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick in Coral Sheen, and I added some Lacura Beach Babe Mineral Bronzer. Lips were Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in Snapdragon...

Huge peach pearl shell statement necklace from Lovisa, rose gold earrings were a gift from my beautiful friend Amy from Health and Beauty Girl, and the bracelet was a pressie from my Mama who also knows what I love  ..



I created look #4 using the Chocolate Bar palette - Triple Fudge, Milk Chocolate and Creme Brulee over EOH Bronze Amulet Goddess pencil base (same on the waterline)...


It's SO easy to blend these shadows - effortless in fact. I often struggle to get a seamless transition, but it's a snap with these pigments...


Looking a bit pasty here - lippie was too pale I reckon. Foundation was Rimmel Stay Matte, cheeks were Hourglass Bronzer, and lips were Maybelline Color Sensational Honey Beige - I should put this away till Summer when I have an itty bitty tan...


And of course the jewelley - went through my box of 30 year old retro stuff and was delighted to find the "humbug lolly" striped ring that matched my top so well...


Both of these amazing palettes were gifted to me by a gorgeous and ever so generous friend - you know who you are sweetheart, and I can't thank you enough for converting me to these delicious muted tones that flatter my colouring like no other 

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Monday, 23 May 2016

EOTM: "Your Favourite April EOTD" Giveaway...

Giveaway time again and an extra special one. I bought both of these items to swap with another blogger, but the exchange never eventuated, so rather than having them languishing in my stash cupboard, I was hoping to find a good home for them - can you help me out here lovelies?
Up for grabs are:
  • Morphe 35C Multi Colour Palette - 35 stunning matte shades that are sure to brighten up your Winter days!
  • Real Techniques 5 Piece Brush Starter Set - everything you need for precision application
Both are boxed, and were purchased by me from Makeupnet & iHerb respectively - the palette wasn't sealed, and I opened it to take the photo.  The pigments are divine, bold but not too bright - I would have kept it but I ordered the 35B for myself (although I STILL can't bring myself to touch it lol) 

Because of the size and fragile nature of the palette, this giveaway is open to Australian Residents Only.

To enter you must nominate which of the April EOTD's is your favourite from the four pictured below, let me know in the comments section why you like it the most, then follow the Rafflecopter entry instructions below. Please note: if you don't leave a comment on this page, you will NOT be included in the draw...


When you enter, please make sure you read the Terms and Conditions inside. Leaving a comment on this page, providing your email address inside the Rafflecopter, AND following my blog one way or another from the many choices listed, are MANDATORY for entry.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This giveaway is now closed


Woo hoo! - random.org has chosen the beautiful Kristine S. as the winner.  
Congratulations gorgeous! 
Kristine please respond to the email I've sent you by 
Wednesday 8th June to claim your prize :-)
Edit: Kristine has claimed her prize 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Best of luck to all who enter!

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Sunday, 22 May 2016

SPOTLIGHT: Marie Claire Ageless Parcel #4...

Another fabulous collection of top name brands, and for my particular needs, this Marie Claire Ageless Parcel is the best one so far. I'm excited about every one of these products, and can't wait to put them to the test, so without further ado...

Skin Therapy Dragon's Blood Sculpting Serum - full size, 30ml ($30)
This was a bonus as it just so happens to be the serum I'm using at the moment! I'm almost out (it will be in my May Empties post) so the timing couldn't have been more perfect. LOVE this serum, and for $30 at the supermarket, I reckon I'll be continuing on with it for some time. I'm experiencing every ageing issue that's in the book, so it's a challenge to find a serum that will cover all bases, but the contents of this silver pump bottle seem to be addressing most of my concerns, in particular my saggy baggy jawline and turkey neck. I've seen some improvement in both these areas, and overall my face looks and feels fresher and firmer since I've been using it. Has a very very faint "natural" fragrance, and absorbs in about 15 seconds. It's made in New Zealand, and there's no parabens or animal testing. Winner! 

Alpha-H Balancing Moisturiser & Gentle Exfoliant - 30ml sample ($37.20)
A very interesting product from those clever folk at Alpha-H - according to the blurb, "the glycolic acid exfoliates and brightens skin, while the hyaluronic acid locks in moisture for continuous hydration". Can't say I've heard of an exfoliating moisturiser before (whoa!), but I'm keen to give it a shot. Contains alpha-hydroxy acid, so you have to apply something with at least SPF 15 over the top...

Bioderma Hydrabio Light Cream & Micellar Water for sensitive skin - 15ml sample ($14.63) & 20ml sample ($2.56)
Always delighted to try anything from Bioderma, and this moisturiser is no exception. The enclosed leaflet says it's for dry, tight and dull skin - my cheeks have a tendency to become drier and a bit flaky once Winter sets in, and dullness is always looming on the horizon, so thank you MC - I'll most definitely enjoy this sample. And isn't that cutest little container of micellar water you've ever seen? Also perfect timing as I've been exploring all the different types on the market - this one is specifically for sensitive, dehydrated skin. No room on the bubba-sized bottle for a list of ingredients, but I'll let you know how it goes ...

