Well I was super-restrained not to open this straight away when it arrived last week! Since my Violet Box turned up on Wednesday, when this showed up the day after, I decided to 'prolong' the joy and wait until this week to get stuck into it. Not entirely sure how I managed that. No guarantees it'll ever happen again ; )

My first thoughts when I opened this earlier were mixed: it didn't look like the most exciting box, but it's grown on me. I think the problem was that the first thing I saw was the perfume (a bit of a no no in these things I reckon, unless it's a sample - fragrance, more than anything else, is so so personal), and the second was the blotting papers. To me, blotting papers are the most useless beauty product ever made. Maybe some people use them, but anyone with normal to dry skin? I don't think so.

Anyhoo, like I said - the box grew on me.

Before we get stuck into things, here's my October Affiliate Codes:
  • October $5 coupon code: 0IXX
  • Get $10 off automatically at checkout when you spend $150 or more, using the link below
  • Get $5 off automatically at checkout when you spend $100 or more, using the link below
Just click the Memebox banner to the right of this blog, or click here to enter the Memebox website and start shopping : )

On to the box!

A nice mix of products: skincare, haircare and makeup.

You can tell just by looking at the mix of products that Memeboxes are better value than any of the Oz subscription boxes. Everything in here is full size and the box cost only $23US!

As always, I'll write down my initial thoughts on the box now and then update this post once I've used everything.

Evas by Marait Eau de Perfume (RRP $30 for 30ml; received full size)

Apparently Memebox selected three of the most popular fragrances from 327 different scents by this brand. It's hard to believe the one I got (No.60 Baies Noires) is too popular - it's noted as being made from sweet blackberry, grapefruit, bay leaf and cedar wood. I smell Ralph Lauren's Safari unhappily doused in sugar syrup. Foo. Might use this as a bathroom freshener ; )

UPDATE: Well, I have tried to swap this in various FB Swap groups, to no avail. What I might do instead is donate it to a charity my friend works for (one that supports women) or donate it to my local op shop.

Valley Sous Hair Solution Protein Therapy Perfect Mist (RRP $21 for 150ml; received full size)

This apparently contains over 20 different kinds of protein and natural ingredients such as argan oil, rosehip oil and assai oil for delivering rich nutrition and much-needed  protein into you damaged cuticles. It's also perfumed with a fresh fruity musk fragrance. To use, apply either before or after blow-drying your hair.

My first thought when I saw this was: oh no, not another hair smoothing product (I've got so many in backlog because I've received a bunch in beauty boxes and it takes me donkey's ears to get through one), but this looks like it's a different kind of product and I'm excited to give it a go. A bit nervous about this fruity musky scent though. Will keep you posted.

UPDATE: I've used this a few times now and really love it. It helps my damaged hair (dyed ages ago but the highlights have almost grown out - thank god). It definitely makes my hair feel nicer and stronger, and happily the smell is fine - not overpowering, which was my concern. 

My only tip with this would be: don't use it if you've just used a heavy treatment mask in the shower (as I had the first time I used it, and the treatment left a residue behind), or your hair might feel overloaded with product.

Evas Rose Mine Perfumed Hand Cream (RRP $12 for 60ml; received full size)

There were three products you could have received; I got the 'Maybe' scent (a fruity floral fragrance infused with lychee, apricot and poppy). Apparently this brand is renowned for its handcreams, so I'm pleased to have received it - notwithstanding that I've got a couple of full-sized handcreams waiting to be opened once I've finished the MOR one I'm using. Handcreams go down well in this house since Mex uses them more than I do ; ). 

UPDATE: This handcream is lovely and rich and I'm glad I received it. I had thought it mightn't be heavy enough for my dry hands, but I was happily surprised. I cheated and opened this one before the MOR product was finished - but only because I'd just finished the handcream I keep beside my bed and needed a replacement. While the smell is a bit sweet, it's not too bad and I can live with it.

Etude House Blotting Paper Pact (RRP $6 for 50; received full size)

While I have no use for this, the packaging itself - while I hate the pink - is actually sturdy and decent. Considering this costs a measly $6, I'm wondering about the quality of the paper! Indeed, I'd almost hang on to this to use the compact (which comes with a nice mirror - see below) as a mixing tray.

