Versatile Blogger Award

I am so chuffed to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Beauty Box Bee. I actually really love reading her blog so I’m kind of chuffed that she even noticed by teeny weeny blog!  So thanks so much for the nomination and boosting my ego!

Rules & stuff!

1. Show the award on your blog.

2.Thank the person who nominated you.

3. Share seven facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 7 blogs

5.Link your nominee’s blogs & let them know.

Seven little known facts about me

1. I really love travel.  It’s right up their with Oxygen and cake for things that sustain me.   I have lived in four different countries (USA, UK, Germany and Australia).

2.  I am a not so very secret crazy cat lady.  Currently I have two beautiful Burmese cats.  The truth is however I’m a massive animal lover and would love to have all sorts of animals.

3. A few years ago I passionately HATED the colour yellow but it’s really grown on me and is now one of my favourites.

4. Even though I am an Australian I am the worst swimmer aka I can’t really swim at all.  I would like to think that I could save myself if I fell into a river or pool but I have my doubts.

5. I am a bit of a Christmas freak.  I really get into celebrating it and love buying everyone presents and doing Christmas movie nights for my friends.

6. I love to cook but lately have fallen out of the habit due to my busy life.  I really need to get back onto that.

7. I have the worst green thumb.  I’m basically a mass murderer of plants.  I can never keep them alive.

The blogs I nominate are:

MEMEBOX UNBOXING: MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE!

With the international shipping now ended at Memebox this will be one of my very last unboxings.  I discovered Korean skincare through memebox and it’s a bit frustrating to feel abandoned by the company especially as I know a lot of international bloggers helped promote and drive their sales.  On the other hand I understand that they have a business to run, so its unrealistic to expect them to offer a service which loses them money. I just hope that they are genuinely looking into other delivery options for people outside of China, Korean and the US. Anyway, onto the unboxing.

As someone with dry skin the thought of a box dedicated to moisturisation was so alluring.

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The box contained:

  • Bory Aqua Calming Cream 70g $54
  • Bory Q-10 Moisture Eye Serum 30ml $48
  • Vella Fresh Creamy Soap 100ml $24
  • Shara Shara Lemon Honey All in one Cream 200ml $13
  • Echoice Floral & shea butter Hand Therapy in Pure Lily 60g $2

Total Value: $141

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Thoughts:

Given the name of the box and the description I imagined that the box would be full of very lush and intense moisturizing products- which it doesn’t seem to be.  That isn’t to say that the box is bad per say just that maybe memebox need to work on fixing their descriptions.  That said these do seem to be a wide variety of different products that provide moistuirisation.

The Aqua Calming cream has a crazy great consistency which reminds me of Elizavecca Green Piggy Collagen Jella Pack – for those of you who haven’t tried this it is kind of like pudding.

The Vella soap threw me a bit as i don;t often find Soap moisturising but I’m excited to try this whipped version out.

The hand cream seemed very, very luxurious and had a great fragrance as well.

I am a bit disappointed that there was two Bory products as well as a Shara Shara one.  It would have been nice to have been introduced to some new brands before our breakup.

Overall though, I’m happy with the box- some interesting items for me to try.

MY FAVOURITE BEAUTY VLOGGERS

Today I thought I would share some of my favourite Beauty vloggers with you.

MeejMuse 

Jenn is an Australian beauty blogger, who now lives in Korea.  She does a lot of videos which focus on Korean brands and trends, but with a bit more of a western slant.

Pony 

Pony  is probably the most famous Korean beauty artist and has collaborated with Memebox. Her videos are in Korean but they have english subtitles. I’ve gotten a few great tips about applying make up from watching her tutorials.  Even though you’ve all probably seen her videos all ready I couldn’t not include her.

Lisa Eldridge 

Make up Artist extraordinaire who needs no introduction has a great range of tutorials… If you need any tips for a certain look I’m 100% sure that she’s done a tutorial on it.

So Young 

I’ve only recently found So Young which is pretty terrible of me.  If you haven’t watched any of her video’s I highly recommend checking them out.

I’d love to know who your favourite Beauty Vloggers are?

