Sunday, 26 May 2013

HealthyStart: How I changed my diet!

Hey guys :)
Welcome to the first of my new series of posts that will focus on healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, being active and my weight-loss progress!
At the beginning of this year when new years resolutions rolled around (once again), I told myself that I was finally going to start taking my health and fitness seriously and make the resolution stick, unlike most years where come the first of February I throw whatever I have been working on into the 'too hard basket' and start the year feeling unhappy with myself, unfit, and just not the best version of myself that I can be.
This year I am happy to say that things were very different :)
I started this year with the desire to find out the best ways I could take care of my body through healthy eating. This involved me searching the internet and very soon becoming extremely overwhelmed by the amount of different diets advertised and how they were the 'best and most healthy for you'. This lead to a lot of confusion for me as every diet seemed to have its own set of evidence to claim that it was the best. I read about the Paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet, Atkins diet, Raw Foodism, Vegetarianism, Veganism, the list stretched on and on and on!
I have followed many diets before - the fat blaster shake diet, celebrity slim rapid shake diet, no carb diet, reverse pyramid diet, taking fat burner pills - all of which left me hungry, cranky, and not loosing any weight! Most of the time, after doing these 'diets' and having them not work I would be SO FRUSTRATED! that I would end up comfort eating and putting ON weight. Not a good or healthy way to be living life!
What I decided to do to get started was get back to the basics.
What kind of foods did I know for sure were good for me? Fruits, Veggies, Fish, Lean Meat, Nuts and healthy fats like coconut oil(in moderation of course!).
What foods did I know where bad for me? Processed foods like chips, lollies and biscuits, diet foods e.g. diet yoghurt, fad diet foods, energy drinks, sugary drinks, maccas!, dairy (full of hormones which aggravates my acne- many people don't believe the two are linked, but you can read up on that for yourselves)
The foods that I noticed as being good for me were all close to their natural state and full of vitamins and healthy natural fibre. They were all bright, fresh and tasty unlike much of the crap I was putting into my body before (McDonalds, Doritos & Pizza Shapes to name a few) which was full of additives, artificial colours & flavours, high GI carbs and full of FAT! I had constantly been feeling tired and run down and it was really no wonder, with my body trying to digest its way through all the rubbish I was piling into it. My acne was terrible, really cystic and inflamed and painful, my hair had no shine to it and was really dry and unmanageable. All these side affects had become a part of my life and I had started to see them as normal. I resigned myself to the fact that I was tired due to my uni/work schedule, my hair must just be 'naturally' limp, dull and dry and my acne must have been solely caused by my polycystic ovaries.
I decided that I was going to train myself to enjoy fresh and natural food again and wean myself off sugar and salt, which were part of almost all my meals in quantities that were far too high. I took to the internet once again, this time not to confuse myself with complicated diets, but to look for recipes and ideas that were filled with these amazing fresh ingredients and were good for my body.
After my first shopping trip, I came back with a huge haul of fresh foods including:
Chilli's and other herbs to flavour my food
Vinegar for making dressings
Other assorted fruit & veg
Green tea
Chicken Breast
Lean Turkey Mince
Coconut Oil
Chia seeds
Healthy, Low gluten and Low calorie bread options - I love mountain bread rye and corn wraps, only 70 cals a piece and you can fit a whole lotta yummy healthy fillings inside them :) !
After coming home and trying most of the fruit and veggies that I once thought I 'didn't like' I realised that I did in fact like them and my dislike was only due to being younger or the way they had been prepared when I ate them! (Fresh/steamed>Boiled til mushy) I began experimenting with wraps, salads and other different ways of preparing these healthy foods together in ways that still tasted amazing. There are literally SO MANY amazing resources out there nowadays for healthy and clean recipes that there is NO WAY people could consider fruit & veggies & other healthy foods to be boring or bland.
No excuses!
I noticed many things start to change after I changed what I ate;
1. My hair! Instead of being limp and dry with an oily scalp, my hair began to regulate itself a lot better, developed a shine and was a lot less frizzy
2. My skin cleared up SO MUCH! Previously I would have constant acne covering my cheeks and under my jawline(it sounds gross but its true!)
The one thing I realised through all my failed diets and through this new lifestyle change is that the pressure from other people will never keep you motivated to continue, nor will expected quick results, expecting things to be simple and easy, or expecting that once you have gotten to your goal weight you can just stop and go back to your old lifestyle. It just WILL NOT WORK!
You need to be very realistic when you start a new lifestyle like this - which means expecting setbacks, knowing it won't be easy, taking your time! I know that every now and then I am going to cave and have something I love like a cupcake, and that is okay as long as I keep on track the other 95% of the time :) Something else really helped me was writing down my goals and why I wanted to change how I ate and exercised, and why it was important to me. I also took progress pictures before I started so I could measure my results, it is extremely rewarding when you are taking weekly progress pictures to see how your body is changing :) you can notice changes that you may not notice by quickly looking at yourself in the mirror every day.
I knew that to change my body, I needed to adopt healthy exercising habits as well. I had been through the period of uni break over summer where I went out to eat with my friends all the time and spent most of my remaining time lying on the couch, catching up on movies and tv shows. This of course is what contributed to my weight gain so I knew this had to change!
I had joined the gym the year previously, but had only stuck with it for a couple of months due to the fact that all I did when I went was walk/run on the treadmill, or go on the elliptical machine. I thought that weights were 'just for guys' and that they would give my already pretty up and down frame more bulk and make me look manly.
This time I'm taking a totally different approach. Instead of walking on the treadmill for half an hour and burning maybe 200 calories, I ramp up the incline and jog, as well as doing HIIT cardio - where I will walk at a moderate pace for 2-3 minutes, then run hard for 5 minutes, repeating these intervals which allows me to burn 400 calories in 1/2 an hour - doubling the effectiveness of my 1/2 hr spent on the treadmill. I am also including weights into my routine using both dumbbells, barbells and machines.
I now go to the gym 4-6 times a week, depending on how busy my schedule is and how my body is feeling :) 5 months on and I have managed to keep this up! Now I enjoy going to the gym and enjoy the feeling after I have worked out hard because I know pushing myself is going to get me the results I want and a body I am happy with :)

