Friday, February 26, 2016

February Empties: Beauty, Bath and Hair

Can you believe that we are already at the end of February? Winter sports training has started for the kids, and despite the fact that our weather is firmly in the summer camp, I can just feel the year flying by! Does anyone else feel like the year seems to go by faster and faster? This selection of empties is what I have collected since my last empties post back in October and it doesn't really seem a lot; although it does feel like I am coming to the end of a lot of other products now, so my next empties post may come around sooner next time!


This was, of course, the bulk of my empties, mostly because I am a beauty junkie!!  This month my finished products were a mixture of first time and well loved products.

Aerin Rose Lip Conditioner

I am completely shocked that I have not previously done a review on this lip balm, which is absolutely a desert island item, and my holy grail lip balm!  Every since I started using this lip balm, my chronically chapped and cracked lips have disappeared completely, replaced by soft and supple ones. With a slight rose fragrance, and the merest hint of colour, this balm adds shine and moisture to your lips. This has already been repurchased (multiple times!) and I have one in my car, one in my bag and one in my bedside drawer. That's how much I love it! It's fragrance reminds me of By Terry's Baume de Rose, but I prefer this one, and it's cheaper. Just like the Baume de Rose, I also use this as a cuticle balm, and occasionally on my face if I get a little dry patch.

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Extra Mild

I bought this as an affordable morning (non-foaming) cleanser, and while it was alright, I probably won't repurchase, having moved on to Alpha-H's Balancing Cleanser, which I much prefer. I felt like it did its job, and left my skin soft and supple afterwards, (absolutely no tightness after washing) but the smell just didn't do it for me. I can't quite describe it other than "Clinique" smelling - all their products seem to have this non perfumed fragrance to them. It's technically recommended for dry to very dry skin, but it seemed to work just fine with my combo/normal skin.

Sanctuary Spa Brightening Facial Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser

This is a great dupe for Eve Lom's cult cleanser, but in my opinion, smells better and does a better job, and for a far better price. I don't faff around with the whole muslin cloth thing, instead keeping a basket of plain old fashioned face washers next to my bathroom sink. They wash easier, and mean I can afford to have more than a weeks worth sitting there ready to go. This cleanser is amazing at taking off makeup, and since switching to it I have really noticed my T-zone settling down. I haven't repurchased yet, simply because I am using up another hot cloth cleanser that I already had, but I am sure to buy this again in the future.

Pevonia Power Repair Age Correction Marine Collagen Cream

I was recommended this night cream by my facialist and it is divine. Does it do everything it names suggests is should do? I don't know. But it feels amazing on the skin, when I wake up my skin is supple and plump, and the smell is gorgeous (but strong - if you are sensitive, I would give this one a miss). Full of supposedly miracle like things such as Hyaluronic Acid, Collagen and Squalane, this cream did keep my skin ultra hydrated, and over the long term I did see an improvement in fine lines and the overall texture of my skin. Haven't repurchased yet because I have a stash of night creams to get through, but depending on how those other ones stack up, it is likely I would try this cream again in the future.

Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum

This serum is absolutely gorgeous, feels amazing on, and (if you like the proprietary Chanel "scent") smells lovely. I bought this when my skin was feeling particularly dehydrated last winter, and it made a huge difference immediately. Containing micro droplets of camellia oil within the serum, the texture is very "wet"unlike most serums which are either more gel like, or more oil like. This felt lovely and light on the skin, and played well with all of my other creams. Haven't repurchased, simply because I like playing around with my skincare, and I have moved onto something else. I do, however, recommend it, and might circle back again down the track, because really, who doesn't love a bit of Chanel on their vanity?


Nivea In Shower Conditioner

I got this in a sample bag a while ago, and found it quite a useful product, especially on busy mornings when I don't always have the time or inclination to apply body moisturiser after my shower. Basically, you use it in exactly the same way as a hair conditioner, but on your body after you have washed. You then rinse off, and you are done. It was an OK product, but I found it left an almost filmy feeling on the skin, and I wasn't 100% keen on the fragrance, so it ended up taking a long time to finish, and I wouldn't buy it again.

Dermaveen Daily Nourish Soap Free Body Wash

I don't use this body wash myself (I like things that smell pretty!!), but it is a must have for the rest of the family who suffer from either eczema or psoriasis. Soap free, PH balanced, and containing colloidal oatmeal, this is one of the only body washes I have found that not only doesn't irritate their sensitive skin, it actually soothes them when they are having flare ups. I highly recommend this to anyone who will listen, and it is a must have in our house.

