Still alive

Wow, it’s been one hot minute since I’ve updated. November and December last year really felt like the hardest months I’ve ever had. Dramatic, I know, but when your health isn’t the greatest, everything feels worse.

Sometime in November I realised I had a cavity in my tooth. I’ve never been for a filling and my teeth, although a little crooked, have never been in bad shape or caused me much hassle – except for my wisdom teeth, which I never got removed because there was never money.

So, after not being able to endure the sharp pain I kept feeling any longer and not wanting to make it worse, I headed off to my local dentist. He confirmed my suspicions and drilled into my tooth, cleaned it out and packed it with medicated dressing, put me on some antibiotics and told me to come back in a week for him to check if I was ready for the filling. However, during that week, my wisdom tooth started giving trouble.

Trouble turned out to mean that I would have to have the tooth removed. We looked at the options available to me and getting it done in the chair, at his surgery, was the best and most cost-effective option. We decided to put the filling on hold and do the extraction first.

Well. Let’s just say the whole experience was traumatic. Before going in, I asked how long it would take. “15-20 minutes if it’s easy. An hour if it’s difficult.” I was in the chair for almost 2 hours. At one point, while he was using what I imagine might have been his entire body weight to wrench my tooth out, I thought “fuck, it’s not going to come out.” I think maybe he had been thinking the same thing because we were both visibly relieved by the end of it all.

This little excursion taught me something about my body that I knew already, but hadn’t really ever paid much attention to. I heal very, very, very slowly. I’ve always had a shit immune system. Or at least that’s what I call it. If someone sneezes, I’m sick. If I bump into something, I will most definitely bruise. If I scrape or cut myself, it takes forever and a day to close up and scab.

Healing from this wisdom tooth extraction left me at my wit’s end. Not only was the wound site not healing fast enough, I got TMJ, which is a jaw dysfunction. My joints have always been a bit loose, but after having my mouth open so wide for so long, the joints became inflamed, and I think moved out of place a little bit.

Both of these things meant that I was on a strict liquid diet for a month. 4 weeks. Then, a soft mushed food diet (mash potato, not slap chips) for another month. Then, finally, I could move onto soft whole foods. Even then, I wasn’t allowed to eat anything with a crunch.

Of course, this all happened during the lead up to Christmas. I was finally on holiday, but couldn’t enjoy it. I wasn’t allowed to use a straw, wasn’t allowed to drink very hot drinks or super cold drinks and he put me on another 2 doses of antibiotics, so I couldn’t even commiserate over wine… I was MISERABLE.

Then, in January, I had my filling done, which was a breeze compared to the above disaster. Sadly, though, the cavity is very close to the nerve and we’ve been trying ever since to avoid root canal. I have a feeling I might need to get it done at some stage because I’m having tooth sensitivity that is way worse than I think is normal. Like crying in a ball painful, but luckily this doesn’t happen regularly enough to think about it too much 😛

Only now, into February, am I starting to feel more myself. I’ve moved onto hard, solid food, my lock jaw has finally gone away (imagine how convenient that was!) and although foods like nuts can be a bit tricky (I don’t want to aggravate my jaw), I’m pretty much a whole human being again. My jaw is still clicking, some days are worse than others, but hey! I’ll take it over that bleak December any day.

During this time, being online was not a priority. Whoops. I’m back for now, though!

Finished in October

<insert obligatory OH MY GOD WHERE HAS THE MONTH GONE?!?> but seriously, how is it almost Christmas? I’m torn between needing more time and wanting this damn working year to wrap up already.

Despite things slowing down a little, I really didn’t do all that much… My bad. I tried to get in a lot of rest, if that counts?