REVIEW: BANILA CO CLEAN IT ZERO

I first got the Banila Co Clean It Zero Balm Cleanser in the memebox Superbox #69: Banila Co last year. At the time I was a relatively new convert to Korean beauty products and this item sealed my love. As a Rosacea suffer with dry and sensitive skin I had pretty much declared cleansers to be my nemesis. It can be so hard to find something that is gentle enough not to cause Rosacea to flare up, and still be effective in cleaning the days make up and pollutants off your face. It feels as though I’ve tried every cleanser marketed as ‘sensitive’ and walked away think ‘for who a Rhino’?

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There are four versions of this cleanser, and even though there is one for sensitive skin I have been fine using the standard one (which is good as that is also the cheapest). However there are specialty ones for Whitening (radiance) and pore reduction (Resveratrol)

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The Banila Co Clean it balm changed my fear of cleansers. It has a beautiful texture which reminds me of coconut oil in many ways. It is solid in the jar and turns into liquid as you rub it on to your skin. Somewhere along the way oil seems to have gotten a bit of a terrible rap and most people assume that oil will cause you to breakout in pimples. However oil attracts like, so by cleaning with oil it actually attracts and pulls out oil from your pores.

Massaging the balm into your skin feels smooth, relaxing and strangely moisturising. Once you add water it emulsifies and turns white. It is easy to clean off and doesn’t leave a lingering greasy feel on your skin.

Banila Co Clean it
Left to right: Solid out of the jar, rubbed in, with water

The great thing about Banila Co Clean it Balm is that it combines the best of an oil cleanser with the convenience of a foam. It’s really easy to travel with and doesn’t leak. The other aspect I like about it is the sheer generosity of the packaging. It comes in a massive tub that lasts for ever! Although some people don’t like products that come in a jar, Banila Co provides a handy spatula for scooping the product out.

In terms of removing make up – I’ve really had no issues at all though once again I tend to stick with pretty sheer and minimal make up.

All in all I don’t think I’ve found such an effective and gentle cleanser in my life. I really can’t rave about this product enough. It feels beautiful to put on, has great but gentle results and is super easy to use. I honestly can’t think of any bad points about it. This would certainly be one of my must have items. I would recommend this for anyone but especially those people with sensitive skin or suffer from Rosacea- don’t give up- try this instead.

This is hands down a 5/5.

MEMEBOX UNBOXING: FIND YOUR SIGNATURE SCENT

In a lot of ways I’m a BIG perfume fan, I’m always adding to my collection of perfumes though I do seem to lack actually committing to a perfume by wearing it!  I loved the idea of receiving a whole memebox of fragrances to sample, which the box blurb implied:

What’s your signature scent?

Committing to one scent can be hard for most women.

This box, packed with a variety of  mood-enhancing aromas that will help you to relax and take a break from all the stress!

Why limit yourself to one fragrance when there are so many to choose from?

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The box contained:

  • Bellespiani Boutique Cleanser Rose 100g $41
  • Yahah Auto Lip Crayon in Pink Holic 2.5g $10
  • Innoface Aloe Vero Soothing Gel 100ml $18
  • Secretkey Glam Romance Perfume Body Lotion 180ml $16
  • X.O.X Kisses Mist 30ml $4 Random selection from: Green Tea, Floral, Rose Bouquet, Peppermint, Fruity, Lavender

Total value: $89

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Thoughts:

If I had to sum this my feelings about this box in two words it would be:massively underwhelmed. The curation of the box seemed all over the place, a few of the items didn’t have strong scents at all and I question how you could discover your signature scent from these items.  To be fair the mist I received was peppermint which was literally the only one I didn’t want  I’m also pretty sure this is the lowest value Memebox I’ve ever received.

The Bellespiani cleanser was a spoiler from the box and is actually really amazing and lovely. The lip crayon does have a strong fruity fragrance and has a nice texture, even if the colour is a bit neon for my liking.

All in all, I kind of wish this was the last Memebox I received as it was a big let down so it would make it easier to say good bye.

MEMEBOX UNBOXING: ANTI-AGING

At the end of last year I gave myself ban on buying Memebox‘s for a while (okay it was my husband). It was hard looking at the great boxes being posted on their website, but I comforted myself that I had enough beauty products to last 6 months…if not 5 years.

