* Image courtesy of fragrantica.com

I don't think I've ever done a fragrance review before on this blog (although I have given you my favourite scents), but considering that I'm going through a fragrance phase at the moment, I thought I would give it a go.

The reason why I haven't written fragrance reviews before is because scents are so personal - perhaps more personal than any other beauty item - and they can smell different on different people so I don't recommend blind-buying one, even if you think you'll like it. You just never know.

Anyhoo. I really love this perfume and always have. I bought my first bottle at 16 and I still love it at 39, so that should tell you something. It’s definitely my signature scent, and although I’ve tried so many perfumes over the years, I’ll always come back to this one.

The brand describes the top notes as comprising lily, magnolia and rose, with peach, apricot and cinnamon in its heart, and sandalwood, heliotrope and vanilla in the base. It's marketed as a sweet oriental fragrance with a spicy, woody base - and I think that's right, although I don't find it to be too heavy, which some oriental and spicy/woody fragrances can be on me.

For me, this is one of those fragrances where I struggle to nail down any particular note because everything fuses together so beautifully. Yes I can smell peach, apricot, cinnamon and vanilla, but they don't sing out and identify themselves too readily, which I think shows how well-balanced and blended the fragrance is. There's also a touch of leather to it, which I think helps ground the scent and give it some oomph. 

In terms of overall effect, this perfume smells yellow, smells like sunshine, smells like happiness and light to me and I just can’t get enough of it. It’s silky sweet but not cloying, full of life and somehow open and mysterious at the same time. Somehow fun and serious at the same time. When I wear it, I feel like myself. That’s why I always wear it on the happiest of days and also during dark times. A whiff of this always pulls me back to the mark.

I have seen this described as smelling like Coca Cola, and while I'd never noticed that myself, now that it's been mentioned, I can see why people would say that. There's a little sweet fizz in there, and while I wouldn't call it a gourmand fragrance, the sweetness stops the woody spices from being too much.

And while yes it's a distinctive fragrance, I don't think it's off-putting and you can spray it liberally to stand out or just spray a little so only those who come close will sense it (which is how I prefer to wear my perfumes - I don't want to clear a room).

I've never gone too long without a bottle, purely because I miss it too much when it's gone. What I also love about this scent is that it doesn't smell like any other perfume I've tried, and I've never known anyone else who smells of it, which of course makes it feel even more like my signature scent because I'm the only person I know who wears it.

In terms of sillage and longevity, both are good - although these days the fragrance doesn't last as well on me as it used to, perhaps because the bottle I have is a little old (it wasn't on display when I bought it, and the sales attendant had to find it in a storage room - so perhaps it doesn't sell well anymore and some of the available bottles are rather old). It's still the same scent, though - if not as concentrated as it once was. This seems to happen with a lot of perfumes these days: that is, they're reformulated and end up weaker.

The other thing I like about this fragrance is that it largely smells the same throughout its life (except after hours when most of the scent is gone). I like this because some perfumes can smell better or worse on me depending on how long I've had them on, but this one's consistent so it always smells good. And while yes it settles after the first half-hour of wear, that's all it does: settle. It doesn't change.

In sum, this is a wonderful perfume and I suspect I'll always love it. Not a lot of people seem to own it, it's not as easy to come by anymore, and it's definitely distinctive so you won't smell like everyone else. The sillage and lasting-power are also good, despite not being as strong as they were with the bottles I bought in the late 90s and early 2000s, but the strength and longevity are still better than a lot of other fragrances on the market these days so that's a plus.

My signature. Definitely a keeper.
Work has continued to be busy this month and we've had so much social stuff on that I just haven't been able to find much time to blog. Yes it's frustrating, but at least there's a reason for it so it's not as though I've been walking around scratching my head.

What I want to do today is my October favourites. While I haven't done any review posts this month, I've still been using plenty of stuff and I know which items have stood out.

Let's have a look.

Goldfaden MD Fresh A Peel

Full review here. This is an expensive product but I've enjoyed using it this month because you only need to leave it on for a few minutes (unlike other masks that take a while to work), which means I've used it a lot because it's all I've had time for.

What I like about it is that it resurfaces my skin beautifully and removes that top layer of dead skin. After use my face is left looking brighter and feeling smoother, and it looks more even and youthful to boot. It also helps my skincare to apply and absorb better after use, because it's cleared the path so things can really sink in and nourish my skin.

While I wouldn't buy it again due to the price, it does the job and I enjoy it.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette

Full review here. I meant to introduce this product as part of Project Dent, but I've been so busy that all my panning projects have fallen to the wayside - and instead I've been using it for the past couple of weeks without posting on it.