Not a bad little compact, yes?

UPDATE: I've put this in my bundle to swap in any of the FB Swap groups I'm a member of - fingers crossed someone wants it.

If I can't swap it, it's likely destined for the presents pile - though I'll have to investigate who of my family/friends would ever use something like this. According to the product description, it's made from hanji - the traditional Korean paper handmade from mulberry trees - and is gentle to skin and aims to remove excess facial oil and sebum. If only I had excess facial oil - then I wouldn't need all the moisturising products I own!

Croquis Alight Pact (RRP $35 for 10g)

This is the most interesting product in the box I reckon, and the one I'm most excited about. It's a nice, sturdy and good-looking compact containing coloured marble powders that apparently give your skin more definition and a fine lustre for a nice, silky finish to your makeup. You're meant to apply it to areas where you want more definition and shine, so I'm guessing it's a highlighter. Yay!

Looks fancy, yes? Might have to open it soon and give it a go, even though it's not like I don't have enough highlighters on the go already.

UPDATE: I've now used this and love it, and it's by far my favourite item in the box. In quality, it reminds me of the MAC highlighter I used a few years ago when I was Maid of Honour at a wedding. I'll do a full review of this product once I've played around with it some more, but it's now pride of place in the beauty cabinet (or 'it's gone straight to the pool room', to use Oz lingo ; )).

Such a pretty design. And you get four colours in one : ) It's also subtle and doesn't contain noticeable glitter - woot woot!

Drww Mix & Match set (RRP $47 for 1.5g x 5; received full size)

This is the most expensive item in the box, and I'm really not sure about the look of it. I don't know whether it's the pink cardboard packaging or the look of the products themselves, but it looks kind of cheap and barbie-ish to me - like play makeup or something.

It includes lip and cheek products as well as a concealer. You can mix and match to create new colours (which is what the empty hole is for). I guess I should reserve judgement 'till I try it.

UPDATE: I liked this much more than I thought I would. Although the colours look like lollies in their pots (I'm referring to the top three colours - the middle bottom product is a concealer and the one to the left of that is a sheer gloss), they're not so 'look at me' when applied and add a nice sheer and wearable glow to your lips or cheeks. Again, I'll do a full review of this soon, along with swatches and more comments.


Well, this was definitely worth the $23US price tag - the total value of the box is $151. Having said this, without the highlighter compact I wouldn't be so happy with it: I think the perfume and blotting papers turned me off a bit, since that's a third of the box I won't use and can't easily give away as presents (who's going to want them?!).

I think I was so bowled over by the first Memebox I received, the Earth & Sea Cosmetics box, that it's pretty hard to top that. What I'll do is trial the products and see if I get more excited by things.

Did anyone else receive this box - if so, what did you think?

We received one of these lip crayons in our February 2014 Violet Boxes. I received the colour Some Beach, which is described as a 'warm coral with shimmer': I'd say that's pretty accurate.

Being an orange junkie, when I saw another Some Beach up for grabs in the FB Violet Box Swap group, I snatched it up - along with the colour Trophy Wife ('a light pink with shimmer'), just to see if I could carry off something in pink for once (I can't - foo).

See above Trophy Wife on the left and Some Beach on the right. Note I've been reluctant to do posts of colour products lately because I need to sort out my photography and get the non-flash photos happening, but I've been having trouble with this camera and need to call on a friend for a crash course! I decided to go ahead with this post however because the below wrist and lip swatches give you the right idea of colour.

The wrist swatch below shows exactly what the colours look like (Some Beach on the left and Trophy Wife on the right):

Be a Bombshell claims/product details:
  • A glossy lip crayon with a smooth texture
  • Apply to top and bottom lips for full coverage (apply several coats to build colour)
  • For sheer coverage, apply to lower lip only and blot lips together
  • Tip: start applying lip crayon in the middle of your mouth and blend outward, stopping just short of the edge to prevent bleeding and make lips appear fuller
  • RRP $19
  • Available here

They don't claim much, do they?! ; ) Maybe they don't need to - they're just lip crayons and there ain't much to say about that.

See below lip swatch of Trophy Wife. It's a nice colour - it just doesn't suit me.