Then last weekend the unthinkable happened- Memebox announced the cancellation of shipping to Australia (and most other countries).  The only happy outcome was that my husband lifted the order ban.

One of the ones I ordered was the Anti-Aging box.  I know you’re all screaming I’m far to young to be worrying about anti- aging, but you can never start too early….. and actually I probably should have started long ago.

Memebox anti aging 4

The box contained:

  • Bory Wrinkle Repair Serum 50ml $48
  • Esthetic House Collagen Herb Complex Eye Cream 100ml $42
  • Enesti Day to Day Pomegranate Acerola Foaming Cleanser 160g $14
  • Pursmile Mask 5 Pack including: Pearl, Bee Venom, Snail Ginseng & Vitamin $6
  • Tosowoong Snail Natural Pure Cream 45ml $26

Total Value: $126

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Thoughts:

So this is an amazing box.  I actually really loved each item and felt that it was definitely a great value box.  Although I was really taken back by the JUMBO eye cream- that baby will last for years!

In conclusion this box was great and makes me sad all over again the memebox will soon be unavailable to me.

STOP THE PRESS: MEMEBOX CANCELS INTERNATIONAL DELIVERY

WOW!  So I just saw that MEMEBOX have announced that as of the 10th of February they will only ship to China, Korea and USA.  I’m not sure what to say apart from being kind of devastated and heartbroken.  Membox has introduced many of us across the globe, me included,  to great Korean beauty products and brands.

Their full announcement is available here. 

I for one hope that they do find a way to ship internationally again…and fast!

 

REVIEW: SEPHORA SYDNEY

A few years ago my then boyfriend, now husband and I took our first overseas trip to visit America.  To hear his version of the story we spend the entire trip in Sephora.  Granted we did visited pretty regularly as I had a small budget and wanted to test lots of stuff before committing.  Years earlier as a 16 year old I remember visiting Paris for the first time and ‘discovering’ the make up mecca on Champs Elysee.  I was transfixed, in loved and overwhelmed all at once.

So, you can imagine my excitement when Sephora announced they were  finally coming to Australia.  The fact that the store was based in Sydney only presented a mild challenge.  As luck would have it I was sent to Sydney by work for a meeting in early January just over a month after the doors first opened.  Score!

The trill of seeing the famous white and black Sephora design in my home country was exhilarating*.  The store was spread over two floors with make up and fragrances on the ground level and the second floor had skin and haircare products. I’d secretly told myself that money was no issue, after all most of the brands were exclusive to Sephora and they had also promised to match American prices.  For those of you not in the loop, Australians pay approximately a zillion extra dollars for identical products compared to America and the rest of the world. This harks back to preinternet days when companies could get away with over charging based on extra shipping etc. Sephora 2

As I walked around the enchanting display of makeup I realised that actually these prices were far higher than what I had anticipated (especially as I had visited Sephora in Hawaii in September a mere 4 months earlier).  Even taking into account exchange rates, higher rents and wages Sephora were clearly not sticking to their word.  sephora 3

In the end I only purchased two items, something for a friend and Tarte Cosmetics Cheek Stain which I believe cost $43 – A mark up of over 20% after factoring in exchange rates etc. The other thing I noticed was that there were no samples given at the checkout.  Perhaps they had run out of samples, but no apology was offered either when I commented on it to the sales assistant.  photo 1

Overall I felt hugely let down by Sephora, I think their Sydney stores just doesn’t match their overseas stores.  The stock they had was okay but baring a few brands there wasn’t a great amount that I couldn’t purchase elsewhere.  Additionally I didn’t see any Sephora exclusive items which are usually a big drawcard for me when I visit their stores overseas. The lack of samples really shocked me as in America you usually leave with  a few thrown in for good measure without even needing to ask.  Also their main competitor Mecca Cosmectica has started to give away pretty decent sized samples when you make purchases and introduced a good reward program.  In addition the debacle with pricing was weird.  It’s one thing to overcharge on cosmetic prices because that is the establish system in Australia, but then don’t release an official announcement saying you won’t be.