While ABH doesn't make my favourite formula for eyeshadows (they don't last well on the eye for me), they do blend beautifully and I love the colours in this palette, even though I don't get much use from the pinks and reds.

It's just an easy palette to use, and that's made it the right one to reach for while I've been too busy to think. I've also managed to hit pan in two shades over the last fortnight, so it's annoying that I wasn't able to show you progress shots via Project Dent, but at least I'm happy that it's now looking more loved.

Marc Jacobs O!Mega Coconut Perfect Tan in Tan-tastic

Full review here. This is such a wonderful bronzer and I'm so glad I bought it. You may well have heard others rave about it before, and I'm going to rave too because it's a favourite and I love it almost as much as I love my Hourglass bronzers.

It blends and applies so easily, and it's not too warm so I can wear it year-round and it goes with everything. It also airbrushes the skin, so it has a smoothing effect that helps make my skin look its best.

On top of that, you get heaps of product in here - so I think it was worth the investment and it's going to be in my collection for a while. Definitely worth trying.

Elemental Herbology Cool & Clear Facial Cleanser

Full review here. This has been in my favourites before, but I'm still enjoying it so I wanted to include it again.

It's a gel cleanser with a natural, herbal scent that I enjoy. In texture it's a thin gel that feels light as air on the skin, and when you add water it lathers up but doesn't foam, and I can tell that it doesn't contain any nasties like soap or SLS.

I love the feel of this cleanser when I massage it across the skin. The lather is velvety and it feels like it's cleansing without stripping my natural oils. I use mine as my second cleanse in the morning, and I find that my face feels clean, fresh and soft after use. Worth trying too.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light

This is always a favourite so I probably don't mention it enough in these monthly favourites posts, but I wanted to now because a few people have asked me about it recently so I thought it was timely to talk about how much I love it. Full review here.

In short, it's hands-down the most amazing makeup item I've ever put on my face. Indeed, you may have heard me say before that if I could only ever use one product for the rest of my life, this would be it. I can't see that changing: this has been my number one for years.

I've no idea what's in these powders, but they diffuse light so my facial texture (eg pores and fine lines) looks less noticeable, and they smooth the surface of my skin so that it looks healthier and younger. They also add a subtle radiance that's never too much, and I can't live without wearing one of these every day. Indeed, I've come to feel that I look 'wrong' without one. Unbeatable.

In sum

That's all from me! I hope you enjoyed this little post and that you have plenty of your own favourites for the month.

Do let me know in the comments what you've been loving lately: I'd love to hear.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x
At the moment my beauty wishlist is populated by fragrances - I'm just not up for more skincare or makeup at the moment because I have enough. 

So what I thought I would do is give you my fragrance wishlist, although I'll warn you that it's almost all Chanel - purely because that brand works for me and also because I haven't smelled anything else that grabs me lately, not for want of trying.

Let's have a look!

* Image courtesy of fragrantica.com

Prada Infusion D'Iris

This is the only item on my list that isn't from Chanel. I've wanted it for years but have never bitten the bullet because it's more of a unisex fragrance that I wouldn't necessarily wear every day. I love it, but it's an office fragrance - and since I don't go into an office much these days, I'm not sure how often I would wear it. Unfortunately I've also just seen that it's been discontinued, and I don't know whether the replacement (the 2015 formulation) will appeal to me in the same way.

It's a woody balasamic fragrance that opens with notes of mandarin, galbanum, orange and orange blossom. The heart is composed of iris, cedar and vetiver, and the base contains incense and benzoin. It's quite masculine but I think anyone can wear it.

Fingers crossed that I can still find an original formulation - or at least let's hope that the new formulation works as well for me.

* Image courtesy of fragrantica.com

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Intense

I tried both the original and this version over the weekend, and while the original wore off my skin rather quickly, this one was in for the long haul so I've asked my husband to buy it for me duty free (he's currently away on business).

This smells very much like the 2012 version of Christian Dior's Miss Dior, before they changed the fragrance without telling us (I don't like the new version of that perfume at all). While I did enjoy the 2012 Dior, it was a little too sweet and heady for me - but Coco Mademoiselle Intense gives me the same smell in a more balanced, wearable kind of way. I can't wait to own it.

The notes include patchouli, tonka bean, vanilla, orange, rose, jasmine and fruits. It's a rich smell but it's not too heavy and a little goes a long way. Definitely worth testing.

