I was reluctant to write this post (lord knows why ; ) ), but then remembered: this blog is about life and being human - and being human includes our obsessions. So here goes...

My beauty code

I use up shite products before the 'special' ones because I hate waste. Or rather, I have OCD when it comes to waste (that's not a joke - my sub-shrink confirms it) and shelf-lives aren't that long. I seriously need to stop doing this. I must start using the stuff I love because I have it and it's there to use!

I cut open sample sachets (yep, even those) when they're 'finished', just to paste the open pack over my face (what a weirdo) so nothing is wasted.

Any cute container I receive will be kept for life (or until it literally falls apart/can't be cleaned any longer). I need to use my other half as the 'independent umpire' here. I still argue with him of course, but anyhoo...

Those travel-sized containers are great to squirt my full-size primer into so they can be stored in the heat of bathroom (Mr Mex, Mexican hubbo - like Dubbo?! has showers that are hot and long enough to skin chickens - that's what his mum says anyway...).

Those primers can be 'enhanced' with old, pale eye-shadows to make an illuminating primer (scrape off an amount that looks about right, stir it in and you're good to go).

I don't open 'special' purchases straight away. I save them for a day when I feel buggeristic (yeah ok, that's not a word - but I'm quite sure that someone told me 'writers are allowed to make words up'?! Fark where's an interrobang when you need one). Of course, I don't leave them there for more than 6.24 months... Seriously, I have like a timer going on Mr Lappy... Ahem. My computer.

My husband is forced to follow my code. I get grumpy if he has eg body creams that have been open and sitting on the bathroom shelf for 'far too long'. If they've been there for ages, I use them too so they get finished. Fair?! So far beyond fair that fair is a dot to me now (ok yeah, so I quoted that Joey/Chandler convo - but who's listening?).

I'd say that's enough madness for now -what are your beauty confessions?

This CC cream is an oldie but a goodie and I've been through two tubes at least. Shade 85 Bronze is a little dark for me but the shade down is too pale and I'd rather go warmer than paler, given the choice. Plus it's a forgiving product because it's quite sheer and natural-looking, so I can get away with it in summer when I'm darker.

There's a swatch (unblended and blended):

Product claims/details:
  • You can pick it up cheaply for $12 or so if you shop around (that's about half price)
  • SPF 10, 30 ml size
  • Only 6 shades available, but they do tend to adapt to your skintone
  • Claims to have a brightening effect that evens out skintone (I think it achieves this)
  • Shelf-life: 12 months 

Wearing a thin layer:


This is one of those products that reminds us that you don't need to spend big to get a good quality product. It adds a bit of colour and evens out skintone, but you can't really tell I'm wearing anything. That's the aim!

I tend to use more of it in a single use than I do some other similar products because it's quite sheer, but I don't mind that because you can build it to the coverage you want.

What I really love about it is that it doesn't sit in the open pores around my hairline - unlike so many similar creams or foundations.

The only thing I don't love is that it only has an SPF of 10, but I guess you can't have everything : )


Do you have a favourite pharmacy brand BB/CC cream?
As my husband N said after we'd eaten last night - thank god our planet contains so many different countries and cultures. Otherwise, where would food be? We'd be eating the same boring meals all the time. In Melbourne we're especially lucky to have so many different communities living together and opening restaurants - you can almost pretend you're overseas when you're in one, as we did last night.

Café 248 is one of those places I wish I'd discovered years ago. Glad I've found it now. One of N's friends put us on to it, saying it was authentic and really cheap, and had great food. He was right on two counts (it wasn't that cheap).

The café is comfortably small and I'm not a massive fan of the interior (too white and bright - for dinner especially I'd prefer dim lighting). When we went it was filled with Middle Eastern folk, which is always a good sign. I was excited from the moment we entered.

We placed our meal orders and I then studied the menu a bit more (they'd rushed us a little - it's that kind of place, which I actually like because it adds bustle). My eyes found this yoghurt, eggplant and garlic dip, which I ordered because I thought it would make a great accompaniment to the meat (it did). This cost $8 and there was so much dip that we almost didn't finish it.

The bread is nice - not the most amazing I've had of its kind, but still very good. The dip is thick and creamy and very sharp, with tonnes of garlic. Yay to that.

I ordered the Boneless Chicken Kebab main ($17), which was awesome. Beware the menu photos - from the pictures it looks like you get both rice and salad with your meal, when in fact you get a choice of one (and ordering a side of rice or salad will set you back at least $8).

I personally think the amount of salad on the plate was too small, and it meant the ratio of meat to greens was off: I like to mix up my mouthfuls with a bit of both, but the chicken far outlasted the salad. Next time I'll ask for salad without dressing - the dish didn't need it and I liked the yoghurt dip better as a sauce.

Most main meals seem to come with a burnt half of tomato and a lime wedge, which was a nice touch.

I really enjoyed my plate and forced myself to finish the whole lot, which was a bad idea hehe and next time I'll take some away. That chicken is at least two breasts' worth and it's too much for one meal (for me, anyway - but my husband felt the same about his dish and he eats like a horse).

