Sunday, 31 July 2016

REVIEW: essence All About Roses Eyeshadow Palette...

Seems like forever since I reviewed an eyeshadow palette, and I picked up this ever so pretty essence All About Roses darling a few weeks back. Only just today got my swatching act together, so no EOTD's as yet, but you can be sure they're not far off (I have a phobia about using a palette before I photograph and swatch it). I just adore soft dusky pinks, and this palette is a gem as it has both mattes and shimmers, and even a couple of pans with sparkles ...
The beauty of essence products is that they're available in quite a few outlets here in Oz, and also in many countries around the globe. Believe me I feel for my international readers - nothing worse than falling in love with a palette via a blog review, and then finding out it'll cost you an arm and a leg for overseas shipping!...


Top row are all shimmers, pans two and four (top row) also have micro-glitter. I swatched them (on my arm this time) over a primer, and these are max three swipes each. I totally suck at swatching (which is why they're not single swipes) I can never seem to get the product in an even stripe. I probably need to make some templates on my arm using sticky tape. Anyways the texture is surprisingly creamy, dense and silky smooth -  I've been playing with them on the back of my hand, and they blend beautifully...


And here's the bottom row - all but the second pan are mattes, with quite impressive pigmentation for $8.20. With bargain priced mattes, I'm often find they're chalky or wishy-washy or so packed down that you can't pick up any powder with a brush, but these are all easily workable, and with quite good colour pay-off. ...


The case is solid and sturdy, the lid closes with a firm click, and I'm glad they didn't bother including a manky sponge applicator (which I always ditch anyway). Absolutely delighted I gave in to the temptation, and you can bet I'll be using this baby before the end of the week...

If you're wondering where I've been...with my darling Dad in hospital this past month, after work and week-end visits (Mama too) have meant limiting my blog posts to just a handful - but he's all good now and back home, and I hope to return to my usual blogging schedule for August, including some EOTD's plus my usual giveaway, so stay tuned lovelies ...

Take care of you,
kats xxx

P.S. Linking to Ingrid's Monday Makeup Madness Link Up Party - pop on over after 6:30am 

Monday, 25 July 2016

SPOTLIGHT: Lip Monthly Subscription...

I'm ALWAYS excited when I discover one of those little "...you have a parcel..." cards in my letterbox, but the one I found on Tuesday had me puzzled as well. I wasn't waiting on any orders that I could remember, so I was intrigued by this distinctive shiny gold padded bag from the US. But it turned out to be my very first Lip Monthly pack! (Don't you just love it when you completely forget about something, and then it shows up out of the blue?). I subscribed several months ago after reading all about it over at the beautiful Barbe's brilliant Fashionista in Suburbia blog (thanks babe!). How it works is magically described in Barbe's post (link above), along with reviews of three of the bags, including this one. I'm super impressed with the value, and if you fancy joining up for US$12.95 a month (shipping is free), be sure to use her code (FASHINSUB) ...

So onto the contents - all full-sized products, three for lips and one for face. The pack contains a cute little card listing the contents, along with the RRP of each item. None of these goodies are currently available in Oz, but that doesn't bother me as there's always somewhere online that sells anything and everything hey. Lip Monthly says this pack has a retail value of US$68.95 - awesome!
Two of the colours I received were different to Barbe's pack, and here's my absolute FAVE - Dirty Little Secret Vengeance. The most gorgeous GORGEOUS blue pink, and right up my lip-colour alley. Stunning pigmentation, creamy, moist and an absolute pleasure to wear ...


Next is the Manna Liplocked Priming Gloss Stain in the shade Lucky - a super pretty pinky nude "with benefits". Again, excellent pigmentation, not the least bit sticky, and it lasts a good few hours - love this...
It does turn out a fair bit paler on my lips, but has enough colour for me to get away with it, plus it doesn't streak AT ALL - very little effort is required to create a smooth, glossy finish...


My Jello Shot Rosy Cheek & Lip Gel is the same shade as Barbe's - Hangover. The beauty of this stain is that it's different on everyone, depending on your body temperature. The lasting power is incredible - I swatched it last night on the back of my hand, and it's still there!...
As you can see from the pic, this is of little value to me on it's own as my lips are RIDDLED with imperfections, but it's staining quality is a winner as far as an "underlay" is concerned - it's a pretty shade, and given I haven't as yet found a way to remove it (!), this does at least give my blotchy lips some pigmentation, which is a bonus when my lippie wears off. I could also use it as a cheek stain, but interestingly it comes out Barbie pink on the rest of my face. Actually, I've never been a fan of cheek stains as they require such precision to apply evenly, but I'll sure make use of this on my pout...