And here's Some Beach. Hehe even my lips look happier in this one ; ). A much better colour for me - a rich orange that isn't too in-your-face. I've applied it heavily below, but you can use a lighter touch to tone things down.


I was pleasantly surprised by these crayons. My initial thoughts when I opened the Some Beach box in February was that the packaging felt cheap and the colour would be far too bright for me (it almost looks red). But it was love at first use - the colour works so well that I've snatched a back up for next year.

The pigmentation in these crayons is great, they glide on smoothly and last reasonably well. The glitter isn't ridiculously noticeable (thank golly), just adds a nice sheen. I think these have a stain effect also, because colour is left behind after you've eaten etc.

In terms of quality, they're a bit waxy and drying, and the glitter gives them a slightly grainy feel. I guess that's because they're at the cheaper end of the spectrum in terms of price, although of course you'd be much better off if you lived in the US and were paying US prices. You can pick them up in the Violet Box shop.

I also like that they're self-sharpening and buildable, so you can go for a just-bitten look, all the way up to a punch of colour. I've also been using Some Beach on my cheeks as a stain (why not?!) and it looks great - just gives a nice flush that lasts well and is great for summer.

So I'm giving Some Beach ticks for the great colour, but I think you could do much better in terms of quality - especially at this price point.
I'll do a second trimester follow up to my first pregnancy post (see here) soon, but for now I thought I'd jot down a few notes on some general things I've discovered throughout the pregnancy thus far. Hopefully those of you who've been through the whole thing will have a smile or two : )

You will worry. Whether for good reason, for 'feels like a' good reason or for no reason at all.

It's true. You'll worry about so many things - should I have eaten that, should I have run across the road instead of waiting for the lights, should I have told anyone I'm up the duff before the close of the first trimester - is that bad luck?

A good example of the whole worry thing is my reaction to stacking on extra pies. To start with, I worried I was putting on too much (am I eating too much, am I overloading the kid, did the scan miss the fact that there's three of 'em in there?). Then, when the weight gain stopped and I didn't put on any weight (not even a measly 100g) for 13 whole weeks of the pregnancy, I worried I wasn't gaining enough. Was something wrong?

There was no need to stress, the scans looked fine and the obstetrician was reassuring, but I went ahead and stressed anyway. Totally normal. I've always believed that worrying and love go hand in hand; I'd be worried if I wasn't worrying.

You will ignore the doctor.

Kind of related to the worry thing but developing on that - I first felt the little one kick at 16 weeks. My obstetrician warned me that there would be days when it didn't move around, and that didn't mean anything and I shouldn't worry. Sure enough, those days came and, sure enough, I worried. Normal again.

He also said that the fact I felt it kick so early on (apparently that's unusual for a first pregnancy) didn't mean my baby was any better than someone's who didn't kick until week 20 or later. Rubbish. The fact that I have an active kid means it's going to be a star tennis player and it has a massive brain. So there.

Even if you don't worry, others will do it for you.

'I'm worried that you're so tired'; 'I'm worried that you're not connecting to the baby as early as I did'; 'I'm worried that you're not stressed enough - you seem too relaxed.'

And so on. The world worries about your baby when you're pregnant. Everyone eyes what you're eating, what physical activity you're doing, and raises an eyebrow if you carry more than one grocery bag at a time. Bugger them. Listen to the doctor and your body - forget the rest.

This leads me to my next point:

Everyone has an opinion.

You know what I mean: 'you should eat that'; 'you shouldn't eat that'; 'you shouldn't be doing that kind of activity', and so on.

This shouldn't surprise anyone, and it certainly didn't surprise me. Valid opinions are fine; eg when the doctor says to forgo skydiving for the time being, or your Mum suggests winding down the physical activity towards the end of the pregnancy because there's a lot of repetitive movement once the baby arrives (lifting it, feeding it, changing it etc) and you need to look after your arms and back.

Listen to the opinions that make sense. Ignore your husband when he says 'no heavy lifting!' two seconds after you've peed on the stick. It's totally within your rights to tell others to stick their opinions up their proverbials.

Everyone has a horror story. Or five.

I know women who've had good pregnancies and god-awful ones. One lady I met said she'd been sick the whole time, and had vomited with such force that she once broke the bathroom taps (presumably because she'd been holding on to them for support during her projectile retching).