  • Dinner with a friend. We went to Rock Sushi Thai in Newlands and had, you guessed it, sushi. It was delicious.
  • Dinner with more friends! I hadn’t seen this particular group of people in AGES so it was so awesome to catch up. We went to Maestro’s on the Beach and had a nice dinner. Was something different for this Southern Suburbs gal 😛
  • Was my dad’s birthday this month. On the 14th, I went out to dinner with the family to celebrate and then on the 15th, we hosted his birthday at our house. Lots of work but pretty amazing.
  • Halloween party on the 29th! That was great!

I did actually put this post together at the beginning of November, but I was so stressed about doing my Drivers, I just didn’t post it. Better late than never, I guess? Besides, I don’t think any one reads this humble image-less blog 😛

Onto the empties…

Dove Go Fresh Cucumber and Green Tea Nourishing Body Wash
I really liked the fresh scent of this body wash. I normally go for creamy/nutty/deep scents, but this was a nice change. I’d probably buy this again if I was in a body wash pickle.

Paul Mitchell Awupuhi Wild Ginger Keratin Intensive Treatment (100ml)
I got this in a Retailbox Secret Box last year? I can’t remember, but I’ve had it for ages. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t use this type of keratin treatment all the time so I was rationing it. I liked it, my hair felt nice, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll purchase. Basically, it didn’t blow me away.

Tony Moly I’m Real Makgeolli Sheet Mask
I think this is my favourite one so far. It smelt kinda nice, kinda weird, and left my skin feeling soft and moisturised.

Carmex Classic Lip Balm stick
This stuff is the only lip balm I use. I dabble every now and then but none of them keep my lips in as good a condition as this does. Incidentally, I can’t use the pot version of this stuff, or the squeezy tube. It has to be the wind up stick. The rest dry my lips out severely, as do every other brand of lip balm.

Pil’aten Blackhead Ex Pore Strip
This stuff was weird. It comes in a sachet and is a black tar/paste that you smooth onto your skin and let dry. It gets rubbery and then pretty stiff, and then you peel it off. Some bits hurt like a bitch to get off. It was fun, but I didn’t see any differences, and it left the skin a bit dry and sensitive.

Beauty Buffet Peach and Bird’s Nest Beauty Mask
Another sheet mask! So. Um. What the hell is Bird’s Nest? What is it supposed to do? I tried googling this but I didn’t get much info and the sheet packet was in Korean. It felt…fine. I spent about 30 minutes thinking about what the hell was actually on my face instead of relaxing… But ya know.

Dove Purely Pampering Coconut Milk with Jasmine Petals Body Wash
Another Dove body wash! Don’t worry, I didn’t finish two full ones. I used the cucumber one when I stay over at the mister, and this was the one I used at home. I really liked this scent. It smelt calming and creamy, but in general, I really do love Dove body washes!

Loreal Super Liner So Couture Black
Hands down, favourite liquid eyeliner. This pen has a BRUSH tip rather than a felt tip and I can’t tell you how much of a difference this makes. With felt tip eyeliners, I find the ink doesn’t always reach the very end of the felt tip, which makes getting a super accurate flick a mission and a half. Ink reached the very tip of this brush until the very end. Perfect. Will buy forever, unless another brand comes out with a brush tip eyeliner…then I’ll give that a go!

Lush Kinky Hot Oil Treatment
My hair was hating me so I decided to give it a hug. With a treatment. This was so much nicer than the other Lush one I tried! I’d get this again. Also, the scent was dreamy 😀

Hask Keratin Protein Shampoo
This smelt great. It lathered up pretty well and left my hair clean. I really liked it! I didn’t end up repurchasing though, because I’m a total floozy.

Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner
Wow, this took for freaking ever to finish. Over a year. Maybe even two years. I used this as a primer. After much thought, I don’t think this product helped at all. It didn’t blur my pores, it didn’t help with oil, it didn’t keep my makeup on for longer… Yeah. Sorry, Bioderma.

Tony Moly I’m Real Tea Tree Skin Soothing Sheet Mask
Loved it. Managed to spill the excess all over my desk. #winningatlife.

See you guys next time!