The Jor'El Parker Fango Mud Therapy is one of the best masks I've ever tried. I gave up cream types a while back in favour of the sheet variety, mainly because the tube/tub ones are just so darn messy. But this organic beauty only stays on for 5 minutes, so I applied it while I prepared for my shower. Given the somewhat frightening picture below, I'd recommend remaining in the bathroom throughout the process - my cat would never forgive me if I wandered around looking like this! Ingredients include Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Green Tea Antioxidants and Volcanic Ash Minerals, it's 100% vegan, it's not tested on animals, and it smells DIVINE. My skin was incredibly soft, refreshed, toned and becalmed once I rinsed this green goop off. Totally hooked! 
All up I'm loving everything about this new subscription, and can't wait for the next gleaming gold pack to arrive 

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Linking this to Ingrid's Monday Makeup Madness Link Up Party - starts at 6:30am, and you won't be disappointed. The standard of blog articles you'll find there each week is top class ...

Monday, 18 July 2016

SPOTLIGHT: Micellar Magic Part 5...

Well the Micellar Water market is bigger than I thought, so time for another round. While there's one in the piccie below that's cheap as chips, I've started delving into more upmarket offerings. We all know that the creme-de-la-creme Bioderma comes with a pretty hefty price tag ($42.99 for 500ml), but I was curious to see if there was any difference in the quality of other brands as the price point increased, so watch this space. Incidentally I'm not even attempting to finish all of the bottles I've acquired so far during this adventure (I guess I could take a bath in it lol?), so I've been distributing some to my fam & friends, and delighted to report that I have totally converted my Mum to this magical invention...
So let's get started. Out of these five, I'm going to cut to the chase and start with the WORST ...

MODELCo Micellar Cleansing Water - All In 1 (240ml, RRP $15)
I so appreciate honesty from the bloggers I follow, and wouldn't DREAM of leading anyone astray with dodgy info here. Regardless of my experience, I endeavour to be fair, and even if a product sucks, will always mention any redeeming qualities, but I'm struggling to find anything positive about this baby, except maybe the packaging. While tall bottles are more likely  to topple over than squatty ones, this takes up very little space on my vanity, and the overall look is quite classy. There - I've said it. As for what's inside, well...I'm puzzled as to how this made it onto the market...
Leaving aside the fact that UREA is listed as an ingredient (eeeeewwwwww!), I haven't been able to get past first base with the application. Regardless of how much I use, this drags on my skin, and after a couple of swipes, the cotton pad scrunches up and starts to tear. I use Swisspers makeup remover pads because they never EVER break up or shred, except when I use this. At first I thought it was because of the cleanser I used, so I tried several from the assortment on my bench, but the result was the same each time. In a nutshell, there is zero slip. If I use a few pads, I can make it down to my neck, but when it dries, my skin feels tight and dehydrated. At my age, I appreciate a bit of firming, but not this much. The label says it's "...a cult-favourite among professional makeup artists and celebrities." I wonder who? One word - no. Let's move on...

essano Rosehip Gentle Facial Cleansing Micellar Water (400ml, RRP $12.99)
Ahhh essano - you make such lovely products  Just for the record this sweetie has earned 5-star rave reviews on beautyheaven, and I wholeheartedly concur. Love the slightly milky/pearly finish of the bottle, and for 400ml, it's terrific value for the price. It's a winner all round actually - barely any chemical sounding ingredients that I don't recognise, and lots of natural (and organic) goodies. I actually prefer this to the pink Garnier one - same price, but it has the edge as far as skin comfort and gentleness is concerned. Love that it contains Aloe Vera and Rosehip Seed Oil, but doesn't leave even the remotest hint of oily residue. My skin feels toned, soft and super clean, and not the least bit robbed of moisture. Recommended for all skin types, the formula is pH balanced and dermatologically tested. I also appreciate that the label says "200 uses", which my trusty calculator works out to be 6.5 cents each time. Bargain 
Part 6 will be up soon. If you missed the rest of the series, here are the links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Take care of you,
kats xxx

P.S. Time for another round up of top blog articles at Ingrid's Monday Makeup Madness Link Up Party starts 6:30am ...

Saturday, 16 July 2016

CONFESSIONS: Of a Body Washaholic (Part 17)...