One dear friend of mine suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. She had something like 16 hospital visits during that time, the poor thing.

I know women who've been bed-ridden for medical reasons from as early as week 17 and as late as 26 weeks, which reminds me that I'm not out of the woods yet and, while I've been lucky by comparison so far (touch wood), I should try to enjoy the good days while I can. Life can change in a day, in an instant. Use the moments you have.

I guess my point is: don't freak out and worry that the horrors will happen to you. If you're having a complicated pregnancy, my heart goes out to you. If you're not, make the most of the moments you're not vomiting/tired/feeling low - in my experience, you never know when the tides will turn.

You will become public property.

People you don't know very well will ask you intrusive questions and engage in similar behaviour. 'Can I see your belly; can I touch it?'; 'How old are you?'; 'Was the pregnancy planned?'; 'Are you married; is your husband a good man?'; 'Are you financially secure?'

While I was away in August, one lass who was staying at the same B&B wanted to follow me around and talk about children with me. I didn't want that and she soon got the message.

I guess all I'll say here is, deal with it as best you can but do keep your own lines. If you want people to leave you alone, either tell them so or make it obvious that this is what you want. You are not public property. You are your baby's property (ha) - at least for now.

Everyone becomes an expert.

Mothers are 'experts' on their own children/pregnancies but no one else's. You have to find your own way.

I've had women tell me I have to breastfeed because it's better for the baby; and one woman told me I shouldn't breastfeed because you can't see how much milk the baby is drinking (if any) and therefore bottles are better. (?!)

Speak to the experts. Follow your nose. Ignore everyone else.

90% of mothers say (or at least imply) that they followed the food rules to the absolute letter. Until you say that you occasionally bent them - then 95% will 'fess up to bending them too.

Ah, the old food rules. Ask yourself this: if you were pregnant, and someone laid out a gorgeous tuna carpaccio before you in a high-end restaurant; or if you were somewhere in the Yarra Valley and someone placed a few strips of rare beef with a pepper crust before you, to be sampled along with a sip or two of gorgeous shiraz, would you do it?

I would. Most women would, I reckon. If men were the ones carrying babies, they definitely would - although many of them, having selective memories, would pronounce they'd honestly forgotten they shouldn't eat it.

I wonder what they do in Japan - does no pregnant mother ever eat raw fish? And in France do women discriminate (based on colour) between what cheese they pick at after a meal?

I doubt it.

I don't want to 'give advice' here because I have no right to do that, though I will say that I've followed the food rules the vast majority of the time. But yes. I've eaten raw fish and rare meat. I've had some white cheese. I've also said no to things that are meant to be 'safe' because I haven't liked the look of them.

I've done my research on the food thing so I've felt safe to make the choices I've made. I did that for my own peace of mind. You will find your own balance.

Ignore everything I've said.

Here I am writing about ignoring others' opinions/advice, but I'm really doing the same thing with this post, aren't I? So feel free to ignore me completely.

It's your pregnancy. Not mine.

My last Happy post! I decided to spread my last few posts out - rather than sticking to doing one each day - in case anyone was sick of seeing my stuff posted on the Happy Facebook page (!). But it was time to knock off the final one. I'll add to this bundle of posts in future if I decide to buy more Happy products, which I suspect I will (can't help myself ; )).

The last product I'm reviewing is the Happy Skincare Pig in Mud Mineral Mask. I've used this a number of times before (having gone through five or six sachets that I've picked up in subscription boxes or in the great value sample pack), and this full size product I was lucky enough to win in a Lust Have It competition, along with a few other best-selling Happy products. Yay!

Happy claims/product details:
  • Blend of mineral-rich dry clays; a powerful (but non-drying) skin detox that will also tone, revitalise, remove blackheads, reduce pores, smooth rough skin, reduce signs of ageing and help your skin recover from breakouts
  • Works on normal, oily, combination, dry, mature, sensitive and acne-prone skin to help restore your complexion (two varieties of mask available for different skin types)
  • Includes Australian clays and the world revered Moroccan lava clay 
  • Contains a bunch of skin essential minerals including silica, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium
  • Strong enough to budge pesky blackheads and gentle enough for sensitive skin
  • After just one use your skin will have a new glow and feel amazingly soft
  • RRP $24.75 for 40g (note: every full-size mask comes with a bonus mask brush valued at $13.20)
  • 100% natural, vegan
  • Australian owned and made
  • Not tested on animals
  • Available here

As Happy notes on its website, this is a dry powder so you can mix it to the consistency you like (thick or thin, the choice is yours). This also means that you get 100% mask, making it better quality and value than premixed masks and leaving your wallet smiling. 