N ordered the Soltani Kebab ($25), which had fat planks of marinated beef tenderloin and minced lamb. He asked for the meat to be medium rare and they were happy to accommodate this. I tried his meat and basmati rice and both were lovely. We fought over the yoghurt dip to go with our meals and I can't imagine the food without it, so I recommend ordering one of the dips as an entrée or side.


A great place, and we're already planning to go back. The service was good, no frills and efficient - just like the café itself.

Next time we plan to order the spinach, yoghurt and garlic dip (for a change) and a mixed meat main with meat and chicken to share - there's enough meat on the plate for that. We'll probably order the meal with rice and ask for a side salad, in the hope that the side salad is more generous and because the serving of rice with his meal was ample for two.

Recommended : )


Open every day for dinner and on weekends for lunch as well.
Address: 248 Toorak Road (hence the name), near the corner of Chapel.

First, thanks LHI for changing your shipping arrangements - previously I'd been getting my box a week later (sometimes more) than others, so it's nice that there are only two shipments now (even though I of course wish I was in the first one hehe).

Second, THANK YOU for changing from those god-awful pink plastic bags! Of the two plastic bags I received, one was used to store dog biscuits and the other went straight into the bin. These mesh ones are much better : ).

Third, thank you for a good 'box'! This is so much better than last month's. While there are only two great items (both full size) - the rest really being 'filler' items - that's enough to make a box a decent one. Yay to that.

Here's what I received this month:

La Mav Organic BB cream (RRP $39.95 for 50ml; received full size)

What a nice surprise! I saw the BB cream on Facelurk and was really hoping I'd get it. So glad I did! I'm a big fan of BB creams and tinted moisturisers, so this will definitely get used. This also isn't a brand I'd heard of before, so that's exciting.

It's apparently for 'all skin types' and available in only one colour. That makes me a little suspicious but hopefully its 'colour adaptive formula' will come through. I don't like that it only has a shelf-life of six months (once opened), particularly because it's a large size product (50ml as opposed to the standard 30ml). I understand that's probably because it's organic, but I'm seeing the potential for waste. I also don't like that it contains 'natural sunscreen' but doesn't give you an idea of protection factor.

Otherwise I'm thrilled I got this and can't wait to try it.

Marsk Mineral Eye Shadow in Rich List (RRP $24.95 for 1.2g; received full size)

This was the sneak peek item, and already this box has hit the $65 mark (and after that, who's counting : ) ). I picked the gold because I've got enough in black already. It's pretty and pigmented, and while I don't like the noticeable glitter (Marsk seems to love doing that), you can get away with that to some extent with an eye shadow (as opposed to eg a blush or bronzer).

This has a shelf-life of 36 months, which makes me happy. It also goes on well (I'm wearing it now) and blends easily; however be aware of product fall-out - it has already slipped off and is sitting below my eyes, and is rather hard to remove without mucking up the rest of my make up.

Ardell Self-adhesive Lashes (RRP $9.99 per set; received full size - if there's such thing as a sample size for these hehe)

Meh, more falsies to add to a growing stash. The only time I've ever worn falsies is when I was maid of honour at a wedding. All too much effort - I may see if any of my friends would like these.

Designer Brands Nail Polish (RRP $6.99 for 12ml; received full size)

What's with DB polluting our subscription boxes at the mo?! The LHI and Bellabox swap groups are rife with these products, and no one wants them. I might give this to my friend's four-year-old daughter so she can add some sparkles to her pictures. Not sure what else I'd do with it - I don't like disco-ball nail polish anyway. If it was a nice block colour I'd at least give it a go. Sorry DB!

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Gel Cleanser (RRP $54.95 for 150ml; received 7ml sample)

I just tried this and wasn't impressed. In my experience, Aveda makes better hair products than they do skin ones. Plus I think we're all a bit sick of seeing them in LHI boxes. It'll get used, but probably as a body wash.

In sum

I'm happy with this box because I've been wanting to try Marsk products and the La Mav BB cream was a great surprise. Yay to that! The box is decent value just for those two items.

What did others receive and are people happy with the box?

We received this full-sized nail polish in a previous Violet Box and I've been meaning to try it for ages. It's been sitting on my dresser waiting for me, and since I'm not a massive fan of the colour, I've almost given it away a bunch of times. So glad I didn't!

So Susan has turned up a few times now in Violet Box and I really liked the liquid illuminator, so it will be good to see how the other products fare.

It's 9ml in size but somehow looks smaller. You can buy a pack of four of these on the So Susan website for $20.79, but of course they post to the UK only so it may take some searching to find them in Australia. The polishes used to be available in the Violet Box shop for $10 each but it looks like they're not available anymore.

Shelf-life is 24 months, which makes me happy. All nail polishes should have a 24 + month shelf-life I reckon. No one gets through a bottle in a year unless they're using the same colour, week in, week out.


I received a pale pink colour ('Mimosa') that isn't my kind of colour and would probably look best in summer when my skin's more tanned.

I wasn't sure about this at first. It's quite thick and streaky (sticky too) and didn't dry very quickly. After two coats, barely any colour was visible (it might as well have been clear), but something happened on the third coat: the colour suddenly appeared and the streaks were gone.