Sanctuary Spa Two Day Moisture Shower Oil

Can you tell I love Sanctuary Spa? I purchased this shower oil to use over winter because my skin was so, so dry and this promised to help. And it did! I'm not sure the moisture lasted two days as claimed, but it was deeply moisturising and hydrating, and had a pleasant (but not amazing) fragrance. I haven't repurchased because I like something lighter with a more refreshing scent for summer, but as the weather gets cooler (eventually!) I would definitely go and get another bottle.



Revlon Professional Nutri Colour Creme

If you colour your hair, either yourself or at a salon, then I am telling you, track down one of these in your shade and add it to your hair care routine. It is that amazing. A 3 in 1 treatment, colour refresher and shine enhancer, this will help extend and protect your colour. It only needs to be on for three minutes, and it works its magic. It comes in a range of colours - 1002 is great for removing any brassiness in blonde hair, and so I mix some in with the main colour that I use 812 (light pearl). This really keeps my lightened hair in tip top shape, and maintains that just been to the salon colour.

Kerastase Cristalliste Lumiere Liquide

This is a heavily scented (so may be off putting for some) but lightweight oil for hair, that I mostly used on damp hair straight from the shower, but is actually designed as a finishing oil on dry hair. I never really used it as a finishing oil because I simply found it too heavy for my ultra fine hair, and because I didn't want to throw out a full bottle of expensive hair oil, I thought I would try it as a treatment product instead. Given it wasn't being used for its purpose, it worked pretty well, but it is definitely something I would recommend for people with thicker hair than mine.

So there are all of my empties for this month! I would love to know your thoughts on these products; are some of them your favourites, too, or do you have other products you think I should try instead?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What's In My Carry On

When travelling, we would all like to be flying in first class luxury, in our our butler serviced, private shower included, suites a la Jennifer Aniston spruiking Emirates and Nicole Kidman with Etihad.  Unfortunately, I don't think that will ever happen in my lifetime, so I try and recreate my own (almost) first class experience in my cattle class seat. As cabin luggage restrictions become more strongly enforced, it is even more important to be selective with what you back in your carry on bag.

Carry on handbags


I always travel with a large handbag (with cross body strap) as my allowable personal item, and a backpack as my carry on item. This keeps my hands free, which is important when dealing with kids, tickets, passports etc.  This time, I am took my LV Soft Lockit, and the Splendiosa Backpack from Mimco. Both choices worked out really well. The Mimco backpack had plenty of pockets, including a padded laptop sleeve which I used for my iPad, making it easy to find items when I needed them. I used the backpack mostly for inflight items, and my TSA necessary liquids bag, while my handbag held our passports, travel documents, pens, baby wipes and my non-liquids makeup bag.

In Flight Entertainment


  1. Frends Taylor Headphones - forget using the flimsy airline supplied headphones, and invest in a good pair of foldable ones. Some people spring for the noise-cancelling ones (Bose ones are meant to be amazing) but I have never found that I needed to go that far. For me, I like to marry form and function, and the Frends Taylor in Gunmetal Rose Black Leather hits that sweet spot for me. They come with their own vegan leather pouch so cords are not getting damaged. These were a lifesaver for me, however, if you plan to sleep while listening to music (which I don't) then earbuds may be the better option.
  2. iPad Air 2 - My iPad comes with me on an almost daily basis in my regular life and is invaluable on a long air trip. We will be travelling for over 15 hours to get from Perth to Tokyo, and sleep and the movie will only get me so far. I load up my kindle app with books, and my Zinio app with magazines and I am all set. As you can see, I am on a real rose gold kick at the moment, so when I saw this gorgeous glitter Kate Spade iPad case I had to have it!!
  3. Anker Power Core 20100 - This is capable of charging my iPhone 6 seven times, or my iPad nearly 2 times, and can charge 2 devices at once. This is invaluable when travelling - I pretty much only use my phone as my camera, and this way I know that on the trip itself my phone will always be fully juiced. On the plane or on transit at the airport it keeps my entertainment options running! Over the whole trip, I only needed to use this once, since all of our flights except one had usb charging points in the seats, but it was such  peace of mind throughout knowing that I had battery backup if needed/
Resting on the plane