Now I have my health and diet under control, I feel so much better. I have realised through all this that it takes an inner motivation to be healthy to keep up a healthy lifestyle. As I mentioned, many times I had tried 'quick fixes' and crash diets to bring my weight under control, but ended up feeling sick and miserable. I realised that to truly look after yourself and keep healthy, it is important to fuel yourself with healthy foods to have the energy to be active in life.

I wanted to write this post to try and help motivate others to make some healthy choices for their lifestyle. After posting some of my workouts onto my instagram, I found that instagram has a fantastic 'fitspo' community full of motivating and supportive people helping encourage each other to reach their lifestyle and fitness goals. It definitely was motivating for me to receive positive, encouraging comments on my photos and I really want to help encourage the same kind of community in my social networks like here on my blog! If I can motivate even one person or help to encourage someone to make their lifestyle healthier then that would be fantastic for me!

I would love to hear you guys sharing your opinions on what kind of healthy lifestyle/exercise posts you would like to see from me in this healthystart series, since my aim is to share and motivate all my blog readers! So far I have planned some nutrition plan reviews and recommendations, as well as posts with my favourite workouts and healthy recipes. Let me know what you guys think! :)

Monday, 6 May 2013

Newest Purchase: Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Correcting Kit

First Impressions Post:
Physicians Formula 'Mineral Wear' Correcting Kit
In colour Medium.
I was in my local Priceline today, and with my pay fresh into my bank account and some sales on, I could not resist picking something up!
I have been really interested in picking up something from physicians formula for a while, having never used any of their products and hearing such good things about them! I was going to grab the happy booster blush, tried it on my cheeks in store but I didn't really like it :( so instead I grabbed this mineral wear kit. Lately my skin has been improving a lot with all my healthy eating, so I don't need to wear as much heavy liquid foundation! :) (yay!) so I have been looking around for a lighter mineral powder formula just to cancel out the bit of redness around my nose and even out my skin tone, so I thought this product was perfect! It combined the 4 products for only $22 with the $7 off physicians formula special which was a great deal considering the foundation and the powder were around $22 EACH! And you get the highlighter and concealer as well! Funnily enough as soon as I got out of the shopping centre into the natural daylight I saw how gorgeous the blush actually looked against my skin-tone so I was a bit bummed that I didn't pick that up too - may have to make a sneaky trip back before the sale ends :P 
What drew me so much to these products was the fact that they are:
-Correcting Kit
-Fragrance Free
-Dermatologist Approved

Since I do have quite sensitive skin which can react to some random products quite badly, I now try to choose products which are geared towards being hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and hence non-irritating to my skin. The correcting kit says it aims to:
  • Colour correct most skin imperfections. Pink brightens, Green tones down redness, yellow adds warmth
  • Hypoallergenic and non-Comedogenic formulas will not irritate the skin or clog pores.
  • Delivers high-performance wear through crease-resistant coverage.
  • Derivatives of Vitamins A & E, natural anti-oxidants help to protect and condition the skin.