Now for the test - I find three coats is usually too much to apply at once for polishes (they get too thick and never quite seem to dry, no matter that you leave a good half hour between coats). BUT this ended up drying well, and nice and hard. My golly after 48 hours' wear there's not even the tiniest chip on it! I can't believe it - this never happens. Even my index finger is still going strong and that's usually the first to go.

Could this be my new HG of nail products?

Have you tried it? If so, what did you think?

In our April Lust Have It women's boxes we were given a choice of a Glamourflage primer or lip/cheek stain. I can't rave enough about LHI's brilliant idea to let us choose a product each month - not only is it exciting to investigate and choose, we're also much more likely to end up with something we'll actually use.

I chose the primer without second thought since I have a ridiculous amount of lip and cheek products that I can't hope to get through any time soon, and I certainly don't need anything else in red (which the stain was).

How awesome is Glamourflage's packaging? I've had this sitting next to a candle and face mask of theirs, occupying pride of place on my dresser because they just look so cool. They may be booted by recent purchases from theBalm if I need a change of scene, but for now they're staying put.

Product details
  • RRP $22.95 for 8.5ml. This is a pretty strange size for a primer I reckon. Any others I own in full size are 30ml and travel sizes tend to be around 15ml. Still, if it means paying less for less product (so we don't wind up with a full-sized item that we don't like), I'm ok with that.
  • 12 month shelf-life when opened. Fine for something of this nature and size.
  • Claims to: banish shine and create the perfect base for your make up. It primes and soothes the complexion to help make up last even longer, aiding a flawless finish.
  • Ingredients: includes silicones, so be careful if your skin doesn't like these.


I love this. It's a thick, clear gel with a velvety feel. Glides on nice and smoothly and helps with the application of liquid foundation. It has a nail polish-type applicator and I'm not sure how I feel about this. Means you're getting bacteria on the brush with each use. I suppose you could wipe the brush on a normal brush and then go from there, but I'd rather a squeeze tube or pump. Still, the packaging looks cute and I'm all for different designs.

I'm not sure how much longer this makes my foundation last, but it does have some effect. What I've discovered I prefer doing with it is applying it over my foundation or BB cream, since it gives a nice, dewy/glowy natural look. It makes my skin look healthier and fresh and seems to diminish fine lines.

In sum? I really like it. While I don't think it out-performs other products in leaps and bounds, it is a cheaper option and if you're like me you'll probably want to keep the package when the bottle's done. That's gotta be worth something ; ).

Well I'm home from my meeting so I can write a proper post - and I must say it was such a rubbish meeting that I'd have much preferred to stay home and take a good look at my goodies. Ha. Anyhoo.

Older members will notice the box design has changed. I think I prefer the old one but it's nice to have something new (and who really cares much about the boxes anyway ; ) ).

Violet Box is definitely my favourite of the three subscription boxes I'm currently receiving (the others being Bellabox and Lust Have It). Even though it's a little more expensive ($22.95/month), it always ends up being better value.

At first glance July's box didn't blow my socks off, but in my experience that doesn't always mean much - sometimes the boxes that look amazing contain products that don't work for you in practice, and sometimes the boxes that seem not so good end up containing unexpected gems.

Note: as always I will update this post in future as I use the products so I can give you an idea of what they're like.

Here's what we got this month:

Skin & Co Truffle Therapy Serum (RRP $75 for 30ml; received 5ml sample)

I'm glad this came in a tube and not a sachet. 5ml should be enough to trial this face serum. It's meant to plump the skin with hydration and fight off free radicals, and it goes on under your moisturiser. I hadn't heard about this brand until Violet Box posted about it on Facebook, and I'm always excited to try new things.

UPDATE: I had high hopes for this one, since it looks like a high-end product (and costs like one ; ) ), but I wasn't wowed. I've hit the end of the tube now and it's just not moisturising enough for me - it tends to leave my skin super-dry and I have to apply double amounts of moisturiser afterwards. Boo foo boo. Hoh well, glad to have tried it anyway.

Sukin Skin Purifying Facial Mask (RRP $15 for 100ml; received 2 x 8ml samples)

Sukin seems to have been doing the subscription box rounds lately and I've noticed their stuff in Priceline etc. I haven't tried this yet so I'm happy to give it a go. It's formulated with a clay base and infused with aloe vera and other goodies. It's meant to draw out dirt and grime while nourishing the skin. 8ml is a good-sized sample for a mask. Yay to that.

UPDATE: I've just used this, and noticed that there were in fact two 8ml samples and not one (must have had a blonde moment when I first wrote this review hehe). I love that Violet Box sometimes gives us double samples (it's happened with a face mask before), ensuring we get enough product to trial the items properly. This went on smoothly and felt lovely on my skin. It also smelled really good. As with most masks, I'm not seeing a massive after-effect other than my skin feeling a bit nicer - but perhaps I'll notice some difference as I use the samples over time. I do prefer this though to many masks I've tried, and since it's not hugely expensive, I may well buy it in future.