My journey with this product has been an interesting one. On the first couple of uses I really loved it and felt it had a decent effect: so many masks don't do much except make your skin feel a bit nicer after use, and while this isn't the best mask I've tried, it's better than most. 

After a while, however, I got sick of mixing it and tended not to use it because I couldn't be bothered. I also found it to be super messy, and it wound up all over the bathroom sink, my clothes, hands and wrists etc - it is indeed messier than most masks and the colour is strong.

I returned to using it again later when I had more time on my hands, but I'm definitely glad that the prize pack I won includes the mixing bowl and brush - this should help with the mess problem and make the whole process easier. But face masks are something that most people use only when they have time, and even the added steps of adding water and then mixing it before you've put it on your face (and then the extra washing involved to clean yourself and the sink - possibly wipe a few drips from the floor and even the walls, if you're as unco as me), can make you reach for another product instead if you tend to be lazy or time-poor.

If you're interested in reading others' reviews of the product, see here. There's a lot of positive feedback, so it looks like most people aren't as lazy and/or unco as I am (which is hardly surprising).

So in sum: this is a great product that lives up to its claims - you'll definitely notice a nice after-effect from the mask and your skin will feel cleaner - and if you're happy enough to mix it yourself (particularly because that fact means you're getting a better-value product anyway), then this is definitely worth a try.

I picked this up in the Bellabox shop around this time last year, and I've just taken it out of my stores again now that the sun is burning brighter because it has a nicely high SPF of 45.

Initially I was a little turned off by the $59 price tag, but I managed to get it on special and used some points for the purchase, so I ended up getting it for a lot less - and I'm so glad I did!

As you may know, I'm something of a tinted moisturiser and BB/CC cream junkie; I prefer a lighter base and these products can deliver great benefits like evening out skintone and brightening without making you look like you're wearing a mask - or indeed, anything at all. This product achieves exactly that and I love it. I'm around halfway through the tube now and I'll definitely consider repurchasing once I've finished it.

You may remember that I also own Erborian's BB Créme (see my review here). While I like that one too, I reckon this CC Créme is definitely the better product.

See below swatch on my hand. The product comes out white but then adapts to your skintone like magic - see the blended patch above the white stripe. You can see that it also adds a nice dewy glow.

Erborian claims/product details:
  • Créme HD a la Centella Asiatica by Erborian is the first 'high definition' radiance skin perfector and treatment in one
  • Made in Korea
  • Ultra-fine texture 
  • Concentrated in CC pigments, a new generation of 'Colour Controlling' pigments that melt on the skin, revealing a luminous complexion, freshness and radiance
  • Enriched in Centella Asiatica, a botanical active from the Korean pharmacopea
  • Prevents the first signs of ageing, moisturises, enhances your skin and helps diminish imperfections
  • Leaves skin luminous and radiant
  • Immediate and long-term effects: intensely moisturising, radiant skin (high definition), flawless skin, deeply moisturising, anti-ageing prevention, reduces lines and wrinkles
  • To use: apply in a thin layer like your daily moisturiser, before makeup
  • RRP $59 for 45ml
  • Available here

See above clean skin and below using just one thin layer of the product (click on any image to enlarge it). 

You can see a definite change in skintone, hydration and the overall look of my skin. It looks more even and there's a nice glow. Yay!


I really love this. Absolutely it lives up to its claims. It's rich, moisturising and makes my skin look better while keeping things natural.

The only thing I'll say about it is that it can be a little greasy (and smells like sunscreen), so if you have a tendency towards oily skin, you'll probably need to use it with a powder. For those lasses like me with normal to dry skin, you can go without a powder but using one seals the look.