Overall I’m going to keep shopping at Mecca Cosmetica for now and I’ll buy items I can’t get there online. If  Sephora starts treating it’s Australian customers as well as it treats it’s American ones I’ll be first to convert as I know they usually have great customer service.

Have you been?  I’d love to hear other peoples experiences

UPDATE: So a few people have commented that they didn’t receive samples from Sephora stores in America.  This has never been the case with me, although I’ve probably been to some of the larger ones in San Fransisco, New York and Hawaii.  So I did a bit of googling and found that it is common practice that give up to three samples, but you may need to ask for these samples.  The two types of samples I found discussed on google where pots made up from products for you while a staff member helps you sample them (which I did but no one offered to make me up a sample pot when I was unsure of the foundation) and the other type was  samples given out at the register.  I did query samples when I was making my purchase in sydney and wasn’t told that they were only for beauty insiders nor that they could request a sample of a product be made up for me.  So definitely compared to the customer service I’m use to when visiting their American stores it was a let down.

* Maybe a slight exaggeration

ETUDE HOUSE HAUL

At the start of January Etude House had two great specials free shipping and half price face masks Aka perfect conditions for a massive haul! I’m not sure what prices are like in other countries but in Australia Etude House sheet masks sell for between $1.50 and $2. So I went nuts, and I really mean nuts. The facemasks I bought were:

  • 11x Hyaluronic Acid (Moisturizing)
  • 11x Vita Complex (Raditing Skin)
  • 3 x Royal Jelly (smooth Hydration)
  • 2 x Olive (Deep Moisture)
  • 2 x Coenzyme Q10 (Tightening & Firming)
  • 2 x Pomegranate (Smooth & energizing)
  • 3 x Korean Ginseng (Revitalizing & Nourishing)
  • 3 x Acai Berry (Antioxidant)
  • 2 x Bamboo (clean Moisture)
  • 2 x Snail (Smooth firming)
  • 2 x Rice (Purifying)
  • 2 x Pearl (Bright Complexion)
  • 2 x Honey (Richly Moisturizing)

Then I added some lip masks. I’ve had them before and am really on the fence about their effectiveness but their cute factor rates highly. There is just something hilarious about the oversized lips plus not being able to talk for 20 minutes actually provides some much needed down time. I also added eye make up brushes and the adorable My Castle hand cream in Sweet Cookie. I was kind of disappointed with the smell of the hand cream. After reading other bloggers reviews most had said they liked the Sweet Cookie the best, but I felt it didn’t really have a strong baking type of smell. Although the product is rather good as a hand cream, it’s nothing to shout about. In my opinion the My Castle range is resting purely on the packaging. Then to push my self over the $50 minimum I added some cotton pads. It was an epic shopping trip! Anyway I just wanted to apologise for neglecting my blog recently. I was away in New Zealand, but alas I am home from my holiday and have a bunch of reviews to post over the coming weeks.

MY JANUARY WISHLIST

January wishlist

The trouble with loving Korean beauty products is there are always new ones being released and they are just so cute! I’ll admit I’m such a package whore and half the time I want items I don’t need, but am in love with the adorable containers.

Anyway here is my current wishlist:

1. Banila Co  Multi Ball Powder

Apart from the gorgeous design this has a beautiful and flattering shade of blush, as well as highlighters in the centre.

2. Benefit Highbeam

Okay so it’s not Korean, but this cult favourite is the best highlighter for people with fair and pale skin.  I’m all out of it but would love to add it to my shopping basket.

3. OST C 20 Original Pure Vitamin C20 Serum

I’ve read so many reviews about this miracle Vitamin C serum I am desperate to try it (and am shocked I haven’t already).

4. Etude House Beauty Shot Face Blur 

So this is billed as photoshop in a bottle, so what isn’t to love.  However I highly recommend watching the the ad for this product.   It is so wrong on so, so many levels and you’re kind of left speechless by the end.  Those Koreans be Cray-Cray!  (BTW I speak no Korean but the ad is still very understandable)

5. Etude House Strawberry Hair Curlers

Yes you read correctly.  Those adorable strawberries are hair rollers.  Did you just die from cuteness overload?   I’ve had my eye on these for ever, but I have short hair so don’t need them,  however I have a feeling I will be giving these as birthday presents in the near future because they are awesome.