Empties – the Benefit edition

September was an insane month for me. Work pretty much took over my life. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this more times than you or I care for. Thankfully, the month is over and work has calmed down. I can finally breathe a bit more, see a few people and actually enjoy myself. Well. Maybe. Who knows with the advertising world, eh?

I’m calling this the Benefit edition for obvious reasons – I finished a few Benefit products. I’m running out of names for these posts. Maybe I should just call them Junk 1, Junk 2… 😛

Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy
Surprisingly, I really loved the scent of this hand cream. It was salty but also floral in a way? I got this as a gift from a friend and I loved every moment of it. I’d seriously consider buying the full size (if there is a bigger size), because this is the baby version (25g).

I’m currently using the Avocado, Olive and Basil version also from Crabtree (also a gift), and I hate the scent. It makes my hands smell like salad/food. Not my thing but still using it to finish it.

Sorbet Balancing Body Scrub (Uplifting scent)
This is another product that surprised me. I got this as a birthday gift from my mom back in May. This apparently has rosemary, starflower, pearl extract and vitamin E in it. Initially I was worried I was going to smell like salad again (see above) but it was actually a really pleasant smell!

As with most Sorbet scrubs that come in the tube, “scrub” is mostly just a suggestion. It includes little microbeads but honestly, they do nothing. I’d buy this in the shower gel version next time maybe. Or not. I’m a floozy.

Cutex Nailpolish Remover
I needed something cheap and cheerful. This fits the bill. I decant all my nail polish removers in the Sorbet nail polish remover bottle because it has a pump. Thumbs up to a good design there!

Dermactin-TS Pore Refining Facial Mask
I picked this up on a whim at Dischem. You know how it is… You walk in with a list of one of two things and you walk out with a whole lot more. I was feeling a bit down and frustrated with the world, so I figured why not face mask that shit away? I paid a little bit more than what I usually would on a pharmacy sheet mask, but no biggie. I will say, however, this is not a repurchase. It dried me out big time!

Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub
Sob. This is my beyond favourite of all time scrubs. It smells like heaven, it feels great on the skin. It has just the right grit. You know how hard it is to find that in a scrub?? #firstworldproblems

I would buy this forever if I could. Soap & Glory, come to SA!! I usually ask a friend to bring this home for me, but it’s quite heavy so I always feel bad about asking… I have one more left and then I’m doomed.

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara
I got this as a gift from a friend when I was in the UK. If you know me, you know that this trip took place like 3 years ago. Yeah. So. This mascara was pretty old and I probably should have stopped using it but um, Benefit is EXPENSIVE and also, it smelt okay. My eyes didn’t itch. It still worked. Everytime I wore it, I got some sort of compliment, so it was great for those downer days. I’ll have to repurchase this sometime.

Tony Moly Seaweed Facial Sheet Mask
I bought 11 Tony Moly sheet masks from Ebay for about R100. It took more weeks than I can even explain to finally reach here (standard shipping from Korea…the worst!) but it was so worth it. I loved this. I love Tony Moly. You can now buy Tony Moly from Muse Beauty, btw (but it isn’t cheap sob)!

Benefit Hello Flawless Powder (Gee, I’m Swell – Ivory)
I bought this when I was in the UK. I loved it. I would repurchase, but I’ll need to check what the corresponding shade is for this one because our names are a little different. I’m also interested in trying the Mac powder… Anyway, this had some good coverage, kept me matte (but not flat haha. Sorry) and was good for no-makeup-makeup days. Yep. Love.

Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser
Another love. I use this on and off. It has the look and consistency of aqueous cream and is incredibly gentle and nourishing. My skin never feels dry or stripped after using. This is NOT a makeup remover though. It is definitely a second cleanse.