    The products are designed to be used in 3 steps:
    1. Concealing/highlighting of the face: conceal any blemishes or areas of dark circles/redness. Highlight high areas of the face, e.g. cheekbones, bridge of nose, cupids bow. Medium kit comes with Light concealer and Pink Highlighter
    2: Correcting powder: this powder smooths the complexion whilst its combination of pink, green and yellow helps neutralise problems areas and give the skin a beautiful finish. Medium kit comes with the shade Natural Beige.
    3. Loose powder: this loose powder provides the coverage of a foundation combined with the blendability and natural finish of a loose powder. Medium kit comes with the shade Natural Beige.

    I really am very interested to see the coverage this kit provides, and also the 'high performance wear' and longevity of the makeup throughout the day. I have found previously that powder foundations and even some setting powders have the tendency to go patchy, crease or fade during the day which makes for train wreck makeup come 3pm :/ so I'm really hoping these ones impress me!
    Stay tuned for a foundation routine featuring these products as well as a review of the kit in the future once I have had an opportunity to really try them out! :) Thanks again for sticking with me in my time of lax posting! Working on my diet/fitness post which will be up soon!
    So tell me guys:
    Have any of you tried any of the Physicians Formula Products? Have you tried this kit together or any of the products separately? What did you think?


    Wednesday, 27 March 2013

    New Years Resolutions!

    Something I wanted to share with you guys is the fact that I have actually managed to be really successful this year - with my new years resolution of getting healthy!
    Normally every year opens the same way - survive on salads and get up at ridiculous hours to go to the gym - for the first few weeks, til I get miserable and hungry and give up. But this year I wanted my healthy goals to be long term and focus on improving my diet and exercise routines, not starve myself on lettuce - and it has slowly but surely been happening! I have been reading as much information as I can get my hands on nutrition and exercise and am making a lot better choices than I previously was over the past few months.
    I was thinking of putting up a series of posts following my diet and exercise makeover throughout the next months - including tips, helpful sources, books, recipes, workouts etc. that I found helpful and motivating as someone who always found it difficult to maintain a healthy diet.
    I would love to hear your feedback on this idea! Would you guys be interested in reading posts like that? Would also love to hear if you guys have any books/websites/recipes that you would recommend.
    Thanks again to all you lovelies for sticking by me in my recent time of lax posting, I'm really looking forward to sharing the upcoming posts I'm working on with you guys!

    November-March Empties, Part 2 :)

    Back again with part 2 of my November-March Empties! :)
    This time, I have all my haircare products, and there are definitely plenty of them! Out of all products, I find the ones I seem to go through the most quickly are my haircare, so I am constantly looking out for new interesting products to try :) Hence I have a stash in my cupboard, just waiting for my current ones to be finished up!

    Organic Care 'Dry Nourish' Shampoo & Conditioner
    My most recent shampoo and conditioner discovery, and I must say I AM IN LOVE! :) This shampoo and conditioner have the most gorgeous scent (coconut-vanilla-ey), are a complete bargain at less than 5 dollar each, and do the best job at hydrating and managing my hair! Shampoo has a lovely lather and cleans well, and the conditioner is super thick and hydrating. Added bonus that it is free of SLS, parabens & mineral oil, and comes in a natural plant derived bottle - always a plus :) I think once I finish all the products in my stash, this will definitely become my permanent shampoo and conditioner... which says a lot for me, being such a product-a-holic!

    Yes to Carrots Nourishing Shampoo
    Another shampoo I am quite fond of :) this shampoo is light, has a great lather and leaves my hair shiny and smooth, however the one downside for me is the scent. Is okay for one off use, but when I am using it all week I find the scent can get to be a bit offputting unfortunately! :( but if you don't mind the scent, is quite a nice shampoo! Great that it is 99.4% natural as well.

    Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti Frizz Serum
    Love this serum! Along with my Herbal Essences None of Your Frizziness, this is my favourite :) lovely thick oil which does a fantastic job of smoothing and hydrating my hair. Love the scent too, the classic Garnier hair care smell. Will be repurchasing :)

    Nice 'n' easy Colour Seal Conditioning Gloss Weekly Conditioning Treatment
    Get these when I use Nice n Easy hair colour, and I love them! Wish they sold it in a bottle because I would be on it - smells good, good consistency, and SUPER hydrating. Try to make it last for as long as possible after dying my hair because I love them so much.

