September Self-Love

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This month on instagram, @sallyobermeder has been posting about “Self Care September”, which involves her doing something for herself each day. For those who don’t know Sally, she is a business owner, TV presenter, mum of 2, wife, sister and daughter, to name a few things. So we can safely assume she is busy, and not taking out time for herself on a daily basis.

We hear about self-care and self-love a lot, and it is definitely a buzz word as of late, but are we actually doing it? What are you doing for yourself? We can get really caught up in the rat race of everyday, and quickly forget to fill our tank with some self-love and self-care, and instead just focus on some far away event that may offer some relief. I am a big believer in self-care; like everyone reading this, I hold a number of different titles and want to make the most of my time. Everyone needs some time to recharge and reset, wherever they are in life – whether you are a busy Mum, at the start of a business, an under-pressure uni student, or even a combination of all of those things – take some time out to love yourself.

I’ve listed 7 things that I have personally found helpful – these are not meant to be a prescription for someone else, or even a suggestion that this is the ideal combination; rather, these are things that work for me.

1. At Home Yoga

This has been such an amazing discovery this year, despite being told about this over a year ago. Yoga with Adriene (find her here) has a YouTube channel with loads of yoga practice. I am definitely not a yogi, having been to maybe 20 classes in my life (and I’m probably being very generous in saying 20). This practice has worked for me because it can be done at any time (no travel time to the gym required and no rush to make it to a class time), it’s done totally solo (great when I need time away from others), and there are a huge range of videos to choose from (meaning I can choose one to aid sleep if I’m practising at 11pm). This has also helped me work towards my goal of daily movement, particularly on days where I finish work late, or just don’t feel very inspired to attend a gym class.

2. Audible

Now, for all the book purists who are ready to shun me, just hear me out. For those of us who are not sitting on a train to commute to work, and not reaching for a book each night before bed (I personally can do about 5 pages before my eyes grow heavy), it can be really difficult to get through a book. I still love a real book, I also have a Kobo (a type of e-reader), and have jumped on the Audible bandwagon about a year ago. For those who are in the car a lot, or busy in the home, running after little kids, Audible is a fantastic way of engaging in a book. The range of books available is huge and many of the narrators actually create an additional experience for the listener. You can sign up to a membership, where you receive 1 credit every month for $14.95, which you can use on any book. If you hate the radio (I admit, this is me), and are in the car a lot, give it a try. It’s much better than listening to garbage talk back radio – you’ll be smarter for it.

3. Podcasts

For regular readers, you will recall that I recently posted about my love for podcasts. I think I can safely say that I just really hate listening to the radio, and spend a lot of time in my car. It feels like there is a podcast for everything; pick a topic of interest, hunt around for a podcast and hit play. I personally set myself a goal to listen to a full episode before I make a judgement about the podcast and whether I will continue to listen to it.

4. Skincare

Long-time readers of this blog will know that it’s history is my love for makeup and beauty. In 2018, I am confident in saying MAKEUP IS OUT, SKINCARE IS IN. Being a cake-face is no longer the trend, and instead spending time on the foundations of beauty is key.  Just like makeup can make you feel good, great skincare will make you feel fabulous. If you aren’t sure where to begin, I recommend the following: a cleanser, a decent moisturiser, a face oil and a face mask – and then actually use them. It is the easiest form of self-care – pop these items next to your toothbrush and you won’t forget them (and there aren’t that many, so they won’t create too much clutter). Use the cleanser and moisturiser every morning and night, the face oil most nights of the week and the face mask once a week – your skin will love you, and you will love it. This is also a great form of self-care if you aren’t in a position to carve out true “me time”, but need something to fill your cup.

5. Meal Planning

I am still trying to get a handle on this part of my life – admittedly, I have no kids to feed, so I just have to worry about myself. I am not really into the idea of meal prep – the concept of eating the same salad everyday for the whole week is not my idea of me living my best life (but if it works for you: you do you). Instead, I am just trying to embrace the idea of having a plan for Monday to Friday: 5 lunches and 5 dinners. I don’t need to worry about the weekend, because there are either cafes to visit, or there is time to wake up and consider what will be on the menu that day. I am a long-time lover of Donna Hay and her mid-week recipes, and I have recently started watching Emmy Lou Loves on Instagram for some cooking inspiration, and am following some recipes from Super Green Simple and Lean by Sally Obermeder & Maha Koraiem.