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Antixidant Infusion Essence - 10ml sample ($9.28)
Just the mention of Prevage gets my attention  I've used some of this range before and adored it, but didn't continue on because of the price tag. This seems to be the EA version of the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, which incidentally did zilch for my skin (review here) so I'm mad keen to try my luck with this formulation. Some gals won't be happy to see alcohol and alcohol denat near the top of the list of ingredients, and sodium laureth sulfate near the bottom, but given I haven't had a reaction to any of these in the past, I'll press on regardless...

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream, shade medium - 12ml sample ($21.75)
Ok so this is the one item I'm truly BUSTING to try  "7 products in one" is what it says on the side of the box - a full coverage foundation, a shield against environmental free-radicals, a brightening colour corrector, an anti-aging serum, a pore minimizing primer, a dark spot corrector, and a moisturising day cream. Phwoarrr! On top of all that, it contains SPF 50+, and it's in the shade medium, which is just the ticket for me  Blimey if this lives up to even half of the hype, it will become a staple in my kit, giant size please! It's a bit hard to read in the photo, but those percentages you can see on the bottom right of the packaging are "clinically proven" hydration increase in 10 days (179%), softer smoother skin (96%), reduction in wrinkles (85%) and smaller pores (77%). So far I've only applied it to the back of my hand, but the coverage, colour and finish is fantastic - has a slight lemony fragrance, and the second listed ingredient is...wait for it...snail secretion filtrate! Well I don't care a fig so long as it works ha ha. Am I wearing this tomorrow? You betcha 

Time for the maths - I've worked out the total value of the contents to be $115.42, and that's for a $25 outlay. I'm not sure if I have to renew my subscription or if it's automatic, but I can assure you I'm not stopping any time soon, and I can't wait to see what's in the next box 

Take care of you,
kats xxx

P.S. You'll find this post and some fabulous blog reads over at Ingrid's Monday Makeup Madness Link Up Party tomorrow morning at 6:30 

Saturday, 21 May 2016

EOTD: Lime Crime Venus Reds...

Let's talk about red eyeshadow - not every gal's cup of tea, but it's not as scary as you think, and with careful placement and the right shade, it can be stunning. On the other hand, get either of those wrong, and you can end up looking like you've been howling all night and folks will ask "are you ok?". Trust me, I know - I've played with it for several years now, and precision is the key...


Not many companies do red pigments, but the Lime Crime Venus palette is a great place to start. They're not true reds, more like "reddish" than fire engine red, but there's a beaut mix of mattes and subtle shimmers...


I've only experimented with two so far - Venus & Muse. The formula is silky soft, they blend dreamily and the pigmentation is bold and sassy...


For this look I used Muse - a gorgeous deep claret, but I softened it by using Eye of Horus Bronze Amulet Goddess Pencil as a base, and brushed a wee bit of MBA Cosmetics Silk FX Pressed Shadow in Sangria over the top. This gave it a slight shimmer and made it not quite so intense. When wearing red eyeshadow, and especially at my age, it sure helps if you line your waterline with anything other than a light shade - I find that the pigment can travel, and if you use white or cream (or nothing) on the waterline, you can end up with a pinky rim, which then makes you look like you haven't slept lol. Here I used Eye of Horus Emerald Tabula Goddess Pencil as a contrast, and to bring out the green in my eyes...


My foundation was Australis Stayput - loving this already, it sits and lasts beautifully, and the colour is a great match for my skin tone. Cheeks were Laura Geller Blush-N-Brighten in the shade Berry, and lips were Maybelline ColorDrama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in Berry Much, one of my all-time faves...


And here's the jewellery I wore - the cream fabric is my puffer vest, and the dark red is my jeggings. For what it's worth, when I put outfits together, I try to match the textures as well as the colours 



And here's Venus, also over the top of Eye of Horus Bronze Amulet Goddess pencil. I deepened the outer corner with MUA Midnight, and Eye of Horus Scarab Sapphire was my choice for the waterline...


When creating both of these looks, I cleaned up the hooded area with a cotton bud coated in concealer, and then patted on Australis Banana Powder to counteract any hint of pink - it works really well 






Again this is the Australis Stayput Foundation, cheeks were ModelCo Blush in Peach Bellini, and lips were David Jones Moisture Cream Lipstick in Terracotta...


My accessories featured another of the fantabulous bead necklaces from Lovisa - these are normally around the $30 mark, but they recently had a sale and I picked up several for half price or less 


So how do you feel about red eyeshadow - is it part of  your repertoire, or do you give it a miss?

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

REVIEW: Britney Spears Hidden Fantasy EDP...

Well by now I think it's blatantly obvious that I have a penchant for Britney Spears fragrances! There's something about them that makes my nose smile, and I can't help but be attracted to the packaging of the Fantasy series - how pretty they look on my shelf with their Swarovski crystals twinkling in the light. So here's my latest acquisition and the fourth in my collection - Hidden Fantasy...