    Dove Dry Therapy Conditioner with Treatment
    Was an okay product - Liked the packaging, which was functional but looked really nice, the product was okay for a conditioner, definitely would not call it a treatment though (I have regular conditioners which do a better job!) and I definitely expect more product and a bigger packaging size for a daily conditioner (the smallest everyday conditioner bottle I have ever seen was at 250ml, and this is only 130ml!) especially since it was not cheap! Might repurchase if there was a massive discount on it, but otherwise will not be.

    Lee Stafford Poker Straight Dry Shampoo
    Very similar to the Batiste dry shampoo formula, but I prefer the Batiste scent to this one - is a bit too strong and granny-ish for my liking. Not cheap either, so will not be repurchasing. Great product if you like the scent and don't mind forking out the extra cash though. Cute pink packaging like the rest of the Lee Stafford Range.

    Products I am getting rid of/giving away!

    L'oreal Elvive Total Repair 5 Restoring Shampoo
    This irritated my sensitive scalp unfortunately :( also left my hair feeling quite dry, and squeaky feeling.. not the best!

    Schwarzkopf Extra Care Hair Repair Liquid Silk Gloss Leave in Treatment
    When I saw this product on the shelf I thought it might be the answer to the dry, dull ends of my hair, but alas it was not. I'm fairly certain this is just sparkles in a bottle, with no benefits for your hair whatsoever.. and when I say it is sparkly, I mean it - trying to apply this to your hair results in shimmery hands, neck, back arms, and wherever else the goo happens to touch. Does not even look natural in your hair! Went out into the sun and my hair was literally glittering, not in an attractive, healthy way, more in a sparkly-hairspray-from-dressups-as-a-kid way. Not impressed. I think it may have actually made my hair more dried out than it was before haha :l

    Garnier Fructis Instant Melt In Mask
    Another useless hair mask - I have picked up many of these on my haircare journey and most have them have been rather ineffectual at hydrating my hair. I left this on for the recommended time, rinsed it out, and when my hair dried it was frizzy and dry.. not happy!

    Sunsilk Plumped Up Volume Flexible Hairspray
    I don't know if flexible is the word I would use for this- turned my hair into a crispy mess. Some other hairsprays I have tried do initially make my hair a bit crispy, but once brushed out provide flexible hold. This one turned my hair crispy, then when I tried to brush my hair out, had apparently glued my hair into a knotted, tangled mess. My brush actually got stuck in my hair. Had to wash my hair and PILE the conditioner on to be able to detangle my hair. Definitely not worth the money, would not recommend this to anybody! Cost me a good half an hour of time trying to get it out, and I'm pretty sure I lost some hair in the battle.

    So that's the roundup of my empties (for now!) but I'm sure before I know it I will have built up another bagful! Let me know if you have tried any of the products I mentioned and what you thought, or if you have any recommendations!

    Hope your all having a great week! :)


    Thursday, 7 March 2013

    November-March Empties! :)