6. Social Media Strategy

This sounds like I’m going to talk about planning your content and your posts, but it is really not that. As a lover of social media, I am acutely aware of the time-suck that Instagram can be.  Add to that, the effects on our mental health, our feelings of self-worth, our ideas of what makes a good life, how we should spend our weekends, just to name a few. Everyone who uses social media can identify issues with it, yet very few of us have guidelines around how we use it. If I asked you what is the best way to utilise 5 minutes of quiet time, there are probably a number of things that jump to mind before saying “scroll Instagram”.

So instead, a way of practising some self-care with social media is having a strategy around how we use it – things like, turning off notifications; not having specific apps on our phones; using the “do not disturb” function; using “flight mode”; whatever works for you. I have personally turned off all notifications – I get the “ding” of WhatsApp, no banners, no lighting up, and no bubbles for things to check on Instagram or Facebook – and this has been liberating for me. Our phones are designed to distract us, and pull us away from what we are doing, and then social media will suck us in further  – everyone always looks like they are living a better life than you. Don’t let your phone control you; think about how you can disconnect a little bit.

7. Relationships

I’ve saved the toughest one until last – relationships. As the well-known quote says “people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime”. Not everyone is designed to be in our lives forever, yet we often let people stay for longer than they should. Whether it’s a fear of losing too many friends, the fear that we are overreacting or our expectations are too high, or just maintaining relationships for convenience; we sometimes let relationships that no longer serve us, hang around. Even worse, sometimes we will let poisonous relationships hang on, despite the obvious red flags. If you have a friend who you don’t feel excited to see, are seeing out of obligation, or even someone you kind of resent – end it. Your time is too precious to have relationships that don’t serve any purpose, and they just become another time-suck.

 

I don’t always engage in these activities or thought processes, but I find that when I do, I go to work with more patience, I enjoy my time with others more, and generally feel my time is better spent. Things like ending friendships are really tough. They are a big deal, and need some thought and planning, and then some level of grieving and acceptance of change. Things like moving your body on a daily basis can be adapted pretty easily, and will pay off pretty quickly.

Whatever it is that feeds you, stick with it, and carve out some time for your precious self.

If you have any extra ideas or comments about what works for you, please pop it in the comments below.

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Podcast Picks

Are podcasts having a moment? Are they the modern day radio? Are people switching off the radio completely? Does anyone else think about being on a podcast? Starting their own podcast?

Think whatever you want about podcasts – but they are definitely a thing. According to the Annual Podcast Survey in 2017, released by the ABC, 89% of Australians claim to be aware of podcasts and more than half of adult Australians have tried a podcast. Those who commit to a subscription or regular listening are highly engaged – on average, regular listeners will listen to 6 episodes per week. They are either ad-free or very few ads, and you will likely find something that is up your alley – true crime, comedy, interviews, business news, travel talk, book clubs; whatever suits you. I’ll admit there is a high percentage of true crime podcasting, but clearly it’s because people can’t get enough.

Here are my top 5 podcast picks – current as of September 2018! A new podcast can be released and totally shift up what’s popular, so I am always checking out the top podcast charts on iTunes to see if there is something else to check out. I use the Apple Podcast app – I’ve tried a few others, but have never officially made the switch. acast and Castbox are two others apps that get mentioned a lot for podcasting, so check those out if you are looking for a podcasting app.

ABC CONVERSATIONS

ABC Conversations

What a bloody great podcast. I love the Australian relevance of this podcast – so many great Aussies are interviewed, and just generally really interesting and well-known people (not always Australians). This is the podcast version of the daily 12pm interviews on ABC 702 – sounds weird that I am into ABC 702, but I used to love listening to this program while I would drive around on home visits – mobile therapy life can be a lonely one. There are daily interviews, so I recommend looking through the list and finding one that stands out for you. An excellent one to start on is Saroo Brierley, author of the story, A Long Way Home, which was made into the movie Lion.

MAMAMIA OUT LOUD

Mamamia Out Loud

I am the first to admit that I am not the world’s biggest Mia Freedman fan, but I recommend you look past that, and give this podcast a chance. This podcast is released twice a week, and is essentially a conversation of all things current – and it is not just Mia talking. Her co-hosts, Holly Wainwright and Jessie Stephens, along with Rachel Corbett, are excellent, and they really know how to make a podcast. I do warn you though, you may come to like Mia Freedman a bit more once you start listening.