LAQA&Co Sheer Lip Lube Pencil (RRP $20; received 2g product)

This was the sneak peek item. I think it's a full size but am having issues finding gram quantities online so I'm not sure. Anyway, it looks full size. I got the peachy colour ('Bees Knees'), which is in fact the one I wanted! My golly, that never happens. Double excitement. Can't wait to try it.

UPDATE: I LOVE this! This pencil alone made the whole box worth it to me. It's wonderfully creamy and has a nice peppermint smell, and the colour is beautiful. It's pretty true to the colour you can see on the nib above, so I won't swatch it - though it's a little less bright. It's quite a sheer colour so you need to build it to get a good colour, but I don't mind that. Because it's so creamy it doesn't last that well (it's like a gloss in this sense), but I don't care because I'm so in love with the texture and the colour. I can totally see myself using this to death pretty quickly and then having to buy another : ).

KMS California Hair Play Moulding Paste (RRP $40 for 150ml; received 20ml sample)

This is meant to provide texture, create pliable hold and add definition. I'm not sure how much I'll use something like this, but I'm happy to give it a crack and see if I like it. I've tried a finishing spray from this brand before and didn't like it, so hopefully this product fares better.

UPDATE: The first thing I noticed about this was the smell: it's full on and a bit repulsive, and to me it smells a little like alcohol. BUT once I got over that and used it, I liked the effect. I've used it on dry hair (you can use it on either dry or wet locks) and it tames my fly-aways without weighing my hair down or making it look dirty. Mentally I had this marked down as a 'give away' item, but I may actually keep it. While it's not my favourite product of this nature, it does the job and 20ml is a good travel or purse size.

Lavender Sandalwood Calming Body Wash (RRP $6 for 10ml; received 10ml)

I've used Dr Hauschka products before and have liked them (particularly the Melissa Day Cream). I'm also thoroughly bored of my jumbo size body wash at the moment and have been waiting to receive a sample of something else to try, so I'm happy with this inclusion.

UPDATE: I've used this twice now. The smell is strong and true to name (absolutely lavender and sandlewood hehe). In using it I experienced the usual Dr Hauschka metal tube issue - when you use the cap to pierce open the foil top, product spews out. So make sure you open it for the first time in the shower: you'll be able to catch the spew and use it, rather than ending up with it all over the table ; ). I didn't love this and was surprised - normally I love Dr H products. It didn't seem to foam well and this made me feel that it didn't clean well either. But I'm glad I've tried this now because I've been considering buying Dr H body washes in the past, and now I know not to : ).

So Susan Flutter Mascara (RRP $32 for 4g; received full size)

It's nice to receive a mascara once in a while since they go off so quickly and are therefore a high turnaround product. I do have a few back-up mascaras already however so I might do some research on this before opening it to see if it's the right product for me (I have short eyelashes and need a lengthening mascara, and so many just don't cut the mustard). Thankfully this one is black (I'm not up for gimmicky fluoro violet ones thanks very much ; )). It sounds good in the description (something about hyaluronic spheres, whatever they may be), so fingers crossed.

UPDATE: This one is fine but not brilliant. I need serious lengthening action ('need' - ha) from my mascara and this doesn't cut the mustard. It doesn't thicken much either. I think it'd be better for lasses who have good lashes and just want to define them a bit. I also found that it took a while to dry, which meant that - with my puffy eyes - I was cleaning black dots off the skin around my eye area for a while after application. Unless you have great lashes, I'd give this a miss - plenty of better products exist, and ones that cost less.

Beyonce Rise (teeny tiny sample - looks like a bonus product)

I missed this the first time around when I was rushing to leave for my meeting, so it was a nice surprise when I got home. Until I smelled it. Yukko. Sickly sweet and strange. Hoh well, at least I know not to go near it in stores hehe.

August Sneak Peak

Dear Violet Box, can I please pretty please have the Be a Bombshell eye shadow quad in Madrid, when it comes to packing our August boxes. I currently have this product sitting in my Violet Box shopping cart, but haven't purchased it yet since I really can't afford to spend any more on cosmetics this month. Please please please, I will be your best friend. Love from Jane.

In sum

I'm not crazy amazed by this box but I'm also not disappointed - just keeping an open mind. I'm thrilled I managed to get the lip lube colour I wanted (waahhooo!), but nothing else in the box grabs my attention (unlike in previous months). But the jury's still out and I'm looking forward to trying everything. Overall a decent box, and I'll use most if not all things.

UPDATE: After using everything, my favourite items are the lip pencil and the Sukin mask. My thoughts on the box are the same as they were at the outset - decent but not brilliant. I'm totally looking forward to the August box now though, since Violet Box so rarely disappoints and my lack of booming excitement over the July box means the August one may well blow my socks off. Wahoooo!!!

What did others think of this box?

To join Violet Box, click the ad on the right of my blog or visit here. Use the code VIOLETBOX10 for $10 off your first box : ).

I've reviewed the first half of this sample pack previously. For Part 1 of this review, please see here.