I still have one back up somewhere in my room but I’ve changed things up and moved onto my other favourite, The Body Shop Cool and Creamy Cleanser…or whatever it’s called. It made a mysterious disappearance a few months ago when TBS redid all their packaging and it hasn’t really made a comeback. Which worries me. Because it is my favourite. Though, the other day I saw 3 sitting on a shelf (in old packaging) and just bought them…so there’s that 😛 At least it was 3-for-2 when that happened.

Benefit Triple Performing Facial Emulsion – 8.9ml sample bottle
This was part of my ultimate face cream quest. It didn’t come on top, FYI. I found this to be very fragranced (not my thing) and although it felt light, I don’t think it is a good match for me. 8.9ml is a pretty generous offering, so it did give me a chance to really give this a go.

I’m back on the Clarins cream I like so much, but unfortunately, it comes in a pot. The deluxe samples I have come in tubes (YAY!) but full size is a big ol’ finger dipper *shiver* WHY do you do this to me, Clarins? Also, I see it is “meant” for those aged 40 and older. Whatever.

See ya next time!

Will it ever end? The want list

Another month and more hankering after things I can’t afford. I have noticed a trend over the last few months – for a few years, my beauty wants were frequently focused on makeup items, but this year has been really different. I’m all about the skincare. Chalk it up to the approaching the 3-0 or that I have so much makeup, I could open a small store, but I’m kinda liking this new direction.

Now if only I could feel this enthusiastic about purchasing a gym contract… (for anyone confused and like “but Tarryn, you were going to gym 3 days a week for over a year! WHAT HAPPENED?!” We can all thank Liberty Life for that. They cut their rewards programme and suddenly the R800+ gym membership sans medical aid to cushion the blow resulted in me having to cancel it all together. I’m bleak, believe me.)

So as I hinted, this is mostly going to be a list of dreamy, expensive skincare, although I think I do have some surprises…and I may have to put in an order (using Aramex Global Shopper to get it here!) at the end of the month.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat moisturiser – R220
I was well on my way to buying this after I saw the email in my inbox saying Dermastore is now selling LRP products BUT you need to spend R500 for free shipping, otherwise it’s R150. Everything else I may have considered getting from Dermastore is like R700 and up, which would be fine IF I WANTED TO SPEND R700 and up! Right now, I’m not interested in adding crap to my basket to avoid the R150, but I also don’t want to pay the R150. I guess I’ll have to wait until the brand is available in Dischem. Le-sigh.

Pretty much everything from The Ordinary, but particularly:

  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% – R140/USD 9.80 – Zinc and Niacinamide are good for oily, congested and blemish-prone skin. Perfect.
  • The Ordinary Buffet – R283/USD 20 – Basically a do-it-all anti-aging serum.
  • The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% – R212/USD 14.90 – Well, have you ever seen anything like this for so cheap? They’re also launching a Retinol 1% sometime soon for about R152/USD 10.70. I mean COME ON!
  • The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% – R138/USD 9.70 – Vitamin C is supposed to do wonders for your skin, so um, yes please!

And since we’re talking serums…

Glossier – The Supers. In particular:

  • Glossier Super Pure – USD 28 – This also has Niacinamide and Zinc…But look at the price difference between this and The Ordinary version!

As a bonus, I’d just like to add that the Milky Jelly Cleanser, Balm.com, Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, Moisturising Moon Mask, Haloscope (Quartz) and Boy Brow (Light, probably) are still on my forever list (so basically everything).

Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish – R765
The girls at All Dolled Up have been talking about this stuff for ages. I love masks and exfoliators, so I think when I finish up a few of mine, I might splurge. Actually now that I think about it, this may have been in a previous lust list. Hmm. Oh well. I still want it! PS: I might have added this to my Dermastore cart so I could get free shipping BUT it’s sold out.

Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara – R385
Yeah, that’s no Clicks mascara, but I am having absolutely no success with mascara at the moment. One of the bloggers I follow is Franish. She has the most amazing lashes (and eyes, and style, and everything!) but it was in this blog post that I really sat up and was like oh hi, what is that, can I have it? And she let me know it was the BB mascara. Sjoe!