THE TEACHER’S PET

Teacher's Pet

If you haven’t heard this, and are living in 2018 – WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? This is definitely the Australian podcast of the year, with over a million downloads. This podcast outlines the true story of a Mum on the Northern Beaches who went missing in the 80’s. Her body was never found, and her ex-footballer husband moved his teenage girlfriend into the family home days after she went missing – it’s very suss. Don’t hesitate and just start listening – then come join us around the water cooler to discuss it.

AT HOME WITH…

At Home With

Ah, these two bloggers have made the most fabulous podcast. Hosted by Anna Newton and Lily Pebbles, this podcast enters the home of well-known Brits, and takes us on a tour of their lives and their living spaces. It has photo content paired with the podcast, which can be viewed on acast, but it won’t be lost on you if you just listen to the audio content. They interview some great people, including Lisa Eldridge and Lucy Williams, and they are incredibly engaging. You will love this even more if you love all things British, like I do. I also recommend this if you want some home decor and lifestyle inspiration.

SOCIALETTE

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This is the only business-related one that makes my current list. This podcast releases a few times during the week, and is focused on small snippets of marketing advice. For someone like myself, who is running a business with a $0 budget available for marketing advice, this has been a great find. The host, Steph Taylor, is easy to listen to and has kept each episode short and sweet. The advice is helpful for those trying to get their head around different social media platforms, and wanting to understand where they should focus their efforts – perfect for those with a side hustle.

So those are my current picks and recommendations! If you love podcasts, I would love to hear which ones you are listening to – I am always keen to discover a new one – so please comment below. I am not a huge TV viewer, so being able to listen to a podcast in the morning as I get ready for work, or when I’m alone in the office, has been a great discovery.

As always, thanks for reading and for supporting the change in direction of my blog. Wishing you a great fortnight ahead. 

Goal Setting and The Wheel Of Life

In January of this year, I had the pleasure of joining one of my favourite business inspirations, Lorraine Murphy, at her annual Remarkability Bootcamp. This was easily some of the best money I spent in 2018, and was a great way to kick off the year.

For those who don’t know of Lorraine, she is an entrepreneur, an author, a mother, a wife, to name a few things. I came across her when I attended Business Chicks 9 To Thrive in 2016, and have been a huge fangirl since. She has a solid social media presence (I personally am a fan on instagram – @lorraineremarks), and is a woman who is all about living your life, in the best way possible. I’m not sure if she would describe her motto in that way, but that has been my take away from following her over the past 2 years. I assure you, this won’t be the only time I mention her.

I can’t recall exactly how the Bootcamp was promoted, but it was running in Sydney, on a Saturday, was affordable, and would help kick off 2018, so I figured it would be a good idea. In reality, it ended up running 3 days after I returned from a 3-day unexpected and exhausting trip to London, and I considered cancelling my spot due to sheer mental and emotional exhaustion. Thank goodness I didn’t, and it turned out to be the best thing for me, at a time of the year that I was easily at my lowest.

There is no way I can summarise the day, or even offer you 50% of the take aways from the day – it was just that good. I went with the idea that we would be talking serious business – numbers, people, processes, etc. Instead, we started off the day talking about the Wheel of Life – where are we with different aspects of our lives, and how much are we putting in to these areas. Some people came to the Bootcamp with friends, but given my personality type, being there with a group of strangers was best – I felt I could be truly honest with the group and myself. The premise of starting the day talking about this was quite simple – your business can only be as good as you are – if you are miserable, your business and professional life will show it.

The Wheel of Life breaks your life down into 8 areas – Spirituality, Finance, Fun, Romance, to name a few. You can see the Wheel for yourself, and download a copy from Lorraine’s website – Wheel of Life Worksheet. When thinking about goals, whether it be business, friendships, relationships, work, recreation – this is a great place to start. What are you doing already in these areas; what areas need work; do areas need pulling back? The concept is common sense – we can’t focus on just one area, because we need everything to move along in our lives – we all know people who fixate on one or two areas only, and can easily see the issue in that.

Set some time aside for yourself, and fill in the worksheet – it’s about 15 minutes of work – and can help you when you have to make difficult decisions, or even just to evaluate if you are where you want to be right now. You can use the different areas to identify specific goals you may have – are there things you want to change about your recreation time, things you may want to achieve with family/friends, business goals? The Wheel is designed for you to shade where you feel things are at – but you can use it in a different way if that suits you.