* Image courtesy of fragrantica.com

Chanel Gabrielle

I own Gabrielle Essence and love it, although it doesn't last very long so I want to get my hands on the original because it apparently lasts longer and they smell similar enough. I asked my parents to buy Gabrielle Essence duty free earlier this year (it had better reviews than the original), and I was rather nervous because I hadn't yet smelled it. But it's Chanel, and of course I love the fragrance. It's addictive.

So I went into Myer over the weekend and sprayed the original Gabrielle onto a card, and of the eight cards I sprayed with different fragrances, it's the only one that's still going strong three days later. Yes I'll need to test it on myself first, but it smells so much like Gabrielle Essence that I suspect it will work for me, despite the lukewarm reviews.

The top notes include mandarin, grapefruit and black currant; the heart comprises tuberose, ylang-ylang, jasmine and orange blossom; and the base contains sandalwood and musk. It's more floral than the other fragrances I own (I'm not normally one for florals), but there's something about it that speaks to me. It's on the list!

* Image courtesy of fragrantica.com

Chanel Coco Noir

That's right, more Chanel. Oops! It just so happens to be a brand that creates fragrances I love, although not every perfume I own is from Chanel. I first smelled Coco Noir on a friend, and I liked the scent so much that I asked her what it was. Since then I've wanted to try it on myself, and while I still need to do that, I sprayed it on a card over the weekend and really loved it.

It's more of a grown-up fragrance that's balsamic and spicy, but it's not overdone and it's a well-rounded, balanced kind of scent. The notes include grapefruit, bergamot, rose, narcissus, rose geranium leaf and jasmine, with a base of tonka bean, sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli and white musk frankincense.

It's a surprisingly wearable fragrance, given that it has deeper notes and is in the balsamic/spicy family, and while it's not top of my list for fragrances I want to own, it's definitely up there and I'm looking forward to giving it a few test runs on my skin.

* Image courtesy of fragrantica.com

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

Yes that's right, I want the original Coco Mademoiselle too - although I want to test it again to see if it lasts better this time. Certainly when I sprayed this on one wrist and the Intense version on the other over the weekend, the strength of this one paled in comparison so I'll need to test it again before purchase and perhaps do two sprays this time.

This is apparently a very popular fragrance, which I didn't realise because I've had my head in the sand when it comes to fragrance for ages - too busy raising children. I've also heard that the older bottles were much stronger, and that Chanel reformulated this and it's now quite weak. Hmph. Annoying. Might explain why it didn't smell that strong on me.

The top notes are orange, mandarin, orange blossom and bergamot; the middle notes are mimosa, jasmine, turkish rose and ylang-ylang; and the base notes are tonka bean, patchouli, opoponax, vanilla, vetiver and white musk. It does smell similar to the Intense version, but they're different and I wouldn't run from owning both of them.

In sum

That's all from me. I'm excited about growing my fragrance wardrobe again - I haven't been into perfumes as much while I've had young children, but the tides are turning now and I want them back in my life - and I do have a bit of scope to buy more.

While previously I've owned as many as nine fragrances at once (too many for me), I currently own four and that's a good number for me. However two of those four are on the way out (I have less than half a 50ml bottle left), so there's room for me to buy replacements over the next six months. Looking forward.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

My husband left on the red-eye for New Zealand yesterday morning, leaving me with two pre-schoolers to look after on my own. Although he's been away many times before, I don't think I've posted on this before so I thought I would jump online and say a few words about flying solo. How I get through it and the like. Some may relate to the challenge.

Mex usually goes to NZ on business twice a year (for four or five days at a time), and he takes another three long-weekends each year to visit his sister in Sydney or go camping with a friend. I'm happy for him to take these trips because the break does him good, and he can't change the work trips anyway so I may as well embrace them.

I'm lucky this time that my parents are here and not away, because the last two times they were overseas themselves when he left, which certainly made things harder. It's nicer to have back-up. Even when you don't need to use it too much, it's still nice to have.

What I always do on the day or two before Mex leaves is make sure that the cooking is done for the next week, so I don't have to cook if I don't need to. So I currently have a bunch of stuff ready to go in the fridge and freezer, and that wipes out something I normally do during the week so I don't have to think.

I also make sure that I'm ahead with the washing. While I'll still need to do washing while he's away because that pile is endless, I prefer to make sure that any full loads are done before he goes. That way I've saved myself another thing that I don't have to do if I don't have the time, and I find that makes a difference too.

Oh. Did I mention the dog? When my parents are here, I send the dog to stay with them while Mex is away, because walking the dog is one thing too many. If my parents can't help, we ask a friend or neighbour to walk the dog a couple of times while he's gone. It makes things a lot easier if you don't need to worry about that.

