Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Melbourne Tea Festival - Review & Haul

Coming from Melbourne I'm a big fan of a good cup of coffee, but in recent years I've become partial to a good cup of tea as well, which is what drew me to the Melbourne Tea Festival! I spotted a mention of it on Facebook and marked it as something I'd love to attend, so at the end of May my husband and I hopped on a train into the city to see what the first ever Melbourne Tea Festival was all about! Keeping in mind that my husband doesn't really drink tea I knew I didn't want to spend the whole day at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and despite their being specialist workshops available I wasn't interested in spending the extra money on those this time around (entry was $15 at the door, and workshops ranged from $20-$44 each on top of that)
We ended up visiting every stall as they festival wasn't a big one, and I spent quite a bit loading up on lots of new tea brands to try. It was a little bit difficult to access each stall as there were people standing around each one drinking tea from the provided tasting cups, but it was still great to see so many Australian brands spruiking their wares. My favourite stall was the Madame Flavour one (they make my favourite choc mint rooibos tea!) because they had lots of different teas to sample, and had the owners daughter serving (seen here!) and she was an absolute star.
catching up with Mum after the festival
Melbourne CBD
Sliders on Tyres
Our sliders!
Tea Ceremony on show
Sliders on Tyres were a highlight of our day, I had The Fisherman which was fried tender calamari, crisp lettuce and lemon mayo, while Mr has The Boss with pork sausage, BBQ capsicum, double cheese, lettuce and aioli. The hand cut chips were way too thick though, next time I'd definitely get a few sliders each and omit the fries altogether. I thought it was clever to have a range of food trucks at the venue with a picnic area set up, as it gave another dimension to the event and provided much needed fuel after sampling so many tea flavours. The hauling was easily my favourite part of the day though...
I definitely didn't hold back when it came to buying new teas to try!
-Madame Flavour Afternoon in Paris tea + a stack of samplers
-Truly Tea Coconut Tea (Byron Bay)
-The Art of Tea Choc Mintea (Tasmania)
-The Dragon Tea Company Doublemint & Moroccan Berber (Bendigo)
It felt great to be supporting Australian companies and I can't wait to try all of these new blends. I love my tea sweet or minty, as evident in the flavours I chose.

Some new tea accessories I bought after attending the Tea Festival!
You can check out their facebook and website if you are interested in the next tea festival (they also hold one in Sydney!) I had a good time but wouldn't be able to spend a whole afternoon there - it was a nice part of a day in the city though, and I think I would go again if I had the chance.
Are you a tea or coffee drinker, or both? What is your favourite thing to sip?
Emma x

*Not a sponsored post, just my thoughts on an experience I paid for myself. Honesty, always.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub - Product Review

I'm hard pressed to think of a Dermalogica product I've tried that hasn't been terrific...this Skin Prep Scrub* sample cements that, and I was pleased with how long this 22ml sample tube lasted with regular use. I can't remember if I came across this in a subscription box or through the Dermalogica PR but it has no bearing on my thoughts anyway - this is one of the few manual exfoliators I've really enjoyed! If I had to classify my tastes I'd say I preferred chemical/fruit acid exfoliants, but I do appreciate a scrubby facial scrub and I like to alternate use between the two for optimum results. Goodness knows that this is better than the scratchy formulas out on the market!
"This skin polishing scrub with finely-granulated Corn Cob Meal gently removes dulling surface debris, allowing for improved absorption of moisturizing treatments. Skin is left with a smooth, healthy-looking finish. Formulated without artificial fragrances and colors." Taken from the Dermalogica website. It's also worth noting that Dermalogica are Cruelty Free and PETA Accredited.
Water (Aqua), Disodium Cocoamphodipropionate, Glyceryl Stearate, Zea Mays (Corn) Cob Meal, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Citric Acid, Malva Slyvestris (Mallow) Extract, Hedera Helix (Ivy) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Parietaria Officinalis Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Potassium Sorbate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Sodium Benzoate, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).
It's quite a thick paste-like texture and you hardly need any to get a good scrub (even on my giant chipmunk cheeks!) and as you would want from a facial scrub, it leaves your skin smooth and soft. I love applying a hydrating mask after using this and find that it allows product to penetrate the skin more deeply. This doesn't leave my skin tight after use which means I look forward to using it when my skin needs rid of all the dead skin cells. I tend to only avoid using this if I have a rare angry spot as I don't like using manual scrubs when my skin is sore, as the abrasive nature aggravates the blemish giving me dramas I don't want to deal with.
Overall a big thumbs up for me, this is a product I'd happily buy once I've worked through my stocks of scrubs. Nothing better than a smooth face, right?

Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub $49.50 AUD/75ml
Available at Adore Beauty

*Provided for consideration. Honesty, always.