I either wear it on its own or with another thin layer of BB cream or mineral foundation over the top for a bit of extra coverage, while still keeping things natural. It lasts well through the day and the high SPF of 45 definitely appeals, especially for us lasses in sun-scorched Australia.

Recommended. If you'd like to learn more about this, have a look at Erborian's Oz website. This is definitely the best CC cream I've tried, along with L'Oreal's Nude Magique Anti-fatigue CC Cream. While the price tag is a little hefty, I'm sure you could shop around and pick it up for less - plus the 45ml tube lasts for ages, so it's a good investment.


This will be a fairly short review because there's not much to say about this product, other than that it's not worth the price!

I bought this nail polish a couple of years back in a pharmacy when they were offering a Lancome gift with purchase and I needed a 'cheaper' item to bring me over the line. Since I'd never bought a high-end nail polish in my life - and never did again! - I thought I'd give this a go. It cost $28 and it was a lovely, 'safe' colour that I thought I'd get a lot of wear from.

Lancome claims/product details:
  • RRP $28 for 10ml (you can find it much cheaper online)
  • Provides sparkling fluorescent colour for your nails 
  • Quick drying within one minute 
  • Leaves an even, shiny finish 
  • Imparts a delicious scent of raspberry, honey or strawberry candy 
  • Fun and delightful to wear

A lovely colour. Unfortunately, the colour was the only thing I ended up liking about the product! 

Such let down, particularly because Lancome has always been my favourite of those high-end brands that grace the halls of Myer and DJs.


While this went on nicely, it's one of the worst nail polishes I've ever owned in terms of drying time (takes ages) and chip factor (take a look at my index finger above - the polish started chipping after only a couple of hours' wear).

Honestly, I've used $4 nail polishes that fare better than this. Since I did buy it a couple of years back, it may be that Lancome has since improved the formula - but I'd definitely be trying Lancome's nail polish range out before buying anything!

Don't expect this polish to live up to its claims. At all.

A disappointment. Avoid!

Around once a week, I meet Mum for lunch at Talk of the Town. Not only do we love the food, but the café is around halfway between our houses and near plenty of op shops that we like trawling through afterwards.

It's our kind of place: simple, hearty food with no frills. Plus we like the fact that it's family-run and nicely cheap. Our shared lunch costs around $20 total and there's always plenty of leftovers to take home. Yay to that!

In the glass case lies a bunch of freshly made salads, dips and other goodies like stuffed peppers and vine leaves. Happy sweets like baklava and Turkish delight sprawl across the counter.

It's definitely not fancy inside, but that's why we like it! 

A couple of tables lie outside if you'd prefer to sit there now that the weather is getting nicer.

As always (yes, we're creatures of habit ; )), on this occasion we ordered a plate of four salads to share ($16), which comes with two dips of our choice and a side of warm pita bread. I always order a chicken skewer ($6, see below) as well, since I can't imagine a meal without meat.

The salads we chose this time around were the lima bean, tabbouleh, cous cous and eggplant with walnut. The eggplant with walnut is definitely our favourite (we always order it), but note it's rich and filling, so it's good to mix it with something lighter. The cous cous was also wonderful - nicely spiced and tasty - although the lima bean wasn't as good (not enough flavour) so we probably won't order that again.

The dips are always decent and freshly prepared. We usually order the yoghurt/cucumber one and on this occasion we also chose the beetroot. My favourite dips here are probably the yoghurt/cucumber and the tahini, which is done with garlic and lemon. The labneh is good too.

The obligatory pita bread. Nothing much to say about this, other than it's fine, warm and included with the salad/dips.

The $6 chicken skewer. It's a pretty good amount of chicken for that price - I reckon there's almost a full fillet on there. It's always cooked well and has a slight seasoning. Yum. Tastes good with the yoghurt/cucumber dip especially. Can't imagine the meal without it : )

In sum

Mum and I both really love this place and like meeting here weekly for a cheap, cheerful and filling lunch. It's a no frills, simple kind of place that delivers fresh food without fuss - sometimes that's all you're after.

We enjoy going not only to have the food, but also to say hello to the owner and his family. It's that kind of place. The food is authentic and lovingly prepared, and you don't feel like just another customer. Plus you've got to love a $10 per head meal that includes enough food to take some home for snacks later on!