To re-hash briefly: Eslor was kind enough to send me a beautiful booklet containing nine samples of their products. Eslor stands out for many reasons, one of these being that the products contain natural ingredients that don't irritate the skin. I've found in the past that natural products don't always deliver the best results - but the products I've tried from this range certainly do. Big ticks : )

What I received:

Soothing Refiner & Cleanser
Replenishing Scrub
Botanical Peeling Gel
Comforting Mask
Chlorophyll Lifting Mask
Soothing Cream
Herbal Soothing Gel
Firming Collagen Day Cream
Active Night Cream


Each sample size is decent (5ml); and while most people don't like sachets (me included), I'm forgiving them here because they look so nice, are so well-presented and feel so special! The information booklet is fancy and helpful in terms of working out what products are best for your skin.

For more information on any of the products, please visit Eslor's website. Note they often run specials/discounts and include samples/gifts with purchase. All prices I quote below are in USD.

My reviews

As mentioned, I've already reviewed half the products (see here).

As for the others:

Botanical Peeling Gel

I've used this three times now and like it. It goes on thickly, has a nice smell and feels lovely on. It contains botanical extracts, aloe vera gel, glycerin, pineapple and papaya enzymes and other goodies. It's a gentle exfoliant that aims to reduce unwanted shine while refining and brightening the skin tone.

While I like using it, I haven't seen any major after-effects yet. In terms of 'mask' products, I prefer Eslor's Chlorophyll Lifting Mask. It may be that I need to use it a bit more in order to see real results. It costs $38 for 60ml so it's good value, and at the moment you can receive a free 15ml travel size of this with any order from the Eslor website.

Herbal Soothing Gel

This one isn't my favourite, purely because it's not moisturising enough and I need to apply another moisturiser after it because it makes my skin feel quite dry. This may be because it's winter and my skin is drier than usual and needs extra care.

Light-weight and oil free, the gel contains botanical extracts to refresh, hydrate and calm any inflammation caused by exposure to sun or other environmental factors. It definitely does have a calming effect when you put it on, it's only later that I need to apply more moisturiser. I might save it for summer and see if it works better for my skin then. It costs $42 for 30ml.

Firming Collagen Day Cream

I really like this one. It's my favourite day moisturiser of theirs. It's thick and rich, and you feel like you're doing your skin a favour when you use it. I like the smell and it has a plumping effect - I can't see the fine lines on my forehead after use and this effect lasts for a while. It smoothes your skin and make up goes on like a dream after use.

It contains a bundle of goodies including botanical extracts and hydrolysed marine collagen, and costs $85 for 50ml - so it's a bit expensive but I think the price tag is worth it. You can also do what I did and buy it as part of Eslor's Regenerating Kit, which retails for $65 but at the moment you can get a 15% discount on any kit (see here). Highly recommend this one.

Active Night Cream

This one's sensational, and probably my favourite of the four products in this review. It also comes in the Regenerating Kit (along with the Brightening Activator, which I can't rave about enough - see my earlier review). It contains hydrolysed soy milk protein, ginseng extract, sea buckthorn oil, aloe vera and lots of other goodies, and aims to preserve the skin's suppleness and firmness, while preventing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Another product I highly recommend. It's lovely and thick and plumping. If you have a look at the Eslor website, you'll see all the glowing five-star reviews of this product. It's definitely worth a go, particularly because you can trial the 15ml product as part of the Regenerating Kit. The 50ml size retails for $95.

In sum

That's it! I've gone through my sample pack now and am looking forward to using the two kits I bought! Have you used Eslor products? If so, what did you think?

Please note: this review is independent and I only received these samples because I sought them out, wanting to try some things prior to purchase. (For us Australians - you can receive free shipping from the US site if you spend over $200. That's a lot to lay out, yes, but the company offers some great trial kits that are good value and allow you to give the range a go before committing to buying full-sized products.)

Just a short review today. I received Sally Hansen's Complete Salon Manicure in 546 'Get Juiced' in a Priceline goodies bag and used it a couple of days ago for the first time.

  • 14.7 ml
  • Shelf-life 30 months
  • RRP $14.95

I've owned Sally Hansen's Diamond Flash, Diamond Strength Fast Dry Top Coat for a while and thought I'd review them together.

  • 13.3 ml
  • Shelf-life 24 months
  • RRP $16.95

My thoughts

The Complete Salon Manicure is one of the best nail polishes I've used for ages in terms of lasting power and fast drying time. After two days' wear, it's still going strong and has only chipped slightly on my index finger.

I didn't like the brush - it's flatter and wider than most and I found this messy to use (mainly when applying with my left hand). It was also a bit streaky on application, but after two coats the streakiness wasn't visible.

The Diamond Flash top coat is probably the best top coat I've used (but note I haven't tried many of these and generally can't be bothered using them). It does what it claims and dries quickly, and does increase the longevity of the coloured product underneath.


I'd definitely buy these again, particularly because they both have long a shelf-life (I personally don't think that the standard 12 month shelf-life is long enough for nail polishes - I never get through a single colour that quickly).

Have you tried these? If so, what did you think?

This bronzer showed up in one of Lust Have It's boxes this year. I've given it a good test run and wanted to review it.

The LHI product came in a 'special edition' for subscribers. RRP $29.95 and 3g in size, and therefore more than enough product to trial it properly (who ever gets through full size bronzers and blushes anyway?).