Fancy an ultra-rich moisturising body wash that leaves your skin baby soft, and delicately fragranced with the aroma of freshly cut peaches? Well good old Palmolive has released one such gem in their range, just in time to counteract the dreaded winter skin flakies. I'm SO in love with this utterly delicious Body Butter Peach Indulgence Moisturising Body Wash, I've bought FOUR of them already! Well, one's for my Mum, but I wasn't going to risk stocks running low as more and more folks discover it's delights...
Despite no less than eight other loves on my shower shelf, this is the one I'm reaching for most often at the mo', especially on work days - it's so hydrating, I can skip my body moisturising step! The creamy formula is super thick, and lathers into a rich glossy foam that gets my bod clean, softens my skin, and yet doesn't make the tiles the least bit slippery...

I'm saddened that it contains SLS though - it means that those folks who are sensitive to this pesky ingredient will miss out on experiencing the pleasure of this bathroom belle. I can't imagine anyone having a problem with the fragrance though - it's so fresh and amazingly realistic, subtle and yet quite pervasive...
So far I've only found this shower treat at Coles, but not doubt it will be available in the usual stockists shortly. At $4.99, it's terrific value for 400ml of fabulously fruity body cleanser that actually puts some juice back into your skin. Just like the Passionfruit Bodypolish Exfoliating Body Wash in the same range, this is another can't-live-without ♥♥♥

Take care of you,
kats xxx

Sunday, 10 July 2016

SPOTLIGHT: June Empties!...

Very late with my Empties post for last month, but as you can see it's a bumper issue. Includes items that last for absolutely yonks, most of which are kats-can't-live-withouts, and only one that I wouldn't repurchase. Come to think of it I may have to rename this series Monthly Faves! ...
Crop Natural Concealer Pencil ( RRP $16)
LOVE this little stick of wonders - I use it primarily for reverse outlining my lips, and throughout the day to counteract lipstick bleed. It's made a massive difference to the quality of my LOTD pics because it's dense enough to cover the freckles that abound around (what used to be) my lipline. It's creamy and blends immaculately, and I also use it to help disguise my huge under eye bags. Doesn't crease and after 3 months, there's still almost an inch of the pencil left, but it's too small to sharpen ♥...
Repurchase?
I have three backups in my drawer - Coles regularly has it on special, which is when I stock up ...

Dermalogica AGE Smart Skinperfect Primer (22ml RRP $72.50)
Until recently, this was my numero uno primer, and with an SPF30 content, my go-to skin protector. I've found something even more potent now (IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF50), but this beauty ticks all the boxes as far as mattifying and preparing my complexion for makeup is concerned. A darling friend sent me a tube years ago, and I've been in love with it ever since. This magical product has earned five stars on beautyheaven, and it's no wonder - on good face days, this is all I need to minimize pores and refine my complexion to a point where I can almost get away with no foundation (it has a slight tint). Well almost ...
Repurchase?
For hot humid Summer days, absolutely ...

Lanvin Eclat d’Arp├Ęge EDP (30ml RRP $81.50)
In the last 2 years I've considerably expanded my perfume collection, but prior to the blow out, this was my signature Summer scent - raved about it back in 2013, and it's still very close to the top of my list of all time favourite fragrances. Fresh and light, the combination of lilacs and lemons is simply beautiful, elegant and timeless. I usually only wear it in the warmer weather, but there was only a few spritzes left, so I finished up the bottle instead of putting it away for the Winter. Still have never EVER smelt it on any other gal ...
Repurchase?
I scored the 100ml bottle for $49.99 (woo hoo!) from Chemist Warehouse in April, so I'm set for Spring ...

Oral-B 3D White LUXE Toothpaste - Glamorous White (95g RRP $8.99)
My new choice for keeping my choppers in tip top condition. The minty taste is a nice change from my usual Colgate Optic White - it costs $1 more, but well worth it for the crisp freshness it brings to my mouth. Too early to tell if it works any better in the whitening department (my teeth are naturally creamy-coloured), but it's sure keeping the stains and cavities away ...
Repurchase?
Several tubes already stashed away in the bathroom cupboard, bought on special of course ...

True Essentials Micellar Water (125ml RRP $4)
Already covered in my Micellar Magic series, it's not the best of the bunch I've experienced so far, but excellent for what it is, and the price ...
Repurchase?
Yes - as mentioned in my review, it's worth it for the refillable travel size bottle alone ...

Reference of Sweden Repair Treatment Mask REF.550 (250ml RRP $38)
Check out my review HERE. This is a can't-live-without ♥...
Repurchase?
I don't muck around when it comes to what works for me - have already bought the 750ml bottle ...