    Hi guys!
    I do apologise for not posting in so long! I am in my final year of my degree this year which means I have my year long graduating project to contend with        
    :( getting it all organized and the amount of workshops and assesments just in the past month has been insane, but finally it is all sorted out and my schedule is a little calmer, which means I can return to blogging (yay!!)
    About a year ago I had a LOT of disposable income and hence bought a ridiculous amount of beauty+bath products, most of which I have just managed to finish up, so I thought I would do an empties post!
    2 x Models Prefer 2-in-1 cleanser and toner
    Have used up multiple bottles of this, I am OBSESSED! :) its amazing, makes my skin so lovely.
    Would I repurchase? Yes!
    Enya Moisturizing Body Wash in Milk and Honey
    Love this body wash :) cheap as chips, soap free, super moisturizing, and this scent smells exactly like a caramel tart, sooo sweet and yummy!
    Would I repurchase? Yes if I see it around. Found my last bottle at go-lo but I'm not sure if they still stock it :(
    Models Prefer 3-in-1 deep clean makeup remover wipes
    Looove these makeup wipes! Really wet with makeup remover, have a click front closure so they don't dry out, have a slightly exfoliating texture, and do a great job of removing my makeup :) don't break me out either. Love them!!
    Would I repurchase? Yes!
    Palmolive Body Butter Decadent Moisutre Body Wash in Heavenly Vanilla
    This stuff smells divinnnnnneee! Super thick and creamy! However I didnt find it as hydrating as my Lux body wash even though it was formulated as moisturizing!
    Would I repurchase? Probably not.
    Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturizing Body Oil (Full size + Sample size)
    Used this in the shower as a shaving oil :) worked well for that but I'm fairly sure it is what gave me little bumpy pimple like spots on my legs so that was a bit dissapointing. Smelt amazing!
    Would I repurchase? Probably not as I think it broke me out.
    Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Daily Balancing Moisturizer
    I found that using this moisturizer actually irritated my skin and made it red almost instantly, which was odd considering it was a 98% natural product and didn't appear to have any skin irritating ingredients.. was quite expensive for the size and what it was so wasn't really happy!
    Would I repurchase? No!
    Lux Secret Bliss Fine Fragrance Body Wash
    Absolutely love these body washes :) especially the fine fragrance range. They all have a great lather, beautiful scent which lingers on the skin and are super super moisturizing. There is a great range too :)
    Will I repurchase? Definately.
    Natio Natural Vitamin E Moisturizing Cream
    Honestly WAS NOT a fan of this product. Had an okay formula, but the scent was that absolutely awful (I think so anyway!) fake natural geranium herby scent. Could not stand to put it on my face so I rubbed it on my sunburnt legs and on my feet to get rid of the stuff! Wasn't cheap either!
    Would I repurchase? No way.
    Natures Organics Clear Skin Face Scrub
    Thought I would give this a go instead of my st ives apricot scrub but was not really all that impressed. The walnut shell particles were really sharp and a bit too abraisive for a facial scrub, plus it had a bit of a greasy texture, so I ended up using it as a body scrub which it worked just fine for :)
    Would I repurchase? No, st ives apricot scrub is much better.
    St Ives Clear Skin Apricot Scrub
    Such a good reliable scrub. Love this for my face and body! Not too harsh and abraisive, but just enough guts to make your skin feel refreshed and new. Love!
    Would I repurchase? Not until I have used up some of my other scrubs, but then definately :)
    Formula 10.0.6 Seriously Shine Free Moisturizer
    Was not completely finished this but had to throw it out as it had been open for 12 months. A pretty decent moisturiser, kept my skin from getting too oily, however it had quite a strange scent. Not my favourite face moisturiser.
    Would I repurchase? No, there is better moisturisers out there.
    Garnier BodyTonic Sugar Scrub
    Love this scrub! Smells great, leaves a hydrating layer on my skin and isn't to harsh or fine.

    Would I repurchase? Yes
    Clean and Clear Essentials Oil Control Toner
    Alright toner, it was a bit alchoholic for my liking though, a bit drying for my skin. Smelt nice though :)
    Would I repurchase? No.
    Products I am giving away!
    Some products I simply do not like or they do not work for my skin type, but if they are almost full or might work for someone else, I share them around to my friends to see if they can have some luck with them!
    Garnier original BB cream: Honestly just hated this. Awful. But I have seen many youtube gurus rave about this, so maybe someone with different skin type to me may have more luck!
    Universal Brands White Lilly and Lotus, Coconut and Almond, and Orange scented bodywashes: Lovely smelling body washes, great lather, just were not hydrating enough for my pretty dry skin.
    Sukin Sensitive Facial Moisturizer: A little too rich for my skin unforunately, made me a little oily and broke me out.
    Organic Surge super-intensive daily moisturiser: Was quite a nice thick moisturizer but had the same awful natural scent that the natio cream did unforunately!

    So that's all for my skin and bath product empties, my hair empties are soon to come! :) hope everyone has a great week!

    Tuesday, 12 February 2013

    Liebster Award Nominations :)

    Was really excited to be nominated for a Liebster award by Bridget from the Life and Beauty Sandwich! Have seen a lot of these posts going around and I am honoured to be a part of it all, and thanks to Bridget for Nominating me :)
    The rules are:

    1. Link back to the person who nominated you

    2. Write 11 random facts about yourself
    3. Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
    4. Come up with 11 questions to ask the 11 people you nominate
    Without further ado;
    11 Random Facts about Amber!
    My favourite colour is purple (can't you tell?)
    I have a tattoo of a swallow
    I am 20 years old
    I am studying animal science at UWS
    I am a compulsive spender
    I have more makeup than I will ever be able to use!
    I drive a hyundai
    I work as a waitress :)
    I love weird french movies
    I love cats and I have one called Pixie
    I am obsessed with cute asian beauty products, stationary and plush toys
    11 Questions from Bridget :)
    1. What is your natural hair color?
    It's naturally dark ashy blonde, but I dye it lighter :)
    2. What is your favourite piece of artwork?
    The other day browsing instagram, I found a girl who does the coolest comic style cartoon type sketches and painting with a really girly edge and a bit of a badass attitude!: Bei Badgirl
    3. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
    Something that involved trialling/reviewing beauty products would be AMAZING! Cannot think of a better way I would like to spend my days. Having a successful blog where I could write for a living would also be amazing :) if not, something to do with animals/animal welfare as this is another one of my passions.