Have a look around Lorraine’s website – there are a number of worksheets that you may find useful.

In the meantime, here’s me having my fangirl moment with Lorraine! Her energy is amazing, and the day was just what I needed.

Meeting Lorraine

Until next time, reader…

The Change – Twenty Eighteen

Hello dear reader!

This blog lives on… kind of. I’m writing this while sitting next to my villa pool in Bali. I’ve had some time to evaluate whether I want this blog to live on, or whether I should end it. Those who know me in real life know that I have plenty to say… so I’m sticking with the blog.

Although I still love beauty, I am no longer that interested in writing about it. I think it’s been done, I’ve shared what I wanted to in that domain, and have other things I want to write about, and share with you. So I’m going to spend some time reworking the blog, and am changing the direction of the content. I am not a techie, so changing the blog look is going to be a work in progress – I’ve changed it temporarily, but will change it further in the next few months.

In the meantime, I will maintain the name – because frankly, it’s good advice for your whole life – if irritation occurs, discontinue use. If you hate your job, you dread the downtime of your weekends, resent your financial position, or just want to change up your life – discontinue what you can afford to discontinue.

The plan is to shift the blog to general lifestyle posts – places, people and things that I’m loving. So, if you’re a beauty diehard, feel free to disconnect; for those who remain, thanks for sticking around!

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My 2017 picks (not a top 10 list)

Ah, 2017, where did you go? This year has flown by for me, feels like I was just saying “Happy New Year!” a few weeks ago (I admit, I say it for longer than I should).

Now this list is not exhaustive, nor is it a “best of 2017” list – there are so many things that I have not used, watched, nor listened to – so how can I claim to have a list of the best? Instead, these are just some things that I loved in 2017. They improved my skin routine, beauty routine, gave me some joy or quite simply, helped me live a better life – so why wouldn’t I share it with you all? I’ll warn you in advance, that these are not all beauty/skincare related – how rude.

THE MASK

Whether they are $5, or $25 – sheer masks are amazing and have really had their moment this year. Every skincare brand seems to be releasing a sheet mask all of a sudden – and they are all so good.

[For those who don’t know what a sheet mask is – it’s a fabric mask that goes over your face and has cut out sections for eyes, nose, mouth.]

I’m not entirely convinced that they do all the different things that they claim, but they all seem to consistently add hydration and nourishment into the skin. Ideal for when you travel, when your skin is dehydrated or just when you want to up your skincare routine. You need some time for application; it generally needs to stay on for about 10-15 mins, and usually no rinsing requiring afterwards – just rub in the leftover solution. Read the instructions on the packaging.

THE CLEANSER

Those who are long-time readers, and those who know me in real life, will know that I have loved the Dermalogica Precleanse Oil since my beauty therapist introduced me to it about 4 years ago. It removes way more product than other makeup cleansers I have used, and doesn’t require wasteful products, like cotton pads, in order to be effective. This year, Dermalogica released the balm version of this amazing product. It is in a squeeze tube, and comes with a silicone rubbing mitt – so apply the balm to the mitt and rub all over your face. This stuff feels decadent on the skin and just has that touch of luxe that the oil is missing. It’s very gentle on the skin, and gets off just as much product as the oil. I love makeup, but when it’s time to remove it, I want every last ounce of it off – the mitt and balm combo helps achieve this goal.

THE PALETTE

Now, what is life if I don’t include a palette in a “top/picks etc.” list? So here is the palette I loved in 2017, and I was totally surprised that I loved it as much as I did – the Too Faced Sweet Peach palette. This palette was gifted to me (for my birthday, not going to try to claim Too Faced is sending me stuff), and honestly, I probably wouldn’t have bought it myself. Colours looked OK, but I am trying to fight the urge to buy every palette that hits the market.

The colour combo and options in this palette make it worth the buy – they aren’t just replicating the existing cult palettes, like Urban Decay Naked range, etc. The peachy toned colours are just gorgeous, and make for a really subtle but put together look. They have a decent range of matte versus shimmer, and have thrown in some curve ball colours, like the purple shades. I’m not saying this colour palette will suit everyone, or that it was THE palette of 2017 – but this was something that was a surprise to me. The colours are very wearable, unlike some of the rose gold and pink toned palettes of 2017. It does have an unnecessary peach scent, but it is actually quite nice.