Avene Mattifying Fluid – R200
So I might actually get this sooner rather than later. I’ve almost finished my moisturiser and I have no back ups because I just haven’t found anything WOW. Okay, I lie, I actually really like this one Clarins moisturiser, BUT I think it’s been discontinued and if it isn’t, it’s only available in a pot. WHY? WHY? I can’t do pot moisturisers, sorry 😦 Actually, I may have one more sample left… I’ll have to look. Anyway, Awkward Purse suggested I try this so it must be good 😀

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau – R995
Sob. Why so expensive. So, I used a sample of this stuff in the wrong shade and fell in love. I don’t know how to be un-in love with it… I’m finishing up some stuff at the moment, but I think once I’ve gone through about 2 foundations, I’ll really consider getting this. Another true favourite is the Dior Forever (I helped myself to a sample because the salespeople at Edgars suck). Both are so expensive… Maybe I’ll just live off samples??

Anything on your list?

August dump

Wow, has the last handful of weeks been insane. I have hardly seen or spoken to anyone. To any of my friends who read this, I am so sorry I’ve been MIA. It looks like my October will be somewhat calmer – phew! – and my calendar is relatively free. Woohoo!

I thought I’d put up a post while I’m on a roll today. It also helps that today is quite a bit calmer than usual – yay for room to breathe!

I like looking back in my calendar to see what I actually got up to. According to this, I’ve done the following:

  • Sushi dinner – I think this was with old work colleages. Now you can see how insane it’s been… I can’t actually be sure, but I reckon it was with them since it was just before voting;
  • Dinner in the North – I can’t even remember what we ate. Gah;
  • Suicide Squad at iMax… That was pretty rad. Movie was okay but it was mostly just about the company, chilling out and eating popcorn;
  • I got a haircut! I love haircuts.

Well, that was short and sweet. I guess that’s to be expected, really.

So, onto the junk!

Happiness Is – Vanilla Swirl Cupcake Glowing Body Scrub
I got this from my brother’s gf for my birthday. Pleasant scent, but definitely NOT a scrub. It has little beady particles in it, but they are not scrubby and are so few and far between, it was a glorified body wash…which is what I used it for!

Beauty Buffet Cherry Blossom Whitening Mask
I’m all about the self care. And that means putting on my serial killer mask. Another one from the amazing Awkward Purse. I’ll be forever grateful for that gift you sent me 🙂

Clicks Cotton Pads Smooth Sealed Edge 80
These were okay. The edges were a bit rough. In absolute desperation, I ended up buying ridiculously priced cotton rounds from Woolworths…and now I’m stuck on them because they are just so damn good. So good that I finished the pack and bought another >.<

Lush Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner (biggest size)
I got this as a birthday present maybe 2 years ago. I know. I was welllllll over the use by date but I figured it still smelt the same as when I got it, and it hadn’t grown anything, become gloopy and weird or separated, so I used it. I must be honest, I used this for the sake of using it because the scent is just not my thing. The Rose Jam range is just not my… jam (sorry.) but it seemed like such a pity not to use this.

So, it does work, in case anyone is wondering. I slathered this all over after washing and then rinsed it off. Be careful when you get out the shower…it leaves the shower floor super slippery! I should know because I saw my life flash before my eyes 😛 After nearly dying, pat dry and there we go!

The one thing that gets me about these sorts of products… I buy a lot of shower gel based on scent. When I use this after washing, it completely replaces that dreamy scent with this one. Which sucks for me because I’m not a fan. I’d love to try African Paradise because that is a scent which reallllly gets me!

Kiehl’s High-potency Skin-firming Concentrate (sample)
Has this been discontinued? Has the name changed? I can’t find this stuff mentioned anywhere except on realllly old blog posts and websites. Someone, please enlighten me! I really, really, really love this. It makes my skin feel so freaking smooth the morning after. I would buy the full size in a heart beat but alas… Kiehl’s is a bit of a mish to get to and no one ever knows what I’m talking about when I mention this stuff. HELP!!!