Another thing I usually do is bend the house rules and customs a bit, so the kids know that when Daddy's away, it won't be a sad time but rather a fun one. I've found this means that they're more likely to be well-behaved for me, because I'll reward the good behaviour.

As an example, while the kids normally eat cereal or bread for breakfast, when Mex is away I give them one of my muesli bars instead. The bars are healthy but they're more expensive than cereal so it's not something I would do all the time, but the kids have been pretty excited to have one of these for breakfast, which puts them in a good mood.

And because I knew that they'd had veggies and protein for lunch, I was lax with their dinner last night. I was buggered because I hadn't slept well the night before, and when I came across some frozen chips in the freezer that needed to be used, I thought bugger it and that's what they had. They were excited about this too: we've never had chips at home before and we eat them so rarely, so this felt like a big thing.

Last night I also had some kickback when I announced it was time for a bath. 'If you get in the bath and don't complain, I'll give you some chocolate.' That worked. A piece of chocolate is a fair trade for getting them washed without complaints, and it made my life easier. The only times they've had chocolate in the bath is when Mex is away, meaning this also feels like a big thing so it kept them in a good mood during feral hour. Winning.

The biggest challenge with Mex being away for the past few years has been when to have my shower, and how to have a moderately peaceful one. In the past I've had to put my daughter to bed first, then have my son in his cot in the adjoining room so I can keep an eye on him.

Thankfully the kids are a bit older now, and my daughter has enough sense to call out if I'm needed. So what I do these days is put the TV on for a bit and ask them to look after each other while I'm gone. It's only happened once that my daughter has called me down, and that was because my son was standing on the couch - so it wasn't a huge deal anyway, but she did the right thing.

While of course I would much rather have my showers without listening out for children, you have to take the small mercies and the fact that I can have a shower without watching a child is a big one for me.

The issue with Mex being away this time, is that I have a lot of work on and that hasn't happened until now. Yes I've worked when he's been away before, but I haven't consistently had this much to do for a while. This can make things harder because I need to spend the kinder and childcare hours doing that, and not keeping on top of things at home. I've already warned him that he may come back to mess this time and he gets it - you can't do everything - but it always helps to give your partner a heads up that they may be returning to chaos.

Anyhoo. I think that's enough for now. Do let me know in the comments if you've had to fly solo with kids before and how it's gone for you, what you've done to get through it.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

 * All images courtesy of unsplash.com

I've found it harder and harder to blog for the past month, and while that's mostly because work has been so busy, I'm still finding it hard to sit down and write something on those days when I have no work on, like today.

I've been scratching my head over this a bit because it hasn't happened to me before. Sure, there have been times when I've been super tired and struggled to write, but I've mostly been able to push through that and do at least one post, then get back on the blogging train the next day.

But at the moment my head's too drained for all that, so October has been my lowest blogging month on record - and it's my lowest by a long shot. My next lowest month after this one yielded more than three times the amount of October's posts, so the fatigue has definitely set in and I'll have to navigate through it somehow, although it likely won't lift for a while because my husband is going overseas on business tomorrow for five days and then of course we're heading into the silly season, so there's that.

I should say that it hasn't been a lack of inspiration that's held me back from writing. Indeed, I have plenty of ideas for posts - and over the last month, I've written topics in the subject line and then a sentence or two of text in the body (sometimes a paragraph if I'm lucky) before closing my computer because I haven't had the steam to go further.

Is it boredom? Maybe. I do think there's a bit of that. I have a bunch of beauty reviews and empties posts I could write, but I just don't feel like it. I've been writing those for over five years now, and for the first time ever, I've lost the steam for it. Are those things gone for good? Maybe again. I really can't say. This could just be a glitch in the proverbial matrix and I'll be back on the wagon next month, although the way things feel at the moment, I'd say that's unlikely. Next year. Maybe maybe.

Am I tired of beauty products? After all, I only started loving makeup and skincare eight years ago - it's not as though I've loved it all my life. But I don't think that's true. I still love what I own and use it every day, it's just that I'm no longer scouring the new releases and always wanting more - which has to be a good thing because I don't need more stuff and need to get through what I have first. 

I will say, though, that I appear to have fallen back in love with fragrance. I've loved perfumes since my teens and those have always been my beauty products of choice (the other stuff is a newer obsession), so it doesn't surprise me that I've gone back to scents. Swings and roundabouts. All the items on my wishlist at the moment are perfumes, and I've asked for some for Christmas - rather than asking for skincare like I've done in years past. Perhaps I should start to review some of those.