As you can see it's a nice medium brown colour. What you can't see is that it has pink undertones (and therefore isn't the right colour for me - products with yellow/orange/red bases work better on my skin).

What also doesn't show up in the below swatch is the noticeable sparkle/glitter in the product.

What Claytime says
  • Instant safe tan 
  • Doubles as a contour powder
  • Apply to cleavage for instant plunging look; apply to cheeks, face, arms or legs for an instant touch of tan to skin
  • Can be applied as an eyeshadow

  • It's buildable.
  • The colour would suit many people, particularly those with fairer skin.
  • It can be used on the face, body and as an eyeshadow.

  • It's not overly pigmented and it took a lot of product to reach the colour on my wrist above.
  • It's not suitable if you're too tanned. I'm wearing it on my face now but you can barely see it because the colour isn't strong enough (that's why I haven't included a face swatch).
  • I don't like the noticeable glitter (which emphasises my pores) and I don't think it's a suitable day/office wear product for many.
  • It's not the most blendable product I've tried - particularly if your skin isn't moisturised enough - and can stick to dry patches.

In sum

I'm glad I've trialled this product but it's not my favourite and I'll likely pass it on. I've applied it today not only on my cheeks, but also as an eyeshadow - I applied it wet on my eyelids (for a deeper colour) and dry leading up to my brow-bone (for a softer colour).

Verdict: I wouldn't have bought this, but if like me you have it already, don't discount it - there are ways to use it and I really like it as an eyeshadow.

What a surprise to receive this today! I wasn't expecting to get it until next week, and I'm thrilled that it arrived.

Before going on to look at the products for the July 2014 ('American Beauty') Bellabox, I wanted to say something about the recent bad customer service many of us have experienced with the company, and the later improvements I've seen, showing that Bellabox has listened to our complaints.

First, let's agree that the late delivery of the June box was a Toll issue. Having said this, I think Bellabox could have managed that better overall. I didn't receive any correspondence from them about the delayed shipping of my box until far too late in the piece (I actually had to ask for the email that was apparently sent to others).

On top of this, Bellabox had taken weeks to reply to my emails/phone calls about an issue I'd had with the computer system in the Bellabox shop having overcharged me for an order. Initially Bellabox wasn't willing to refund me and I had to pull out the ex-lawyer card to have the money rightfully returned to my account. I don't like doing that. Makes me feel like a w*nker.

Moving on. And remembering that the June Bellabox was the ONLY box I've ever received late from these guys. All the others have been the first of my three subscription boxes to arrive.

AND Bellabox has now been incredibly responsive to emails I've sent recently requesting one product replacement and a refund, and I think they've genuinely tried hard to respond to our issues regarding service and responsiveness. I think they deserve credit for that. The service I've recently received from them has been nothing short of five star, and definitely the best customer service I'm receiving from any of the subscription boxes at present. Nice work Bellabox : )

The box

Note: This will be a quick review. I'll go back in later and re-post this when I've properly tried all the products and can share my thoughts with you.

Yu-Be Moisturising Skin Cream (RRP $34.95 for 70g; 3ml sample)

According to the product card, this cream has held a top sales spot for over 50 years in Japan, absorbing instantly to heal dry skin anywhere on your body. Definitely looking forward to giving this one a go - I've heard a lot about it.

UPDATE: Oh gross, beware of the smell. It's like antiseptic menthol, makes me think of cough lollies. That in itself is a turn off. I don't care how good the product is (it didn't wow me, anyway) - I don't want to cover myself in something that smells like this. Strange consistency, too. Hoh well, at least I can say that I've tried it.

Nicole by OPI Nail Lacquer (RRP $12.95 for 15ml; full size)

This was one of the sneak peak items (I was lucky to receive two...neither of which was the one I actually wanted. ARGH!). It's a great product, but I don't do lavender. I'll give it a go so I can review it properly, then I know exactly which friend to give it to!

UPDATE: This polish is a dream to use - for once in my life I haven't ended up with polish all over my fingers as well as my nails. It goes on smoothly without streaking, dries super-fast and just feels like it's good quality.

The only issue is with pigment - I applied three coats in order to get a decent colour pay-off, and it could probably do with one more. I've already mentioned that I don't like the colour, and it does make my hand look pasty (I have a different colour on my right hand and my right hand looks browner, even though it isn't).

As you'll see from the above photo, this polish is still going strong after two days' wear - that's unusual for me. The index finger is the only one that's chipped (and it always does, for me anyway).

Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat (RRP $39 for 5.3g; 3.2g sample)

The problem with this one, is that ALL MY MASCARAS ARE WATERPROOF. Is anyone else the same? And now I feel like a spoiled brat because I've received two great products from two great brands (both sneak peaks), and I'm not excited about them unfortunately. What a brat. Anyone want to exchange this product for the lip/cheek kit from theBalm?

UPDATE: While I haven't used this yet (in case anyone wants to swap!), I've had a look and it appears to be a sensational product that can also be used on your brows to stop any 'filler' product (like eyebrow pencil) from running. Maybe I should keep it?!