Imperial Leather Madagascan Vanilla & Cacao Anti-bacterial Handwash (250ml RRP $3.99)
Totally bummed that I can't find this any more, but I'm hanging onto the empty bottle in case I spot the refill somewhere. Another gem that gets five beautyheaven stars. The fragrance is stunning, and washing my hands with this moisturising cream is the first thing I do when I arrive home ...
Repurchase?
I wish. Come on Coles, bring it back! ...

Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Daily Wash (150ml RRP $10.49)
My second favourite cleanser - been using this for years, and look forward to every session. The avocado and pomegranate scent combo blisses me out, and I especially love the fact that I can leave its pale green creaminess on my face for a few minutes as a mask, and have instantly becalmed and refined skin ...
Repurchase?
Never without this ...

Nude by Nature Nude Face Scrub (150ml RRP $17.95)
Featured this in my December Empties post last year, but I'm including it again because it's simply the BEST! Pricey but unsurpassed. Review HERE ...
Repurchase?
Can't live without it ...

Reference of Sweden REF.050 Shine Spray (200ml RRP $34)
In all my years I've not come across anything else like this for giving my hair instant shine and gleam without any build up of goop. You spray it on like hairspray, and I swear anyone around you will need sunnies to counteract the glare. Review HERE ...
Repurchase?
Can't live without this either ...

The Body Collection Mimosa & Lily Hand & Body Wash (200ml RRP $16.99)
This was in my birthday bag from Mama last year, bless her . Beautiful fragrance, floral with a tinge of sour. Australian made, no SLS, parabens or animal derived products, but not enough moisturising power for me to add it to my list of must-haves...
Repurchase?
Probably not - there are so many other body washes that I adore, and I didn't love this one quite enough to seek out a stockist (independent chemists I believe)...

Imperial Leather Pomegranate & Wild Rose Triple Moisturising Bodywash - Flirtatious (500ml RRP $6.49)
Another one I'm crazy about - Imperial Leather products appear in just about every one of my Empties posts, so you could say I'm a bit of a fan lol! Having trouble finding this too, although I spotted it in Priceline a few months back so will try my luck next weekend. Raved about it almost two years ago HERE ...
Repurchase?
Definitely - this is a must for me for the comfort it brings on cold winter mornings ...

Imperial Leather Exotic Guava & Champaca Triple Moisturising Bodywash - Blue Lagoon (500ml RRP $6.49)
What is it with Coles and Woolworths? They're stocking barely any of this range any more, or in the case of Coles, not at all. I'm sending the biggest BOO to whoever decides what goes on the shelves. I'm totally hooked on the uniqueness of this fragrance, and I don't think I can survive without its fabulous colour in my shower stall. Mind you it's labelled a "Limited Edition", so maybe it's not even made any more. Still pictured on the IL website though. I miss you No.48 - are you out there? Sob...  Rave HERE ...
Repurchase?
If only I could ...

Urban Rituelle Fragrance Diffuser Set - Comfort (Sandalwood & Tangerine) (190ml RRP $39.95)
Have had this reed diffuser radiating love and lusciousness in my blogging HQ for seven months - seven months! I'm a Sandalwood nutbag, and pairing it with tangerine can only be described as an inspired flash of pure genius. Warm and spicy, I adore this all year round ...
Repurchase?
Done deal - I'm sitting here basking in its warm embrace as I type ...

Take care of you,
kats xxx

P.S. Phew - if you're still here, congrats! And why not kick off the new week by visiting Ingrid's Monday Makeup Madness Link Up Party - starts on the dot of 6:30am ...

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

SPOTLIGHT: Jewellery Collection Part 3 (Lovisa Haul 2 & 3)...

Ahhh June - my second favourite time of the year  The first is Christmas (for obvious reasons, including the fact that here in Oz it's Summer, and when I take my holidays), but mid-year is close to my heart for the simple reason that it's SALE TIME! Every year I work my budget so I have funds in reserve to take advantage of the massive savings that abound, and hopefully the pot gets replenished with my tax return - well that's the plan anyway! This year I concentrated on boosting my jewellery collection, and Lovisa (bless 'em) came to the party with huge price reductions. So here's haul pic #2...
All up I've spent just under $200 over four visits, and scored items with an RRP of $686.50! Mind you, I've blown the jewellery budget for the rest of the year, but hey, I'm more than satisfied with what I bought. Anyways enough of the financials, let's get on with where some of the above goodies fit in my kit...