To be honest, I think what's going on here more than anything else is that my brain is sick of the same old thing. I've been dealing with pregnancies and babies and toddlers for the last five years, and the blog has gotten me through that period while I've been brain-dead. But things have woken up lately and my mind is no longer happy being told what to do. As in, waking up and posting a review that needs to be written doesn't appeal in the way it once did. Even writing a post on a topic that I jotted some notes down for during the week. No, my brain isn't happy with that either. It wants to be free.

Indeed, that's exactly what happened this morning. I woke up thinking I would finish my October favourites (I started that post yesterday), but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So then I looked at my list of drafts with their subject lines, and none of those appealed either. What my head really wanted to do was this, post on a topic it had thought of in that moment. And that's really been October for me - writing posts on ideas that have just come to me. There's a freedom in that, and it's something I've missed.

I guess what I'm trying to do with this post is work out why I haven't had the steam for blogging lately, because although I can point at some reasons, those reasons have existed before and I've always been able to write through them. This is different. It's deeper, more consuming, and it's showing no sign of lifting. But it does seem to me that there comes a time after having children when you want to change the status quo, when you don't want to do the same thing every day for your work or hobby because the rest of your life is groundhog day and is almost completely based around kids. So one day you throw your own little internal tantrum and do things differently. Perhaps other parents can relate.

For the moment, I think I'll just have to be happy with blogging when I can, and allowing my brain to go where it wants to go. There's so much about having young kids that can make you feel trapped, so if sitting down at my computer and writing whatever I feel like in that moment is going to help the situation, then perhaps there's nothing wrong with doing that for now.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All images courtesy of unsplash.com

I wrote a resolutions post last week (see here) and that got me motivated to get some stuff done over the weekend, so I thought I would keep that ball rolling and write another one.

My aim is to get all my plans down on paper so I can refer to them when needed, and to hopefully inspire a reader or two to get stuck into their own resolutions before the silly season takes hold and time is scarce.

Let's have a look.

Get through some samples

I can't be the only one who has somehow wound up with ridiculous amounts of samples. Everything from body care minis to eye primer sachets - you name it, I've got a sample. Or three.

While these items are small so they're not causing huge amounts of clutter, I still find that my work desk has too many samples on it (I leave them out to encourage myself to use them, but then forget to do so), plus I have a box of sachets and minis that's overflowing so I need to make a start on getting through them.

If I put my mind to it, I reckon I can finish everything by Christmas. Wish me luck!

Find the damn puzzle pieces

In my last resolutions post I mentioned that I was going to go through my kids' toys and clothes. I've started doing that and one of those jobs was sorting through the mess of puzzle pieces lying around so I could put the right pieces together and keep them in separate bags.

What I found was that we have five old puzzles I'd like to donate back to an op shop because my kids have outgrown them - however only one of them is complete and the other four are missing one or two pieces each. So annoying. I need to find them.

I've got a bee in my bonnet about this one - so mark my words, I'll find those damn puzzle pieces if it kills me. Blurgh.

Clear the kitchen drawers and shelves

I have a sneaking suspicion that at least one stray puzzle piece will be hiding somewhere in the kitchen drawers or shelves. Reason being, a couple of those are dedicated to kids' stuff (colouring books, craft activities etc) and I wouldn't be surprised if a piece or two has been thrown in there at some stage, and is now buried beneath god knows what.

So I'm going to clear out the drawers and shelves and get them into better order. Mainly in the name of finding stray puzzle pieces but also because it needs to be done. I don't think this will be a massive job because I did it last year so things shouldn't be too out of control, but we'll see.

Sort out the compost

Although I've been throwing things into our compost bin for a while, I haven't had the energy to research the process so I have no idea what I'm doing with it, and it was only recently that someone told me you need to make sure the stuff gets plenty of oxygen - otherwise it won't work.

Oops. So I need to sort out the compost bin before things get too gross in there, and I also need to learn more about what stuff you can put in there and what you can't, what ratio of different things to include, and when it's ready to be used.

This will initially be a big job that involves some research and effort, but once the habit is in place, it won't be hard.

Go through my closet

I've already talked about going through the kids' things and donating whatever we don't need, but I need to do that for myself too. I do the same thing each year: sort through what I own and donate anything I'm not using so it's not taking up space.

While I never remove much because I don't have a lot of clothing (no really: my husband owns more clothes than I do), I still like to remove the few items I don't need so someone else can use them.

The other thing I need to do is get rid of anything that's too old to be worn. I tend to hang on to clothes until they're falling apart, and I know for a fact that a couple of things at least have holes and can be sent to my parents, who use old clothing as rags for cleaning.

Go through the linen cupboard

I've really been putting this one off because it's a mess in there, but I need to do it and I need to do it sooner rather than later.