Designer Brands Lip Butter, Coconut (RRP $4.99 for 10ml; full size)

I'm not sure why DB keeps turning up in our subscription boxes. In my head it's that cheap brand I refused to buy from Priceline even when I was a penniless teenager. Does anyone else feel like that about the brand? Perhaps we should all get over this and give the products a fair go.

UPDATE: I've now used this lip balm. It's ok but very thin and comes off easily. I'm not sure how coconutty the smell is (it's more like piña colada I reckon) and the conditioning power isn't great. I might end up using this one as a foot moisturiser, which I often do with balms I'm not going to use on my lips. Nothing wrong with finding alternative uses for things to make sure stuff doesn't go to waste : )

Urban Rituelle Body Soap (RRP $4.95 for 100g)

Another good product but one that my husband will most happily trial for me (he's a soap man and I'm a gel lass - a marriage made in heaven).

It contains organic cocoa butter and natural plant extracts to leave your skin soft and smelling delicious all day (according to the card).

UPDATE: My guinea pig husband has used this and he likes it, saying it cleans well and he likes the feel of it. It's better than most but he prefers the Appelles soap he trialled for me recently.

Mary Kay Botanical Effects Mask (RRP $37 for 113g; 3g sample) - bonus product

I love mask samples and I'm happy to try this one. Hopefully the sachet is big enough for a few uses so I can properly trial and review it. I quite like all the Mary Kay products I've tried thus far so I'm hoping it'll be a good one.

UPDATE: I've just used this. The sample size isn't great - an extra couple of ml would have helped for review purposes. With one application (using it on my face and neck), I've gone through more than half the packet. It's a bit grainy (nothing wrong with that, just a comment) and quite thick. Like most masks, my skin feels a little nicer afterwards but there's no great effect. Happy to trial it but I wouldn't buy it.

Bonus: 10% off online orders voucher, Designer Brands

I probably won't be using this one, unless I can get over my feelings towards the brand ; )

In sum

This is a good value box with a great mix of products. While it didn't float my boat, we can't blame Bellabox for that - it's always just the luck of the draw.

What did others think of it?

If you're interested in joining Bellabox, see here.

I don't know when it became normal to learn about the engagements/pregnancies/career changes/#[insert major life events] of your friends on Facebook. But it did.

I find myself going to functions sometimes and seeing friends whom I haven't seen for a while and losing the ability to deliver/hear news in person. As in, 'So how are you? Hang on, I already know. You had a shit day at work today and you spent last week setting up the kids' treehouse, and you're about to start renovations.'

What's left to say?

The internet is changing how we speak and what we speak about. Because we're entering conversations with more information than we once had.

This blogging thing I'm doing is shifting things as well. Friends have told me that reading my blog has become a bit like voyeurism. Like they're learning things about me and my life that they're not really meant to know. I totally get that. I have friends with blogs too, and I've felt the same. One of my newer friends has a blog, and when we first met she told me about it and I started reading it before I really knew her. It was strange, kind of like internet dating. I knew a lot about her before we'd even sat down for coffee.

The internet is changing our perceptions of others. Our understanding of them. Whether it's from reading their blogs, Facebook posts/comments or posts on Twitter, we're seeing a different side of them that we perhaps never saw before. I know people who are totally different on Facebook, who are shy in 'real-life' but vocal online. Some old acquaintances whom I once thought I had little in common with or perhaps never really knew, now write posts that I relate to more than posts by the people in my life. I comment on their posts (as they do mine) more than many others. What does this mean for my friendships? Are they undergoing some kind of disconnection without my even realising it?

And what about this concept of 'real-life'? Is real-life still 3D or is it now on-screen? What a scary thought. For the people whose online personalities are quite different to their in-person ones, who's the real person? Did I never know the real person before and am I only meeting them now?

As for Google. I was at dinner with some friends last week and they were talking about how the ability to Google questions as they come up is changing the way they think. As in, 'Who was that actor from Nebraska? Let's Google it.' 'Have you ever wondered where seagulls go in winter? Google will know.'

I've been thinking about this and it's true. Before the internet, our minds were left to wander and seek the answers to questions we often couldn't hope to answer unless we went to a library or called someone who might know. So our minds were allowed to go on their own courses and think in different directions. And for the answers we knew but couldn't quite place, we had to think about them for a while before they came to us. Now, the answers are on hand. Our brains needn't move.

Are we doing our minds an injustice? Is Google destroying some part of our imaginations because we're not letting them roam free? How many people actually go to libraries anymore, when we can sit at home or in a café with a ready-reference at our fingertips? Are we forgetting how to solve problems laterally and flex our mind muscles because it's easier and now habit to simply open the search panel and type in our requests?

This is making me think of the discussions that occasionally arise about how sending texts from mobile phones has changed our language. Who used the word 'tomoz' before the arrival of the text? I'd say social media is the same. I see well-educated people writing posts and comments with bad grammar and a complete lack of punctuation. Unintentional spelling errors are one thing. Deliberately dispensing with necessary capitals quite another. And at what point will lazy language become the norm, so that we find ourselves struggling to write correctly at work, because the 'typing memory' in our fingers has become programmed to write 'How R U', 'Wot U doin tomoz'?