THE BOOK

I’ve been part of a book club for a few years now, and this has helped me get through some books on a regular basis. I admit, I’m a bit of a crappy book club member; I have the highest rate of “did not finish” (but I do have the highest rate of attendance, so let’s not kick me out just yet). This book was a highlight this year and you would have had to be living under a rock to not know of it. It has been made into a TV series (which is really good and worth the cost/effort of downloading), and stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, amongst many other big ticket names. I’ve watched the series and read the book – and I’m telling you, READ THE BOOK! Then watch the show, and you will love it even more. I know I’m not a genius for suggesting that “the book is better than the show”, but I’m saying it anyway. Even the most unenthusiastic book reader will move through the pages quickly. The voice of the book has not been replicated in the TV series (understandably), so it really has it’s own magic.

THE PODCAST

Raise your hand if you haven’t listened to a single podcast this year?

Nope, those people don’t exist.

Everyone is jumping on board with podcasts, so much so, that the options are somewhat paralysing. Honestly, I’m not one for self help books, but this podcast has really changed and improved my thinking in 2017. The goal is simple – to live a happier life. This podcast isn’t delusional – it’s not suggesting we are happy all the time, or should be happy all the time – just that we can always work towards something better. It’s a really easy listen, Gretchen Rubin is a great writer, and it’s essentially a structured conversation between her and her sister, Elizabeth Craft.

If you want to dive into the podcast world, the self help world or just want a fresh new perspective in 2018, Happier with Gretchen Rubin may help you with that. This podcast can be found on iTunes and wherever else you get your podcast fix.

And that’s it – short and sweet! Wishing you all a wonderful new year – thanks for reading along this year and supporting me in this written expression of myself, and the beauty items that I love.

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use… (or close the book, or pause the podcast).

Sunny Days Ahead

Hello, dear reader!

Summer is around the corner, and with that comes the damaging rays of Sydney’s sunshine. Cancer Council Australia published a survey today revealing that 2.7 million Aussies are getting sunburnt on a week – don’t be a statistic! Protect your skin and your health.

This post is coming to you from sunny Bali, where I’m getting a head start on summer. I am crazy about sun protection, and want you to be too. Excessive sun exposure and a lack of sun protection is the number one way of ageing your skin, and undoing all the good skincare routines you have.

There is a lot of talk of chemical and physical sunscreens in beauty media – I personally like a combination of the two, and think there is no such thing as too much sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens essentially soak up the sun’s rays, like a protective sponge. Physical sunscreens protect your skin by creating a physical layer between the sun and your skin.

Physical sunscreen is recommended for those with sensitive skin and for children; chemical sunscreens are ideal to mix with makeup. Physical sunscreens are a lot thicker and sit on top of the skin, whereas a chemical sunscreen mixes and blends into the skin a lot more easily.

As always, here are my recommendations… complete with a Bali backdrop.

Neutrogena Beach Defence

This stuff comes in a spray bottle, and comes out really thin and easy to apply. Recommended for difficult to reach spots on your body, as you can angle the spray directly onto those areas. I’ve been using this sunscreen religiously for years and have never been burnt whilst wearing it. It is absorbed easily by the skin and has an inoffensive scent. It does leave a bit of residue, so I recommend it for casual wear, or let it dry properly and then get dressed.

RRP: $16.99

As you can see, the product is extremely minimalist.

Invisible Zinc

This stuff is when I want to be really serious about my sun protection. It’s thick, takes ages to rub in and leaves a nice, white layer where you apply it. If you are going to be shamelessly in the sun all day, this is the stuff for you – you won’t get the ultimate Instagram shot wearing this stuff, but you will save your skin.

RRP: $21.95

This product is thick and serious.

Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster

This is a new addition to my skincare, and is ideal for incidental sun exposure (e.g. walking to a cafe). It is a chemical sunscreen, so is easily absorbed by the skin and is nice to mix in with your usual moisturiser. It’s not enough on it’s own as skincare, so should be mixed with whatever you are already applying as your base layer. SPF 50 – very serious sun protection yet less effortful than the Invisible Zinc.

RRP: $72.50 (can easily be found cheaper online/ in salons)

Texture is thin and easily applied – like a normal moisturiser.

So those are my top 3 sunscreen recommendations for this summer. Don’t look prematurely old – slip, slop, slap and wear a hat.

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use.