Our linen cupboard is ridiculous. Not only does it contain sheets and pillow cases etc, but it also contains towels, face-washers and bathmats. And over the last couple of years, things have been stuffed in all sorts of places so the sheets aren't necessarily with the sheets, nor the towels with the towels. The damn door won't close properly either, so there's that.

Plus I need to work out if any items can also be sent to my parents for use as rags for cleaning, and I know for a fact that some of the pillow cases have holes and can be removed. It's a huge job, but it needs to be done.

In sum

That's all from me. I guess this is something of a boring post, but I still hope that others can relate to the things I've included. I also hope that writing things down will encourage me to actually do them before the year is done.

Do let me know in the comments if you have any spring resolutions: I'd love to hear.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All images courtesy of unsplash.com

Yesterday I didn't have any work on that couldn't wait until next week, and since I had both kids off my hands for a few hours and not much energy, this inspired me to go through both my email inboxes and delete anything I didn't need or archive things I might need to refer to later.

Cleaning out my inboxes is something I've meant to do for years (indeed, I was deleting emails from the beginning of 2017), but I'd kept putting it off so I had almost 500 emails in each inbox and I needed to weed things down.

I have now, and there are only 40 items or so left in each. It's a huge improvement and it got me thinking about what other areas of my life I've needed to 'de-weed' for ages - so that's what this post is about.

Hopefully the below list will strike a chord with some and will contain at least some items that others can relate to. I'm also hoping to motivate myself into doing these things, and if I make myself accountable by writing them down, I can check back early in 2020 and see what I've achieved from my list.

Go through my countless scarves

I've loved scarves for years and rarely go without wearing one, and I tend to buy a lot too. Perhaps not anymore because my collection is saturated, but back in the day, I used to buy a lot from op shops and that's where most of mine have come from.

And since I don't have the time to visit op shops when I feel like it anymore (one of the curses of having young children ; )), I've only bought five this year and that's insanely good for me.

I bought two yesterday on clearance (they were $7.50 each) and it reminded me that I need to go through the ones I own and remove whatever I'm not using or whatever's too old and too worn to be kept.

What I then do is donate the ones I don't need back to an op shop, so I have a more edited collection to face and don't lose any in the madness. I'm hoping to do this next Tuesday because it's something I can do while both kids are here all day. We'll see.

Go through my reams of cosmetic bags

I can't be the only person who has somehow wound up with countless cosmetic bags. These often come as GWPs and contain gifts, and I've received a few from others too. I've also wound up with some when I've bought eg a body care kit, and many are relics of the days when I used to subscribe to beauty boxes. But I have too many, and I need to pare things down.

While many have been sent to my kids' rooms to be used to store things like toys that are part of a set or dolls' clothes, many of them aren't in use because the toys are all over the place and I need to go through everything and work out which of the bags can be used for storage (like the puzzle pieces that are currently all over the place), and which ones can just be donated.

So my aim will be to go through my bags and the bags I've given my kids, ask them which ones they want and which ones we can donate, and pare things down from there. It's a big job but it needs to be done.

Remove toys and clothes from my kids' rooms before Christmas

I do this every year around September, to see what spring/summer clothes don't fit them anymore and also to see whether they own any toys they've grown out of. 

While I haven't attacked the toys yet and need to, I did go through their clothes a couple of months ago - only to find that they both had growth spurts a few weeks later so I need to do it again.

This task is actually on my list today, while both kids are in care this morning. I find it's better to do it when they're not here because otherwise they won't want to part with the things I'm removing, even if I'm removing something like old baby rattles that they would never use and don't even realise they still own.

Wish me luck! Not a fun task, but it has to be done.

Donate paper and boxes

For the last decade I've been more likely to order things online (especially after having children), which means I've ended up with a variety of paper stuffing and cardboard boxes. Add that to all the subscription boxes I've received in years past (which typically came in both inner and outer box-packaging), and you have a flood of packaging - all of which I've kept to be reused.

And while a tonne of it has been reused and re-purposed (eg it's great for storing things), I still have too much of it and need to do something about the mess of box overload and stuffing spilling out of the small area I've been keeping it in. 

In particular I need to do something with the brown paper stuffing, and although my kids have painted a lot of that with old eyeshadows (we then use that to wrap presents), I need to pare down what's there and I reckon my best bet is to send it to kinder, where they often ask for things like that to be used in craft activities. It's on the list.

Deal with the filing cabinet

I swear this has been on my list of things to do before, and while I did get partway through it at the beginning of the year, I suddenly got busy with work - and when that happens, it's only the daily washing, cooking, cleaning and gardening that gets done - the extras like this tend to fall to the wayside.