This is another one (like Circus Fantasy) that's a mix of semi-sweet and sour, but it also has a potent spicy kick which no doubt comes from the inclusion of cloves. Initial hit is baked citrus - a blend of orange, tangerine and lemon verbena. After a few minutes, my schnozz picks up a subtle hint of jasmine and vanilla, shortly followed by the emergence of a decidedly woody character (Jacaranda woods?). The base is amber and sandalwood, but I can't smell those till about half an hour later when the cloves take a couple of steps back...
With an overall spiced orange character with musky undertones, this definitely conjures up Christmas to me, and the red bottle seals the deal. But for us Aussies, more like Christmas-in-July - think rugged up in front of an open fire, a glass of mulled wine and nibbling on some orange poppy seed cake. Perfect for Autumn/Winter, I doubt I'll wear this in the warmer weather when I prefer something fresher and sweeter, and with more petal power. Lasts well - around 3-4 hours as far as immediate surrounding environment penetration goes, but I can still smell it on my skin the next morning ...

Absolutely love it - very different from anything else in my collection. Out of all the Britney fragrances in my kit, this is the most "mature". Delighted to have a very specific winter scent to get me through the cold months. Hidden Fantasy is described as a floral fruity gourmand fragrance, but I'm inclined to classify it as a woody oriental with benefits lol. It certainly has an upfront masculine quality about it, in fact it's almost unisex, but the heart is all gal ...

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Monday, 16 May 2016

SPOTLIGHT: Micellar Magic Part 4...

Well here we are at the end of the series - well it's not quite the end 'cos I'm having way too much fun, and besides, I've found a couple more micellar waters to try! So I suspect there will be a continuation of this theme , but for now, I'll wrap up this particular set (let's call it "Season 1") with the last two as promised, as well as the mother of all micellar waters, Bioderma...


L'Oreal Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water 200ml (RRP $12.95)
So this was the second one I tried after the pink Garnier, and it's a beauty - no alcohol, hypoallergenic and fragrance free. I don't know which of the ingredients listed below is the toner component, but it does offer a little something extra over the others as far as texture refining is concerned. Not the least bit drying, good slip factor, and I find this quite soothing and smoothing. I used to use the L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Toning Lotion, but this does the job just as well, despite feeling gentler. I prefer this rectangular bottle shape as it takes up far less room on my bench than the fat round ones. Overall I really like this version - will repurchase once I've finished the contents, and alternate it with my #1 fave (to be revealed below) ...


true micellar water make up remover 125ml (RRP $4)
This is one of the new cheap-and-cheerful range from Coles - just about everything is $4, so I figured it was well worth a place in my experiment. While it is a relatively small quantity, the baby sized (yet sturdy) bottle is super handy for weekends away, and the cap unscrews so you can refill it with another brand if you prefer, or anything else for that matter. No alcohol content, not tested on animals and Australian made, so there's three bonuses already. Like some of the others, it sort of foams if you rub the cotton pad on the skin, and while it's fragrance-free, it does have a faint scent when it hits the makeup remover pad. Although non drying, it's not my fave, but I'll buy this again just to have a few of the empty containers in my drawer 


Bioderma Sensibio H20 Make-up removing micelle solution 250ml (RRP 100 ml - $20.99, 250ml - $31.99, 500ml - $42.99)
So here's the darling that started it all. It's made in France, and consequently, has an ooh-la-la price tag, but you get what you pay for - a 100% irritant-free, fragrance-free dermalogically and opthalmologically tested formula that whisks away makeup and grime in seconds. Ever so slight foaming characteristics (actually more slip than foam) and again, it has a faint what I call "towel left on the clothesline" scent once it comes in contact with the cotton pad. BUT it does leave my skin feeling the silkiest and softest of all the ones I've tried. I've found that all micellar waters have a cooling effect, but this one even more so - possibly the cucumber extract content, and I would go for this big time in the hot weather for an extra refreshment boost. Like the Sukin one, I really appreciate that it has an expiry date on the back of the bottle. Nice one Bioderma 


Ok before I reveal my numero uno, I thought I'd do one last test - as mentioned in Part 1, I use micellar water as my second cleanser, and instead of a toner. But there are many of you who might choose to use this magical elixir as your one and only cleanser. So in the (sucky - boo!) swatch piccie below, I've drawn on a stripe of Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Liner, and let it set for a few minutes before swatching with each of the products - one single same-pressure swipe with a soaked cotton bud paddle, so you can see how effective they all are...



So now for the big reveal - valuewise, and for my particular purposes, Garnier Sensitive gets my vote, and it's the one I'll continue to purchase over and over again, well at least until I find something better. BUT if I ever decide to ditch my traditional cleansers and use ONLY a micellar water, I would go for the original but pricey Bioderma Sensibio 

Till Series 2...

Take care of you,
kats xxx