Do try this - promise you won't be disappointed : )


446 Glen Huntly Rd Elsternwick VIC 3185
+61 3 9528 6591
Wednesday to Sunday, 11am 'till late

A while back we received a sample Allegra Rhodes Hand & Nail cream in Bellabox. I loved it so much that I bought the full size, along with a few other Allegra Rhodes products, in one of the 30% off sales in the Bellabox shop.

I LOVE the print on the boxes for these products - I have them on display at home. The dispensers themselves are handy and look nice in the bathroom, even if the plastic itself feels a little cheap when handled.

Allegra Rhodes is an Australian company (I do like buying Australian products) that uses hand-picked, eau de parfum based fragrances so you can enjoy a touch of luxury every day. Products are certified parabens-free, sulphate-free and guilt-free - but rich in all natural Australian produced ingredients of the finest quality. For more info on the company, see its website here.

I bought the Sweet Apple & Grapefruit version of the handcream, which I have to say smells exactly like DKNY's apple fragrance. It's a beautiful, beautiful smell.

I decided on the Ocean Mist scent for the body cream (as well as the body wash and hand wash, which I'll review another time), since I generally prefer lighter, fresher smells and this one seemed like it would be right up my alley. Happily it is : )

Ocean Mist Body Cream; Allegra Rhodes claims/product details:
  • Free from harmful parabens and sulphates
  • Australian made and environmentally friendly
  • Available in four scents: Red Lychee, Ocean Mist, Sweet Apple & Grapefruit and Cherry Blossom
  • Luxurious and moisturising
  • RRP $32.95 for 250ml
  • Available here

Sweet Apple & Grapefruit Hand & Nail Cream; Allegra Rhodes claims/product details:

  • Contains eau de parfum fragrance
  • Formulated with aloe vera extract and sweet almond oil
  • Free from harmful parabens and sulphates
  • Australian made and environmentally friendly
  • Available in four scents: Red Lychee, Ocean Mist, Sweet Apple & Grapefruit and Cherry Blossom
  • RRP $32.95 for 175ml
  • Available here


I'm COMPLETELY in love with the handcream. It's rich (more rich than eg MOR handcreams) without being heavy or greasy. 

While it's not as rich as my other favourite, the Almond & Milk Handcream from Burt's Bees, it's still wonderfully luxurious and it smells incredible. LOVE. (I reckon the Burt's Bees product is better in winter or when your hands need a bit of extra TLC, and the Allegra Rhodes product is better for daily use.) I would definitely buy this product again.

I like the body cream but it's probably a bit light for me: I do prefer heavier duty creams. 

Having said this, it smells wonderful and moisturises well, and it's Mex's favourite body cream of mine - so if like him you prefer lighter creams, this is a good option. I mightn't buy it again, but I'll certainly keep the box and dispenser once we've finished the product and refill it with a different product. Again, I love the smell - light and fresh. My mum was over the other day and commented on how lovely the scent was.

Beautiful products, and ones I'm very glad to have tried. Recommended.

If you're interested in trying these, use the promo code 48573 at the Allegra Rhodes checkout; and note there's free shipping for orders over $50.

Have you tried any Allegra Rhodes products? If so, what did you think?

Having ventured into sister restaurant Hanoi Hannah many times, I'd been wanting to try Saigon Sally for a while. The reason I hadn't is probably a combination of things: it's a dinner-only joint and I often find myself eating out during the day; Vietnamese isn't Mex's favourite so I had to take a different dining partner; being up the duff sends you to bed pretty early and it's not unusual that I'm falling asleep in my food not long after 7pm.

But this week I finally went, and waaahhhooo am I glad that I did!

Saigon Sally calls itself a diner + bar and the decor and atmos definitely suit that theme. 

It's super funky and, while we were there at granny hour on a Monday, I can see how it would be a great place to go for a few drinks and some shared plates on a Friday night. I'll definitely keep it in mind for those purposes when I've regained my evening stamina.

I was excited by the menu from the moment I sat down (well, prior to then - I almost always do menu reccon online before trying a new joint, so I knew what I was in for). It's Vietnamese, yes, but I'd call it Vietnamese with a modern twang and Mexican hemming. 