Skin skin skin

I’ll try not to keep going on about my posting frequency… but thanks to all the ladies who have commented in the past couple of weeks about my blog. One of my main motivations for blogging is from the conversations I have – I figure if one person is asking, at least ten other people are interested – so may as well write about it! So hello to all my readers, old and new…

It’s currently winter in Australia, so moisture is much-needed. Windy days, combined with cool mornings means we have to work a bit harder for our skin. I know a lot of people try to improve their skincare at this time too, so I’ve had a few people asking me about what they should be including and what order.

Five components, all take next to no time and give great results. The word “dry” in French is “sec” and it’s going to be important in your routine.

Cleanse – Tone – Sec

Cleanse
Avoid anything soap-like, anything that foams or anything that doesn’t really move your makeup. A good cleanser should get the majority of your makeup off; all of it if you are wearing a minimal amount. If you have party makeup on, use a proper eye makeup remover and do a double cleanse.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Precleanse Oil
Starter pick: Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleansing

Tone
This is where I save money and just buy something that won’t irritate my skin. I’ll be honest and admit I’m not totally convinced as to the necessity of this step, so I include it, but at the lowest cost possible. Generally, this step for me just helps calm any redness and tighten up my pores.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner
Starter pick: La Roche Posay Physiological Soothing Lotion

Now we move into Sec territory – Serum, Eye Cream and Cream (Moisturiser). Follow this order and kiss dryness goodbye.

Serum
I love a serum and think they are worth spending a bit more on – so save your dollars on a toner and invest in a decent serum. The difference between drugstore and department store serums are significant, so I apologise in advance for the high price point in the items I’ve included in my picks below. Use enough to cover your face, and try to use a patting motion, rather than massaging it into your skin.

Luxe pick: SK II Facial Treatment Essence
Starter pick: Clarins Face Treatment Oil

Eye cream
Eyes show one’s age, so a seperate eye cream can reduce your thoughts on cosmetic procedures. Apply gently with your ring finger, both below your eye and on your eyelid. Eye cream packaging is always tiny, but it will stretch a long way.

Luxe pick: Clarins Eye Contour Gel
Starter pick: Clinique all about eyes

Cream (Moisturiser)
Get the best that you can afford – and never, ever skip this step. Whether you wear a lot of makeup, or none at all, moisturiser is a must. You may want one with SPF, you may want to apply your SPF separately – do some research to see what suits you and your needs.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream
Starter pick: QV Moisturising Day Cream

Initially it will just feel great, but when you put in some serious time, you’ll see some results in your skin. Best case scenario, do this once a day, preferably at night. Worst case scenario, spend some time once or twice a week following all of these steps. Spend some time trialling some products – don’t be afraid to ask for samples. You’re often looking at an item that is >$50 – you should at least be able to make sure it doesn’t give you a reaction prior to your investment. Good luck with your winter skincare!

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use...

Travel Ready: Skin 

Regular readers will be overwhelmed by my increase in post frequency – how many posts do I have to do to officially state that I’m making a comeback?!

Anyways, jokes aside, I’m excited to post more than once in 6 months! 2017 is turning out to be a year of travel for me, so another travel post seems fitting. Prior to my last post, I was prepping for Nepal, and now I have another country in sight – #blessed. Unfortunately, overseas travel results in dehydrated skin and break outs for me, so I’ve learned over time to shamelessly take a range of skincare abroad with me.

Moisture

Flying dries out skin big time, so commit to something that will give you serious rehydration. Drinking water is obviously key, but you can further aid that with a serum. The Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum is great for this – if you are a regular Clarins user, you may be able to get a sample of this for a trip, or get a mini-version in a gift pack. I don’t necessarily use this all year round, but it is great for when you are travelling. I apply this day and night soon after a flight.

Sun Protection

Invisible ZincI admit, I don’t wear sun protection on my face all year round, but on days where I will be outside a lot and during summer, I try to use a face cream with SPF. When I’m on holidays, I’m out and about a lot more than usual, so need some serious protection. QV Moisturising Face cream is SPF 30+, and is light enough to wear after a hydrating serum, and under makeup. If I am going to be in serious sun, I use Invisible Zinc (SPF 50+) and avoid applying any face makeup. QV is great for something less intense –  it’s non-irritating, and you won’t need any additional moisturiser on top.

Break Outs

Unfortunately, my skin breaks out quickly and easily. For this reason, I really can’t afford to leave my overnight spot treatment at home.
I’ve recently converted to the Dermalogica Special Clearing Booster (prior to this I was using the Overnight Clearing Gel). This stuff is great if you can feel something coming, or if something does pop up and you need it to be gone asap. It’s small, and can fit into your clear carry-on liquids bag.