So my old filing cabinet was sent back to me from my parents' house at the beginning of the year because they didn't need it (it was empty), which meant I could start sending my files into that (I'd previously been keeping them in a tower of baskets). 

I started the process at the beginning of the year, which included consolidating some of my husband's documents into my own files and also throwing anything out that was over seven years old and didn't need to be kept, but life of course got in the way and that job was stopped in its tracks. It's time to finish it, now and for all. If I can do it by Christmas, I'll be thrilled.

Finalise the Christmas shopping

While I've already bought Christmas and birthday presents for friends and family that will see me through to the middle of next year, and I've also bought the kids presents from us, we're yet to make the yearly trek to the op shop so we've got that down for the end of October when the kids are staying with my parents, and I'm looking forward to crossing that off the list.

What I also need to source is some stockings. Mum has stockings for the kids at the grandparents' house and she stuffs those with goodies each year, so up until now we've just done the sacks at our joint on Christmas Day. 

But the kids are getting older now so I would like to do stockings too, which means I need to find some stockings and also work out what to put in them (probably muesli bars, which are just as exciting to my children as chocolate and lollies), so no need to overload them with junk if they're not expecting it! I'm looking forward to doing this one : )

In sum

That's all from me. While resolutions posts can be boring, hopefully there were at least a couple of things in here that sparked ideas about what others want to get sorted before the new year.

What I plan to do is check back in once January hits so we can see what I've managed to achieve and what I'm still working on. Wish me luck!

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All images courtesy of unsplash.com

I've been dealing with panning fatigue lately (as well as life fatigue in general, because we've been so busy), so I thought I'd write a short post on that because I know I'm not the only one who occasionally faces it.

Do note that I've written a post in this area before (see here), which talks about when panning becomes part of the problem - to the point that it's interfering with making sure that your entire collection gets used. This post will be a little different.

My aim here is to air a few thoughts and look at why I'm sick of focusing on particular items, why I'm sick of the whole process in general. Hopefully it will strike a chord with some of you, so you know you're not the only ones.

As you may know, I've been a panner at heart ever since I fell in love with makeup and skincare - even before I started doing projects like Project Pan and Pan that Palette. Reason being, I hate waste and can't bear to think of things sitting around and not getting used - so I've always made sure that whatever I buy gets plenty of use.

Nevertheless, there came a time a couple of years ago when I realised that my collection really couldn't hold any more products. That's when I started writing makeup and skincare inventories to keep track of things, and while I can always get through skincare, makeup is another story. In some categories, my numbers can be hard to shift.

I think part of the issue with the makeup industry is that some products are just too big (blushes in particular), so no matter how often you use them, you're never going to get through them before the powder starts to decay. What this means in practice is that you can be plugging away at eg a blush for a year and barely have anything to show for it afterwards. This has happened to me on both occasions that I've attempted to pan a blush, and I've had enough. It's so discouraging.

What I'm also finding at the moment is that I keep working away at products and find myself with not much to show for it afterwards - eyeshadow palettes being a good example here. So I'll work hard at something, maybe hit pan here and there, only to find that hitting pan is just the beginning of the story. I'll then discover that I have months or even years left of working on something, which of course is also very discouraging. If it's going to take me that long to finish things with only small results, why keep doing it? It's a question that's been bugging me a lot lately, and I have no answer for it.

I also do miss the days when I was still panning a few items but would pick out eg a different blush and eyeshadow every day: it felt more exciting to go into my room and choose what I wanted to use that day. So in theory I could go back to just doing that, but of course there were issues with that approach too. For example, I would often just reach for whatever eyeshadow palette was the easiest and quickest to use, and I would keep using the same two blush colours and leave the rest of my collection to gather dust. So in theory panning is the better approach for me because it forces me to use everything, even though in practice it can sometimes feel boring and something of a hassle.

I think it's also worth pointing out now that my panning fatigue mirrors how I'm feeling generally at the moment. That is, tired. We've been so busy lately that it's been hard to catch my breath, and I think even the kids are tiring of all the birthday parties they've been attending (October really is a popular month to be born; September too).

So in many ways it's not panning that's the big problem: it's how I'm feeling overall, and panning is just one area in which I've lost the energy. It could well be that once I feel more motivated, my panning efforts will motivate themselves too - and while that may seem like an obvious thing to say, I still think it's an important point to make because I can't be the only person who wants to blame fatigue on panning when there may be bigger factors involved.