    4. Why did you start blogging?
    I originally started blogging as a way of keeping record of the products I had used and what I thought so I could compare them to other products and also because I love to write :) then I had people start to comment and subscribe and I realized whilst I like writing for myself, I also really liked writing to an audience, however small it is :)
    5. What makes you feel beautiful?
    When my skin is behaving, when I am eating and excercising and treating my body right!
    6. What is your most treasured item?
    All my photos and sentimental messages etc are stored on my laptop so probably that!
    7. Who is your favourite band/musician?
    Don't have one favourite, but a few of my faves aree: Rick Ross, Bruno Mars, 2 Chainz, Example, Skism, Flux Pavillion, Skrillex, Delta Heavy
    8. What is your favourite movie?
    My favourite movie at the moment is pitch perfect - SO FUNNY! Love Rebel Wilson haha :)
    9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
    Somewhere tropical, bora bora maybe? haha - though I think I would always come back to aus in the end, love it here!
    10. What is your favourite nail polish brand?
    My new favourite range of polishes is the Loreal Le Vernis polishes :)
    11. How many siblings do you have?
    I have one younger brother, who is 4 years my junior.
    Who do I tag?

    And my questions for you girlies areeee:
    1. What is something you have done that made you proud of yourself?
    2. What's your biggest fear?
    3. If you could only use one beauty product for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    4. Whats your favourite weekend activity?
    5. When putting makeup on, would you rather emphasise your eyes or lips?
    6. What are you most excited for in 2013?
    7. What is your favourite restaraunt?
    8. What is your favourite beauty brand?
    9. Favourite healthy food?
    10. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
    11. Do you have any pets?

    Thanks again to Bridget for nominating me, it was really fun answering the questions and coming up with new ones! xx

    I'd love to read everyones post with their questions and answers so please link them to me in the comments! :)

    Friday, 8 February 2013

    Valentines Swap Haul!

    Today I have a very very exciting post.....


    First and foremost a massive thankyou to the lovely Jasmine Huston at for organising the whole swap! Very generous and thoughtful of you to do all the work of assigning everybody partners and doing all the other tedious organizing involved so everybody could enjoy this swap :)
    My send thankyou definately has to go out to my lovely swap partner, Amy He ( go and check out her fantastic beauty blog @ )
    She was such a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole swap process! As soon as we got emailed with our partners she immediately messaged me to introduce herself, and made it really easy for me to get a feel of what kind of products she liked and used (which made shopping for her soo much easier!)

    This was the first swap I had ever done, and after seeing youtube vids and blog posts about some nightmare swaps I was a teeny bit nervous that something might go wrong. Thankfully I was so so pleasantly surprised so thankyou to these two girls for making my first swap so easy and lovely.

    Now onto the goodies! Amy absolutely spoiled me!
    The postbag arrived on my door (you have no idea how excited I was to see the postman) filled with little beautifully wrapped packages FULL of goodies!

    Also, how cute is the little card she sent!

     So one by one, I unwrapped the little goodie parcels....

     Lots of fun little high-end samples and some deluxe samples for me to try out! Plus the cutest ever little vday themed lollies!

     Lip Products!

    Face & Eye Products!

     Amy put lovely little notes on each product telling me more about them & why she included them :) so sweet!

     First up, the lip products!

    Innoxa Classic Colour Lipstick
    This was the first product I swatched and it is such a gorgeous formula and shade! Really smooth to apply and is very hydrating on the lips. Gives my lips a lovely shiny berry tint :)

     Panda Lip Balm!
    Can everybody just take a moment to appreciate HOW CUTE THIS IS! :) I don't even want to take it out of the packet for fear of ripping the pandarey cuteness. I may just display it for a while :P

     Benefit Ultra Shines Gloss Haute Brilliance in Life on the A list
    My first ever full-size benefit product! Sooo exciting! This lipgloss smells so sweet and yummy, and is the perfect nude :) I have been looking for the perfect nude lip product as they all seem to make me look dead or flat but this one is perfect!