The Final Layer 

Anybody who is yet to use the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (BFB) is missing out, big time! This is a cult product and has never needed a sponsored ad in it’s lifetime. Think of this as a moisturiser, a clear BB cream and an instant face lift. I use this on top of a moisturiser; I think of it as almost like a protective film – perfect when the air quality is compromised, and you have pores to think about. It tightens and brightens, and gives you a youthful glow – great if you are trying to avoid wearing too much makeup while on holiday. This stuff needs to be carefully applied – avoid rubbing it in as much as a moisturiser; it really does sit on the skin.

Pamper 

Now, am I even me, if I don’t suggest a mini-pamper? You’re away from home, away from the usual demands of life, so treat your skin with some TLC. A sheet mask takes up minimal space, and can help your skin when it’s been ravaged by a pressurised air cabin as well as changes in food, water and air quality. Pack one per 7 days that you are away (i.e. if you are away 2 weeks, pack 2), and no doubt, you will find some time to use this – you can thank me then for the suggestion. Sheet masks take up a lot less space than a tub face mask, and I personally find them more intense than a liquid/clay mask.

Skincare while travelling seems so indulgent, but it’s easy to do, and the pay off is worth it. Travel size bottles/jars make it light and small enough to fit into your on-board luggage, so there is really no excuse. Don’t return home looking like you were living in a hut without running water (unless of course, that is exactly where you were living)!

And as always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use. 

Travel Ready: Colour

Yes, believe it or not… I’m back. This blog is officially not dead… it will die when I get over makeup and beauty… which will be when I’m dead.

I hope you’re all well and are still loving all things skin and beauty. Thanks for all of those people in my life who have kept encouraging me to blog, despite my extended period of silence. Quite simply – life is busy – but you all understand that.

2017 is turning out to be a year of travel for me (I’m browsing some cheap flights whilst writing this), and although I’m not a champion packer (I am that person who holds their breath as they place their bags on the scale), I do have some seasoned tips for those who may not travel much, or have travelled prior to discovering their beauty passion.

When I travel, I want colour and variety with my makeup – and minimal packaging. I keep all of my makeup in a case while away, so the more items I need to get out, the longer my daily face takes. I’m not going to go into detail regarding my foundation and brushes, as I am not really a minimalist in that area – I still need my foundation to perfectly match my skin whether I’m at home or in Hawaii. I also like having some brush variety, so tend to have one each of the main brushes I use (e.g. buffer eye brush, foundation brush, face powder brush, etc).

If you are looking for some ideas on how to condense your travel makeup, read on for some products and theories that will help you achieve this.

COLOUR: Face

The Becca Afterglow palette was gifted to me last year and has proven itself to be a handy little travel tool. This comes with three highlighters and two blushes – though the pinky highlighter (second from the left in the image) definitely doubles as a light day-time blush. One little light-weight palette that gives you a great variety of looks. I’m not into true travel palettes, and this doesn’t claim to be one – which is what makes it so good.

becca_afterglowpalette001

COLOUR: Eyes

I admit that I love a classic brown smokey eye. I remember getting my first brown Innoxa eyeshadow from the bargain bin at Priceline and rubbing it all over my eyes everyday before school – and I’ve never looked back.

The Tarte In Bloom palette gives you enough choices so that you can do an everyday look, or add some darker shades for a more dramatic evening eye. If you won’t feel satisfied with this kind of palette, pack an alternative palette, or add some single eyeshadows – your options and satisfaction will quickly increase. The size of Tarte In Bloom also makes this travel-ready – I personally think only Amrezy can justify travelling with multiple Morphe palettes.

My other tip is to take some basics – if you don’t normally wear liquid eyeliner on a regular basis, what are the chances that you will bust it out in Disneyland? Take a black and a brown eyeliner (again, I know brown isn’t for everybody) or take a pencil and a liquid. Leave the green eyeliner for a party at home.

tarte in bloom.jpg

Colour: Lips

As tempting as it is… you really don’t need a huge variety for a few days away from home. If you don’t usually wear orange on your lips, you probably won’t need it in Singapore.