Friday, June 3, 2016

May Favourites

All it takes to reinvigorate my love for beauty is a few new products to trial, finding an old favourite and seeing beauty products through someone else's eyes. A few weeks back my niece asked me to do her makeup for a party she was going to, and it was fun to rifle through the beauty drawers to find products that would suit a 15 year old, and that I was confident enough to use on someone for the first time. The star of the show for that makeover (apart from my gorgeous niece, obviously) was the Rimmel Kate Moss Sculpting and Highlighting Palette* - a surprise favourite of mine, since my typical cheek choices are distinctly mid-high end. The bronzer is what really sold me on this one, buttery and pigmented, and blends without effort which is what I need for my fair skin.
In terms of other base products I've returned to my half-full tube of Rimmel Matte BB Cream in Light*, which has impressed me so much that I recently purchased a back-up tube during the half price sale at Chemist Warehouse. It has the coverage of a foundation with the ease of application that a BB Cream would typically provide, making it a morning routine go-to when I've spent too long hitting the snooze button on cold mornings. The other face product that made it into the top tier for May was the MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural, which I'm much more enamoured with now than when I first trialled it. It gives a healthy glowing finish to the skin rather than the stark matte base I typically lean towards, which is quite refreshing for this cold weather and my dry skin seems to appreciate that.
Eyes have been done up with either my Too Faced Bon Bons palette or my Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash in Peach Prism with a slash of Maybelline Master Graphic Liquid Liner*. I'm loving how the addition of a jet black liquid line can really frame my eyes, and I can apply it really quickly with this sharpie-esque liner which is just what I was after. Lips have been pretty low-key (read; lazy) with my NYX Butter Glosses getting a workout - possibly my favourite gloss formula of all?
NYX Butter Gloss
Revlon Peach Prism (lid colour + glitter liner)
Rimmel Kate Moss palette - highlight, bronzer and blush
Last but not least we have the sweet Britney Spears Intimate Fantasy perfume, which I alternate with my staple Guerlain scent and genuinely adore, and my very first Kate Somerville sample which I was immediately impressed with. I received the Exfolikate Cleanser sample in my Mecca Beauty Loop Box (post here) and loved how luxuriously it cleansed my skin - it's been placed onto my running to-buy list for when I work through my backlog of skincare products (so I might get a chance to buy it in the next 5 years, ha!)

Emma x

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

New Favourite Nude Nails! My Nightly Craving - Gelish #579 Swatches

I was all set at my recent nail appointment to go for a deep and shimmery grey polish over the top of my clear acrylics, but then the lady next to me pulled out a few nude shades and my eyes clapped onto this grey/brown/pink/lavender nude concotion and I was all "excuse me, what number is THAT!?" I googled the number from the swatch stick at the salon and it turns out that My Nightly Craving was released in 2013 in the Under Her Spell collection, which was full of cozy cream shades that scream winter. Perfect for the rainy grey weather Melbourne is experiencing this week!

This is my first time using a Shellac/Gel/Gelish type product over false nails, and I have to say that not having to sit and wait an absolute age for them to dry has already won me over! They're also a lot shinier than a standard polish with OPI topcoat, even Mr commented that they looked fancier than normal so that's a win. Something to note is that the colour does seem to fade/change a little over time, which was also noted in this blog post I came across in my searches. It doesn't really phase me as it just seems to be a tad more brown-nude than the pinked lavender greige kind of nude it began as, and I like both of those nude variants anyway! If you're going to be scrutinizing your nails though, the shift of pink and brown may drive you a little insane.
It was hard to capture just how beautiful this shade is, so it's worth having a look if you have access to Gelish where you are. The colour change is a bit of a pain but no-one looking at my nails has noticed it and the compliments have been rolling in. I'm very tempted to pick up a full bottle of this next time I'm out shopping...

Emma x

Thursday, May 19, 2016

City v Country Haul // Sephora, Op Shopping, Revlon & T2

Living a while away from a loved one can be so tricky sometimes, so I was elated to be able to enjoy a mid-week stay with my best friend Candice a few weeks ago in Barfold, Victoria. We wanted to just spend some chilled out time together so after a lovely dinner cooked by her hubby we snuggled with tea in front of the projector and watched The Bounty Hunter - Gerard Butler, need I say more?!
In the morning we wandered around her yard checking out all the plants and vegetables, it definitely made me envious as I've not got a green thumb in the slightest. I had cuddles with her adorable husky Kye, and we ate eggs and drank coffee with the morning sun streaming in through the window - definitely one of those moments to think back to when having a hard day at work! Sometimes life can get a bit hectic, but relaxing in such a beautiful part of Victoria helped me to sit back and think about how lovely life can be.