Below is my modest but growing collection of Rose Gold bits and pieces. Some of these items were gifts from friends and family, and the others were sourced at either Lovisa or BigW. I fell in love with the feathery metal earrings in the centre - they're really quite striking, and I have nothing else even vaguely like them. For years I wore mainly small studs, so this style is quite a "break-out" for me 

And here's a combo that's new to my kit. Who knew that grey and gold would look so stunning together?  It all started with the grey stone pendant necklace ($5 from a mall stall), and I've been gradually scouting for other pieces in various stores. Funnily enough I plucked out the earrings on the left from the "retro" box I have stashed away - I've had them for more years than I care to remember and never EVER worn them! The new ones top right from Lovisa were too good to pass up - each little gem is interleaved like feathers and they hang together so elegantly...

When I'm choosing accessories, I don't just go for colour - sometimes I try and build a collection based on a theme or style, and that what I'm aiming at below. I don't know what to call this - Tibetan, Inca, Mayan? Who knows, but they seem to go together. I found the necklace only recently in a store my parents frequent, and where they've picked up some gorgeous pieces for me over the years - for less than $20, I just HAD to have it. The wrist cuff and earrings were a half-price bargain from Target, and I couldn't believe my luck when I found the ring at Lovisa...
As you can imagine, this series is going to be a long one lol! I'm having so much fun gathering everything together and taking the photos, and soon I'll be revealing how I store all this stuff - believe me it's quite a challenge, but one I'm revelling in 

Take care of you,
kats xxx 

Monday, 4 July 2016

SPOTLIGHT: Eye of Horus Cosmetics Prize...

Every month, the fabulously generous team at Eye of Horus Cosmetics awards a prize to one VIP member who posts pics of their purchases on Instagram, and I'm deliriously happy to report that in May, I was the lucky duck - woo hoo! To say I was over the moon is an understatement - the opportunity to choose $300 worth of their stunning products made my head spin, and sent my spirits soaring into the stratosphere. I STILL can't believe my good fortune, but I pulled myself together long enough to place an order, and here is what arrived, promptly and magnificently packaged ...
If you're not familiar with the Eye of Horus brand, they are an all Aussie company based in Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast. Their award winning products are based on Ancient Egyptian formulas (right up my alley hey ) using natural and organic ingredients, are paraben free, not tested on animals, and the range was designed to "...Awaken The Goddess Within ® every woman by enhancing her natural beauty making her feel like a true Goddess"....

I took advantage of this unexpected and exciting opportunity to stock up on their amazing Goddess Pencils, which feature so frequently in my EOTD's. I use them almost every day because they are BRILLIANT for waterlining or using as a base for eye shadows, they don't irritate my eyes, the pigmentation is amazing, the colours are beautiful, and they last for ages, even on the waterline. RRP is $30, but they so often have specials, I've not yet paid full price for one of them. The only two from my order that I haven't tried before are the Nubian Brown & Charcoal Obsidian. You'll find swatches of all the other colours in my earlier reviews HERE and HERE...
And I also ordered a spare sharpener ($10) - this is without a doubt the best sharpener I've ever come across. It's especially designed to not damage the soft centre, and it creates a perfect point every time, with no crumbling, cracking or breakage...

They've recently expanded their range to include Goddess "sets" - the value of these is astounding. Each set contains Mascara, Goddess Pencil, Eye Shadow Palette, Liquid Metal Liner and a tree of Life Necklace, all for $89...

I don't know the individual price of the pendant, but the RRP of the other inclusions is $143.95, so it's no wonder why I ordered one lol! There are four sets to choose from - Golden Temptress, Luna Light, Sultry Siren, and the one I selected, New Dawn. Here's what's inside the packaging - I'll be swatching the gorgeous Isis Sun Goddess palette VERY soon...
Ingredients in the range include Rice bran, Beeswax, Candellila and Carnauba Wax, Organic Castor Oil, Lavender Flower, Star Anise Extract, Evening Primrose Oil, and Organic Moringa Oil. This last ingredient is also known as "Oil of the Pharaohs" and was found in Tutankhamen’s tomb - how about that! And except for their Dual Brow Perfect, no other products contain alcohol...

I'm such a huge fan of these amazing cosmetics, and ever so grateful for the chance to try more from the range. A massive thank you to the lovelies at Eye of Horus Cosmetics - you can bet I'm feeling like a true Egyptian Goddess 

Take care of you,
kats xxx

P.S. Ingrid's Monday Makeup Madness Link Up Party starts at 6:30am - not to be missed! ♥♥♥