Personally, my safe travel bet is to take an everyday shade, a nude and a bright lip colour. Those with very sharp eyes (or those who are familiar with my makeup bag) may be able to spot the plastic wrapping on my NYX lip creme – it has travelled with me a handful of times and never gets used – but is there just in case I feel like it. With these colours and combinations,  I only need two lip pencils for three to four different looks, and all of these products take up minimal space.

So, there it is – my comeback post. Travelling is so much fun, and you will have pictures for a lifetime – so whack on a little lippie so you can get a decent profile picture, which shows off how well travelled you are, whilst also ensuring you look #flawless 😉

If you have any beauty travel tips, please leave a comment below!

And remember… if irritation occurs, discontinue use. 

Brows maketh the face

eye brow meme.png

When I look back on my high school years, I think of all those hairs I tweezed out of my eyebrows that I’ll never see again. In my adolescent years (and very likely in your adolescent years, unless you are around 20) THIN & SHARP are the words that come to mind when we imagine the perfect brow. How far we have come in the past decade – over tweezing is out, patches be gone and the perfect brow is thick and neat. If I walk around my local shopping centre, I don’t think I see anybody under the age of 25 with thin brows. Of course, this isn’t always a good thing – like any trend, some people just take it TOO FAR.

Anastasia Beverly Hills can be credited with some of the biggest improvements in the brow game with her pencils and powders. If you want to improve your brow look, read on…

(Disclaimer: I haven’t talked about concealer or eyebrow brushes – consider this a beginners guide to eyebrows)

Pencil

perfect-brow-pencil

If you are new to getting your eyebrows on fleek, or want something low-fuss, this stuff is THE SH*T. Easy and quick to use, huge range of colours and completely natural finish. You can buy it direct from the Anastasia Beverly Hills site, or from Sephora Aus.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil
RRP: $26.00 (USD) / $42.00
Stockists: Anastasia Beverly Hills / Sephora 

Powder

smashbox-powder

Anybody who watches Cammy on Snapchat [she’s an eyebrow queen from LA / find her @blossombeautylo] knows that the secret to a completely natural brow is the ombre finish at the start of the brow. For a long time I only used powder, but I find the ABH pencil is quicker and more precise than this powder. If you have unruly brows, the wax in this set is useful. Unfortunately, I think this powder is either on it’s way out or just isn’t worthy of being in Australia. Keep your eyes peeled if you’re overseas.

Smashbox Brow Tech
RRP: $26.00 (USD)
Stockists: www.sephora.com

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It is completely annoying to read recommendations of products not available in Australia, so I’ll include a product that you most definitely can find locally. Benefit has really upped their brow range this year and although I’m satisfied with my current tools, I think they are worth checking out if you are keen to find a decent product at your local department store. Powder and wax combo that has 6 shades.

Benefit Brow Zings
RRP: $55.00
Stockist: Myer 

Gel

benefit 3d tones.jpg

If you were not naturally blessed with a lot of hair in your brow, but have a decent shape and want to thicken up your look, use a gel to add some fake hair. This will help even up any patches or thinness and will blend in effortlessly. If you fear any of these other products or think drawing it on is too much, this is the stuff for you.

Benefit 3D Browtones
RRP: $42.00
Stockist: Myer 

Cream

pomade

I admit this stuff is the scariest of the lot – the almighty pomade. It’s not a product I personally want to use, but the severe nature of the pomade just doesn’t suit me and nor do I have the patience for it. Keep in mind, I am olive skinned and have naturally dark brows (no $$$ spent on eyebrow tints for me), so I’ve found the pomade finish is just a bit too much for me. If you have some serious bald patches or are seriously faking it when it comes to your brows (i.e. you don’t have much hair there), this stuff is for you. You will need a stiff angled brush for this as well as a spare 10 or so minutes.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade
RRP: $18.00 (USD) / $32.00
Stockists: Anastasia Beverly Hills / Sephora 

Waxing, Tweezing and in between

My final warning to you is about what to do to care for your brows. You can have all the pomades and powders that Anastasia can think of, but they are useless to you if the base is hopeless. Only tweeze stray hairs, don’t even think about touching those long hairs your face has been growing for God knows how long! Find a decent brow technician, and find what suits you – tweezing, waxing or threading. Whatever you do, DO NOT go to a walk-in salon that does not specialise in brows – you will be butchered, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll never see those hairs return. You may be slaying in all other aspects, but rubbish brows will be your downfall. Go to someone who will see you as an ongoing client – save your walk-in waxing for arms and legs.

Remember, BROWS MAKETH YOUR FACE.

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use…