So what am I going to do about my panning fatigue? Probably not much. I can say that I  know I need to go easy on myself for the moment. We've been busy and we're going to continue to be busy for the foreseeable future. I didn't have time to do a Project Pan update post for September and I'll just have to forget about that and attempt to do one for October. If my computer issues sort themselves out by then, that is (for some reason I can't upload photos at the moment. Hmph).

I've also been all over the shop for Project Dent, and while I do have a couple of items in circulation at the moment, I've been reaching for other things because we've had so many events on and I prefer to just use what I want for events, rather than be tied to any particular products. That's ok, I'll just extend those Project Dent rounds for the moment and tie them up when I need to. One day at a time.

I think that's all there is to say for the moment. I guess I just wanted to get a few thoughts down on paper in an attempt to navigate where I am on the panning map. It's ok to experience some panning fatigue, it's normal, and in my experience it usually lifts just as quickly as it descends. So I guess the point is to hang in there because this, too, shall pass.

That's all from me. Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All images courtesy of unsplash.com

I haven't been able to blog much this month for a few reasons, including that I've had more work on lately and also that our social calendars have exploded, so there just hasn't been time.

But I want to keep trying to get a few posts out each week while I weather the busy storm, because it helps keep me feeling more human and I don't like being away from my computer too long.

Next up is a monthly positives post. Given we're only halfway through an insanely busy month and given I need to keep my head on straight, this seemed like a good idea for today.

There's a lull for the moment

We had four birthday parties during that first weekend of October, and we've just come off the back of my son's birthday celebrations (which included having guests stay with us for four days), plus we had another birthday party last night - but as of today, things settle for a week before picking up again.

So at least this weekend is looking reasonably free, and while I still have to face the fact that my husband is away for the last week of October (leaving me solo with two pre-schoolers), I'm looking forward to catching my breath a bit for the next few days.

More than anything I need to get on top of things like washing and cooking again, which went out the window this weekend while we were organising ourselves for my son's party and hosting our guests. The break is needed so I can get things in order again.

We're not strapped for things to do

The good news about this month is that we haven't had to plan things for our weekends because that side of things has been taken care of, and that trend is continuing into the first half of November because we have another wave of birthday parties and other engagements hitting us then.

What I also like about these social engagements is that you can usually have a chat to other parents at birthday parties, so even though these events mean that our weekends are taken up by kid stuff (they usually are anyway), at least in these instances it's not just us supervising our kids at the playground - others are in the same boat and we can get to know the other childcare/kinder parents better. That helps.

We're past the sickness season (touch wood)

While of course kids can get sick at any time of year, my son has been bringing all sorts of rubbish home from childcare over the past six months and we're hoping that the colds will ease in the months ahead.

While thankfully the illnesses he's had haven't been that bad, it's felt like he's been bringing the same cold into the house only days after he just got over it. Again and again. And since there's a lot of unavoidable food-sharing that goes on in this house, it's not unusual that myself and my daughter will get his illnesses too, albeit milder versions of them.

So fingers crossed that the worst of it is over, and that we'll be heading into an illness-free period for a while. I'm sick of going through so many tissues, sick of everyone not feeling their best. Time for a change.

The house is cleaner than usual

One good thing about having guests to stay is that you're forced to give the house a really good clean before they arrive, so we did that last week and were able to do things that we normally don't have much time for (like dusting and wiping down the skirting boards).

So although last week felt like madness because we had a lot of stuff on and had to clean in the spaces, it means that we don't need to give the house a huge overhaul for a little while because it's already been done.

This also frees up some time for me to focus on things like going through the kids' toys and clothes, so I can donate whatever they've grown out of and make more room for the stuff that will inevitably come in at Christmas. Bonus.

My Christmas shopping is done

Speaking of Christmas, I did all my Christmas shopping in August so I don't need to worry about that because it's been dealt with (minus whatever Santa may get for the kids).

I've done my Christmas shopping early for as long as I can remember, and it makes things so much easier once the festive season hits. While I would normally do it in October, this year I was early and I'm happy about that because there's certainly no time for shopping at the moment!

I also find that if I start thinking about Christmas early, then I can have my eye on what I want and look out for sales or discount codes. This makes the whole process cheaper, and of course much less of a headache because the festive season can be a headache without the added stress of running around to do your Christmas shopping at the last minute. Huzzah.

In sum

That's all from me. I'm glad I was able to finish off this post this morning (it's been in the works for a couple of days) and I'm looking forward to writing my October favourites next.

After that, who knows. I'm having issues uploading photos from my phone to my computer at the moment, so I'm hoping my husband can sort that issue out for me because I'm crap with technology and he isn't.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All images courtesy of unsplash.com
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