I reckon even Mex could find something to love here: his gripe with Vietnamese is that the food is generally too plain (probably why I like it - I'm all about fresh, simple flavours where the ingredients sing, rather than the sauces), but this menu is interesting and varied without being too left-field or trying too hard.

I took one of my little brothers and he liked the look and feel of the place too. He doesn't eat gluten so is always limited in his food choices, but there was plenty of gluten-free fare here and the staff were also happy to accommodate/modify his dishes wherever possible.

The menu is divided into small, medium and large plates, with sides and desserts, plus a $59 banquet option. We decided to order a bunch of things a la carte.

To start with we had the Kingfish Ceviche, served with pomelo, green papaya, shallots and chili on betel leaves ($7 each). I really REALLY loved this. 

Since first discovering the betel leaf starter at Longrain around a decade ago, I've been searching for another version that even comes close. This did. It was wonderfully crunchy, tasty without being overpowering and the fish was great quality. I'm totally ordering one of these again. Bro loved it too. I think it's hard for restaurants to make betel leaf starters that really shine, but this one shone loud.

For main, bro ordered the Rare Wagyu Strip served with pomegranate, ponzu, crispy leeks and ginger ($34). 

He thought it was amazeballs: the beef was cooked beautifully, the sauce and accompaniments were interesting without taking over the dish, and the meal was a good size - with plenty of sauce left over for the rice he ordered on the side. He would definitely order it again. I've marked this dish down to sell to Mex so I can go back very soon hehe.

I went for the Vietnamese Chicken Coleslaw with coconut poached chicken, crisp vermicelli and peanuts ($16). I loved it. The chicken was soft and juicy and the salad was fresh and beautifully flavoured. 

If I had to be picky, I reckon they could cut down on the amount of crisp vermicelli and make room for more of the greens: while the vermicelli was nice when mixed in small doses with the other stuff, you couldn't eat it on its own - it's totally doused in oil and oil is all you can taste, so I could only eat a little of it. I'd be surprised if anyone could stomach the large amount of oil-drenched noodles, but maybe that's just me. Having said this, the overall flavour was great and the meal (minus most of the noodles) was big enough for me.

This is the Brussels Sprouts side served with goji berries, maple, anchovies and hazelnuts ($8). This dish was actually the one I was most excited about when I first read the menu - I couldn't wait to see how everything tasted together. The answer? Amazeballs. 

The salty/sweet combo of anchovy and maple worked wonders, the goji berries added interest and the hazelnuts a nice crunch. The only thing I'd say about this one is, I wouldn't order a whole plate of it to myself: even when divided by two, by the end of it we were both a bit over the sweetness of the maple. It's a small portions kind of dish and one that works best as a shared plate.

A rather large serve of steamed rice ($3), and too much for one - even with my bro's appetite! 

You probably can't tell how deep the bowl is from this photo, but it's DEEP. So deep that, when it came out, both bro and I commented on how much rice seemed to be in there and wondered if the bowl (you could really call it a drinks cup) went down the whole way. Bro stuck his knife in and confirmed  that it did. We didn't finish it. Depending on who you're with and how much you've ordered, I reckon this would easily be enough for three.

In sum

I loved everything about this place: the atmosphere, the food, the whole experience. And while we were the first table there just after opening time, by the end of our meal the joint was hotting up. At 6.45pm on a Monday!

I haven't commented on the service yet, but it was efficient and friendly, and the staff were helpful and much funkier than us ; )

While I like sister restaurant Hanoi Hannah, I've found that HH often gives the appearance of serving amazing food - but many of the dishes I've tried aren't that amazing (they just look and feel like they are, but the taste isn't always there). It's possible to find great dishes at HH, but you have to sort through quite a few ok ones to find them.

Based on our first experience, I'd say this isn't the case with Saigon Sally: the food tastes as good as it looks, the overall feel of the restaurant gives you high hopes - as it does with Hanoi Hannah - but Saigon Sally really delivers. The prices are reasonable and it's a good-value kind of place if you choose wisely.

High marks from me. I'm already planning my next visit. C'mon Mex...


2 Duke St, Windsor
+61 3 9939 5181
6pm 'till late, 7 days
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