    Face products!

     Please do excuse my nooby photography here as I did not actually remove the post it from over the product... derp! But this issss...
    Australis Ready Set Go True Translucent Finishing Powder
    Have not had a chance to try this out just yet, but I am almost finished my Stay Matte setting powder so this will take its place as my finishing powder after that - I will write a review on how I like it! :)

     Bio-Essence Bio Platinum BB cream
    This was probably the thing I was most excited to receive in this swap :) I have recently been OBSESSED with different BB creams, and have really been wanting to try out some of the Korean ones! My wish has been granted :P Am almost through my Chi Chi one (already! thats how much I have been using it - I love it!) and I can't wait to try this one out afterwards. Will definately review afterwards :)

     Benefit Porefessional Primer
     Benefit has such cute little samples! I love how it is actually like a little mini version of the full size bottle :) I see youtube gurus using this and loving it all the time so I was super excited to try it out. The product is a beige skin colour tone and has a texture not like other primers I have used, it is more like a paste but it does a great job of smoothing my skin for makeup and smoothing out pores :)

     Clinique High Impact Mascara Deluxe Sample
    Have never tried any Clinique products and I love trying new mascaras so super excited to try this one out :)

    Jemma Kidd i-design Eye colour
    This is a gorgeous rich pigmented shadow in a dark slightly shimmery blue. Will be gorgeous for using in smokey eyes or as an eyeliner for a change up from black :)

    Bloom Liquid Glitter Eyeliner
    Amy chose very well with this as this is a product I already use and love! Bought this exact same eyeliner on my trip to Melbourne and I use it all the time :) great to have a backup for when mine runs out!

    Korean brand eyeshadow - not sure of the exact name.
    This is a lovely pale greeney blue shadow with gold shimmers :) I think it would be gorgeous to use as an eyeliner!

    Innoxa Lash Define Mascara
    I have tried this mascara out already and I love it! The wash is really different to any I have seen before - it is really long and thin, with short stiff bristles along its length. The bristles and shape of the wand really do a fantastic job at separating lashes whilst adding an awesome amount of volume. The formula is really pigmented black, dries quickly and doesn't smudge. Is also great for bottom lashes as it is non clumpy and defining. I think once I have finished up my current mascara this will become my new everyday go-to mascara :) This product is also not tested on animals which is a big plus for me.

     Here is what two coats of the mascara looks like on my lashes :) great separation but still adds volume at the roots without being clumpy.

     All in all I was so happy with how the swap went :) loved all the goodies that Amy sent to me, and what a great swap partner she was! Be sure to check out her blog and tell her I sent you over! 
    I will definitely be participating in more swaps in the future!

    Have any of you guys participated in swaps? Did you have a positive or negative experience?

    Monday, 4 February 2013

    January Purchases :)

    Hi guys!
    Happy 1st of Feb! I know people say this at the beginning of every new month, but I really just cannot believe that January is over already! I have had a really busy start to the year, having just commenced my major third year university project (eep! wish me luck) but I am very excited for it to be Feb, with valentines day and the valentines swap I am participating in coming up soon! :)
    I made a few beauty related purchases throughout Jan and thought I would share them with you guys!

    Rimmel Scandaleyes eyeliners in Black Glitter and Bright Blue
    Saw a lot of posts from other bloggers reviewing these eyeliners and decided to pick one up for myself :) and by chance target was having a buy one get one free on eyes and lip products by rimmel so I picked up the black glitter and bright blue. The black glitter is a very pigmented, smooth black with very very fine shimmer throughout it, nice as a switch up from my normal plain black eyeliner. The bright blue is exactly that, a very bright medium blue shade which again is really pigmented and lovely :) really happy with these!

    Loreal Colour Riche Le Vernis in 609 Divine Indigo
    Saw that Loreal had released the cutest new range of nailpolishes in mini bottles with gorgeous gold lids :) I really really enjoy polishes that are in smaller size bottles such as these, as you are actually able to use all if not most of them up before they dry out or go gluggy. I have wasted half of so many full size bottles after the formula has been rendered useless which is quite annoying, especially when they are expensive! (OPI!) I picked up a gorgeous royal metallic purple called Divine Indigo. The formula of these nailpolishes is so pigmented, opaque with just one coat, they are really quick drying and the brush makes them really easy to apply. LOVE! For the price, you can collect the whole set of beautiful shades! My new favourite nailpolishes :)

    SJP NYC Fragrance Giftset
    Picked this up for just $20 at Priceline! Had smelt this scent a few times before and loved it so I'm not sure why I had not picked it up by now but this was definately the perfect opportunity! For only 20 bucks I got the 60ml perfume which is a decent size bottle, plus a 75ml shower gel and a 75ml body lotion! This fragrance is very girly and sweet, very me.