  1. Ann Taylor Poncho - part of my airplane outfit, this poncho is warm and comfy and replaces the airline's scratchy and thin blanket. You could sub in a blanket style scarf or a pashmina depending on your style, but I find the poncho sits nicely and doesn't slip off while you are sleeping. All four of our flights were freezing as soon as we took off, so having this poncho was a lifesaver. It as also super convenient as it easily turned into a neck scarf as soon as we got off the plane and were transiting from one end of the airport to the other!
  2. American Tourister Travel Neck Pillow - yes, this is not the most stylish item, but bringing my own neck pillow has single handedly made flying a much more pleasant experience. George Clooney's character from Up In The Air just fainted at that statement, but I stand by it! I am a side sleeper, and have just never been able to get comfortable in those tiny plane seats, with those tiny pillows, unlike my husband who seems to have this knack of falling asleep before the plane is even in the air! My pillow from American Tourister is convertible, so it switches between a U shaped neck pillow and a regular oblong shaped pillow. Most importantly, it comes with  a hook that allows me to clip it on to my backpack. I can't stress how important this hook is!! If your pillow doesn't come with one, either buy another one, or sew one on your self.
  3. Slip Pure Silk Eye Mask - I don't care if I look like a bit of a tosser wearing a sleep mask, but cutting out the light has made a huge difference to my sleep quality while flying. It was invaluable this time, as our first flight left at midnight, and despite the crew turning off the cabin lights, there is still plenty of light from TV screens and other people's reading lights. Plus, tiny rant here, but why, why, why did the airline serve a full dinner at 2am, when really, who is hungry? And then only a teeny tiny breakfast snack box at 6am when everyone was starving??


Now if you are a regular reader, you just know this is going to be my longest section!! I really like to treat my flying time as a little DIY spa session. Firstly, the flight itself is incredibly dehydrating, so I want to counter that, and secondly, when else do I get an eight hour stretch of enforced doing nothing time??!  I get a lot of sample size products, so I like to fill up my flight kit with a mix of favourites and products that I haven't used before. Do not try this if you have sensitive skin!!

The first thing I do after take off is

I can't bring myself to sit on the plane scaring small children with a sheet mask, so an overnight mask is the next best thing, because you can't see that you are wearing it!! Throughout the flight, I will respray with the toner a number of times and on a long trip like this one, I reapplied more mask at least once, switching between the overnight mask and Aveda's Intensive Hydrating Mask (8), a new product to me, which I really liked as well - very refreshing. I pat on more eyecream every two hours if I am awake. Make sure your toner actually contains moisture holding ingredients like glycerin or hyularonic acid; sprays like Evian that only contain water will actually dehydrate your skin more if using on their own.

I also really look after my lips and hands during the flight, since the dehydrating air can do a real number on them as well. As often as I remember, I will massage in Aerin's Rose Balm (1) into my cuticles, followed by a good helping of her Rose Hand Cream, which I decant into a smaller container. The Rose Balm jar is a bit big and heavy to take with me, but I honestly haven't found a good substitute, so along it comes! I could use the same balm on my lips, and did on the overnight flight, but during the day time flights I used Aerin's Tinted Rose Lip Balm (7) which gives a gorgeous hint of colour.

Towards landing, I follow the exact same procedure, but replace the overnight mask with a tinted SPF Day cream, in this case Alpha H's Protection Plus Daily 50+ (9). Most of these products are little sample sizes, usually just enough to last me two flights. Extras are packed in my luggage for the return flight, and as I finish the tubes, I ditch them.

Quick and simple makeup is the go when you need to apply in-flight. I don't believe in hogging the toilet to apply my makeup (there was literally only 2 toilets on one of our flights for all of economy and premium economy), so everything needs to be done in my seat. All of these items, bar the two Aerin Balms, went outside of my liquids baggie and I wasn't stopped once, but the rules are not entirely black and white, so your milege may vary. This is particularly true of lipsticks and similar products, where some countries consider them a solid, and others a liquid.

  • I already had a tinted base from my moisturiser, so a quick touchup under the eyes, and around the nose area with By Terry's Touche Veloutee Enlightening Concealer Brush (7) gives me a fresh and awake look, despite over 15 hours in transit. I am not exagerating when I say this concealer is a miracle product!
  • I dust over the whole face with the top left shade (Dim Light) from Hourglass' Ambient Light Edit palette (4) which just gives a gorgeous glowy (but not glittery) finish, followed with the bottom left shade (Mood Exposure) a beautiful plum toned blush. I brought my contour brush (1) from Sigma beauty along, and used the same brush for all of the different powders.
  • A swipe of Laura Mercier's Caviar Stick eyeshadow cream in Rose Gold (2), together with Aerin's Cool Gel Eyeliner in Black (8), and Hourglass' Film Noir Mascara (3)  gives me an enhanced but natural eye look. 
  • A dab of the Rose Balm on my cheekbones for a dewy look, and the Rose Lip Balm on my lips for a hint of colour, and my fast and simple face is complete.

So there you have how I tried to make my flights a little bit more pleasant. Packing a few key luxuries, while not overloading yourself, makes all the difference! I would love to see what your inflight essentials are!

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