I wonder sometimes whether the internet is changing how I write. My blog articles are written and then posted almost straight away, without the usual 'leave for a few days and then re-draft/edit' process that my magazine articles, for example, undergo. Blogging 'experts' (yes, they apparently exist) say that's exactly how blog posts should be done - written well but posted straight away, then on to the next one. It's all about volume, they say. But is this 'that'll do' approach a form of laziness too?

Or is it simply part of this dark immediacy of our times? This desperate urgency, eternal rush.

Feel something? Post it on Facebook before it has time to settle. Need something? Find and buy it within half an hour online, rather than going through the process of searching for it in stores. Have something to say? Write it in one letter rather than three, because 'u' and 'you' really do mean exactly the same thing and it just takes so much damn effort to type those extra two letters. Need an answer? Go to gospel Google, rather than using your brain. Afterall, who can be bothered. Why do it in ten minutes when you can do it in two. Who cares about value or quality when urgency is at stake. What a waste of time.

That's just it, isn't it?

What a waste of time.

I received a ModelCo Party Proof cream lipstick in Incognito (a deep plum/oxblood colour) in my March 2014 Bellabox. I bought the Splendourful colour (vibrant orange) in the Bellabox shop later on, mainly because it was on sale and I needed to raise the order total to get free shipping ; ). Tell me I'm not the only one who does that?! Blo*dy hate paying for shipping.

A lot of people don't like ModelCo, perhaps in part because ModelCo products seem to be a constant feature of the various Australian subscription boxes and we're all a bit over them. I don't have any issue with the many products of theirs that I've tried, however - I think they're generally decent and good value.

ModelCo claims/product details:
  • Super long-lasting, strong pigment
  • Glides on effortlessly without drying, caking or flaking
  • 'Kiss proof, drink proof and party proof'
  • White case with in-built mirror
  • Slight vanilla scent (reminiscent of Lime Crime's lipsticks)
  • 17 shades available
  • RRP $16.95 for 3.8g

Wrist swatch


Note: the box and label on the bottom of the Incognito tube lead you to believe it's a dark purple colour. It's not. The colour swatch on my wrist above is the same as that when put on my lips.

The colour swatched on the ModelCo website is also misleading - there it looks like a strange purple-pink colour.

I'd call it a deep plum, but if you layer it enough, it goes so dark that it appears to have black undertones - more of an oxblood shade.

Face swatch

Does anyone else feel embarrassed about doing face-shots? I do. This is my first one ever! (Note to self: maybe put make up on next time?!)

And unfortunately, it's not true to colour at all. Here it looks red. The wrist swatch is much closer to the actual colour. In the mirror my lips look so much darker and there's definitely a black/purple undertone to this shade. I've tried taking the lip photo in different lights and on different camera settings, but they all look the same. Hmph. Hoh well.

Wrist swatch


Again, don't be guided by the swatch of this colour on the Modelco website - there it looks a bit browner/duller.

The colour looks brighter on my wrist and less so on my lips. I think the lip shot is truer to colour - wuhoo, maybe I'm getting somewhere?!

This one is much creamier than Incognito (see my comments below) and doesn't dry my lips out. In fact, they're so different in texture - you can even see the difference when looking at the lipsticks in the tube before application - that I'm wondering whether I got a dud Incognito.

Splendourful also goes on more smoothly and doesn't need a gloss. I much prefer this colour (well of course, I ordered it), which has a lot to do with my general orange obsession. Since I also have a coral obsession, to dumb down the orangeness of this I often wear a pale pink gloss with glitter on top and it looks amazeballs. I'll get a lot of use out of this colour.


  • First of all, they are not kiss proof, drink proof or party proof. They come off on your coffee mug like any other lipstick I've tried. Having said this, they do have better staying power than many I've tried.
  • The colours are high-impact with a good colour pay-off.
  • They go on as cream and dry to more of a matte product (Incognito being the more matte of the two).
  • As for being non-drying, this is not true of Incongito. It does dry out my lips and cause them to flake, and it settles in/clings to dry patches. This means it needs a bit of work - your lips need to be buffed (more so than with other lipsticks I've tried) and if you're like me, you may find yourself needing to apply gloss either before or after application. I prefer before because this makes the lipstick glide on more smoothly and evenly. Of course, doing this doesn't help with staying power - but I'd prefer to reapply more frequently than be stuck with dry, flaky and patchy lips.
  • I don't like the white case (feels cheap/tacky) but I do like the in-built mirror, which is much handier than I thought it would be. Having said this, I don't really care about the quality of the case - I care about the quality of the product itself - so I'm more than happy to pay less for these and live with cheap packaging. Also, the packaging is functional and you can throw it in your makeup bag and know the lid won't come off.
  • A good product for a good-value price. That makes me happy!
  • Would I buy again? Well, I already have of course. They're not my favourites but they're definitely a decent product. More than this, they far out-perform many other lipsticks with a bigger price tag in terms of staying power and colour pay-off. Particularly Splendourful - I'm very happy with this purchase.

Have you tried these? If so, what did you think?
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