    SOHO brush set + case
    Picked this up from Target in the after christmas sales when it was marked down significantly for only 10 dollars, and didn't really have very high hopes, but was really pleasantly surprised! The brush set comes with a large powder brush, foundation brush, stippling brush, angled eyeliner brush and a few other assorted eye brushes. Normally with cheaper brushes I experience a lot of shedding and not a great ability to pick up colour, but these are really lovely :) do not think I have had even one of the brushes shed yet and I have been using them everyday. My favourites are the large powder brush and the stippling brush. Come in a black & pink slotted pouch with a magnetic closure to keep them all secure.

    Essence Cherry Blossom Girl Collection
    Was so excited when this arrived at my priceline! I picked up the highlighter pen in 01 konichiwa girls!, the double ended eyeliner in 01 big in japan (black) and the lipstick pencil in 02 its peach not cherry. Absolutely loving the eyeliner so far, it is my favourite of the 3 :) the double ended pen makes it so easy to create a variety of eyeliner looks, and the formula is so longwearing and pigmented. The highlighter pen is also gorgeous, great for highlighting my cheekbones. The lipstick pencil has a nice formulation however it does not really suit my skintone as much as I thought it did unfortunately :( overall quite impressed by this collection, I love essence!

    I was trying to keep my spending under control for January and I think I did quite a good job, did not pick up as many things as I normally do/would have liked to! Hope everyone is having a happy February and stay tuned for my Valentines swap haul post! :)

    What products did you pick up this month? Anyone else have any new years beauty/spending resolutions? 

    Sunday, 20 January 2013

    Everyday makeup routine :)

    I always find it really interesting to see what products people like enough to include into their everyday makeup routine, and how they combine products to work for them, so I thought I would put up a post about the products that have made it into my everyday routine!
    This is the face routine I have been following for the past couple of months and it has been working really well for me :)
    I begin with cleansed skin (I use my MP skincare line) moisturized with Natio sensitive gel day moisturizer, and put a lip balm on my lips.
    I start off by priming my skin with BB cream. My two current favourites are the MP BB cream in light, and the Chi Chi Super BB in light, however I have been using my Chi Chi more currently as it suits my skin tone a little better :)
    Before my BB cream has fully set, I follow up with my Flormar Mat Touch Foundation in Ivory. I really like this foundation as it is quite high coverage but is still thin, and is in no way cakey or heavy on the skin. Keeps my skin fairly matte throughout the day without being drying.

    I then cover any angry blemishes or red patches with my Rimmel Hide the Blemish concealer in Ivory. It is quite creamy and pigmented so it does a good job of covering marks and is easy to blend out.

    I set my face with my Australis fresh & flawless powder (which I find has the pigmentation of a powder foundation and sets my face well) in Natural if I want some extra coverage, or my Rimmel stay matte powder in Translucent if I simply want my foundation to stay in place all day without extra coverage.

    Next up I use some blush on the apples of my cheeks and blend back through to my temples. I like pinky blushes, my two favourites at the moment being the Essence multi-touch blush in 20 fashionista and the Victoria Jackson palette blush.

    I highlight the tops of my cheeks with either my Coral Colours palette face highlighting powder or my Essence Cherry Blossom Girl highlighting pen.

    I use my Essence Kohl eye pencil in black or my Rimmel Scandaleyes eye pencil in black glitter to line my waterline, tightline, and smudge some throughout my upper lashline.

    If I want some extra definition, I will line my upper lashline with a liquid eyeliner, either my Savvy by DB eyeliner pen, or my new current favourite, my Essence Cherry Blossom Girl eyeliner in 01 big in japan, a pigmented black eyeliner. I am loving the essence eyeliner as it comes with a thin tip end, as well as an angled marker tip end for thicker lines. 

    I then follow with a couple of coats of my essence get big lashes volume curl mascara :)

    Finally I will add a lipstick or a gloss, my current favourites have been the Essence lipstick in all about cupcake and a sportsgirl gloss I recently picked up in a light shimmery pink. Both these colours are not too dramatic but add a hint of pink to my lips and go with any outfit I put on.

    And that completes my everyday face routine!

    Have you guys tried any of these products? What did you think? What products have made it into your everyday makeup routine?