We drove into some country towns for a spot of shopping and I wanted to share what I bought at the op-shops and country stores, but I also hit up the shops in Melbourne CBD as I had to pass through to catch the V-Line train. Here is my modest haul, city v. country edition!
I hit up the cardigan and jumper section of the op shop pretty hard, coming home with 4 new knitted pieces to add to my wardrobe. Coral seemed to be the colour of the day but I must say I'm most enamoured with the bejewelled navy pullover I scored - nanna chic is my favourite style, for sure. Brand new pillowcases were a slightly less exciting purchase at Vinnie's, but I needed it! I also took advantage of my high spirits and finally picked up the Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Sultry, which I've seen on so many blogs I admire and I think it will be a great shade for those really cold days when I need to crack out my dark winter coats.
Another beauty purchase was my very first Sephora Australia pick - Formula X nail colour in Sparklebomb which is a champagne and gold glitter. I will have a full post up on this shade, I'm quite excited as I've always wanted to try Formula X and now it is so much easier to buy in Australia!
I just couldn't go to the CBD without hitting up T2, I wanted to get Candice a box of tea to go with her birthday gift and couldn't resist picking up this Red Choc Mint rooibos tisane to try out, I'm so obsessed with chocolate mint tea at the moment that I want to try any that I lay my eyes on! Candice also rifled through her tea cupboard and dished me out a few to take home and sample, how sweet is that?!
I had such a lovely time in Barfold with Candice, and I'm so happy to be heading up there for a party at her place this weekend with Mister in tow - nothing better than enjoying the company of a few of your favourite people at the same time!!

Hope you're all well!
Emma x

Thursday, May 5, 2016

My First Mecca Beauty Loop Box

Despite being a diehard beauty addict, in the last few years my budget has leaned towards home wares and house projects over a regular big splurge at the beauty counters. I think that is why I've only just managed to reach the first real tier of Mecca's Beauty Loop program despite having been a member for quite some time. I am now a Level 1 Beauty Discoverer, which means I've spent between $300-599 annually in store. As well as the quarterly sample boxes I receive complimentary makeup application on my birthday, and as you move up the rungs to 'Level Two - Beauty Devotee' and 'Level Three - Beauty Aficionado' you get birthday gifts, makeup applications and lessons as well as special events etc. Here's a link to all of the details if you want to take advantage. The sample box is very cute and I didn't need to make a purchase in order to receive it, they simply scanned my card and were really friendly overall (as they always are at Mecca!) It comes with a card of product details which I think is a nice touch, and very reminiscent of beauty subscription boxes.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer
I've used this before and really liked how it felt on my lids and how it gripped onto my powder eyeshadows to help them last. Experience has told me that I can stretch a sachet like this out for 2, possibly 3 uses if I don't let it dry out.
Josie Maran Cosmetics 100% Pure Argan Oil 4.5ml
This was easily the most exciting product in the L1 box, how dinky is the miniature bottle? I've always wanted to try out something from Josie Maran and I haven't used an oil product in the longest time, so this is a wonderful addition for me!
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser 2ml
Another brand I've yet to try, I have heard great things though so I'm looking forward to trying out this foaming exfoliating cleanser for the first time!
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer 1ml
I love a good primer, and this is meant to be the bees knees! I know the lovely Vita from Making Up 4 My Age liked this one so fingers crossed it works for my skin.

Have you tried any of these products?
What store cards do you find the most beneficial, and which aren't worth it?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

She's a Bad Muffuletta - OPI New Orleans Collection

As soon as I caught wind of the OPI New Orleans collection, I knew I was going to indulge in a bottle or two. I love their travel collections and after binge-watching Hart of Dixie I had popped New Orleans onto my travel bucket list, so the timing was perfect for me. I made my way into Myer planning on perhaps getting the the green I'm Sooo Swamped shade and the bright blue Rich Girls and Po' Boys - but as you can see from this post, the full bottle I purchased couldn't be further from those shades! I chose the hot red crème She's A Bad Muffuletta - but she isn't just an ordinary red...

I had never heard the word muffuletta before this collection launched, and I had to look up what it was after I purchased this polish. This is what Wikipedia taught me:
The muffuletta is both a type of round Sicilian sesame bread and a popular sandwich originating among Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana using the same bread.
That wasn't really what I had predicted but it makes me laugh that I love a sandwich on my nails ;) In some lights this throws a pink edge and in others it looks more red (also noted in this swatch post) but the tone is definitely flattering on my pale skin and a red that I desperately needed in my collection - I'm often quite scared to wear red despite loving the shade on others, so this was the pep up I needed to brave the colour myself.

I'm really glad I chose a full bottle of this, I can see it working as both a warm and cool weather colour and I would have run through the mini bottle too quickly. I also picked up the OPI New Orleans mini pack when I went to Myer, so expect to see those shades on me at some point, too.
Next on my hit-list is Got Myself Into a Jam-balaya from the same collection as I just can't get the peach coral out of my head, and I don't think the mini bottle I have in the pack will suffice.
Did anything from the OPI New Orleans collection catch your eye?
What is your ultimate red nail polish?
-Emma x
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