Skoon Moisture Gel Superfluity (sample pot)
So this moisturiser is supposed to be super duper light and good for oilies like me. This was just okay for me. I was hoping it would be a holy grail because I am so sick of trying to find a moisturiser that works for me. I’m currently using a sample of Benefit’s Facial Emulsion, but that isn’t going to be a repurchase either. Any suggestions?

NuHair Treatments Shampoo Sulfate- and Colourant-Free
I was in a fix. I needed sulfate-free shampoo and all the stuff I like was sold out/not available so I tried this. This stuff truly is sulfate-free. It just doesn’t foam up in even the least bit. I won’t repurchase because it was so difficult to work with. It’s clear, so you can’t always tell how much you’re using, or where you’re spreading it if you happen to look in a mirror, it doesn’t spread well at all (I think), and it made my hair make that squeeeeeeeeeky sound when I rinsed it. Nope. Next.

Caudalie The Des Vignes shower gel (deluxe sample)
I bought a Caudalie trial kit thing a few years ago when my brother was still in Canada. This was included. It has quite a masculine smell to me – not a problem, just not my chosen scent, and it was only good for maybe 3 uses because of its super small size

The Body Shop Spa of the World African Ximenia Scrub
Love the scent, not into the scrub. It is NOT scrubby at all when used on wet skin. When used on slightly damp or dry skin, it crumbles off when you try scrub. It’s very fine – so any one who needs a regular scrub, GO FOR IT! For me, as someone who loves the scrubbiest of scrubs, it’s a pass. BUT it is way better than the sea salt one I have from this line. Ugh.

That’s it for now! Hope y’all had a great month! Also, PSA: It’s almost Christmas, guys!

Word up!

Words are my job. It might not seem like it here, but it is what I spend my time doing for eight and a half hours a day.

To quote, “words don’t come easy.” Crap adage, but it’s true. I struggle, the average person struggles, and clients most definitely struggle.

I spent a year working at a small company that specialised in content strategy. Content strategy basically focuses on the planning, development and management of content, but it’s also more than that. It’s about user experience, finding a harmony between design and ideas and creating useful and usable content.

I’m not a content strategist, but this is how I understand it, and when you think about it, it makes sense. Of course when you create or present something to the public, you want their interaction with your product to be seamless!

Content strategy isn’t just about the words on a page. It is also about the media – be it images or video, for example – that is used. If the end package isn’t well structured, informative and interactive, then you’re screwed.

My point? Even though content strategy seems obvious to me – and probably to you – it isn’t really put into practice. To be fair, South Africa is a little behind the times when it comes to this concept, but I’m finding the longer I’m in the industry (and by industry, I really mean the professional real girl world), it is a concept that gets left by the wayside.

People just don’t care. Or consider themselves experts. Or think that their content is fine the way it is. But as any writer, editor, content creator, artist, etc knows, a fresh pair of eyes can open new worlds. Often, when we’re working hard on something or baring our souls, we get blinkered. It happens to everyone.

A company who offers a content/strategy service hasn’t established itself just to show you how crap your content actually is – they’re there to help you reach your full potential. That’s how I like to see it at least.

This is actually a rant in disguise 😉

My company gets a lot of packaging work. What this means is that our client already has their design – they just need us to help with production.

This is all great and well, but every single one of these clients are experts in their own craft, not in the craft we provide. Many of these jobs don’t even make it onto my desk, which is a problem, and goes straight to our designers to ensure everything is set up correctly before we send it to print.

Today I read some packaging while I was eating my lunch. It was just sitting on the boardroom table and I couldn’t help but take a squizz. Consistency and grammatical problems are the things I see a lot of. Malapropisms, too. Or just stilted text with no flow.

I saw many of these when reading the packaging mock-ups. The design is beautiful. If I saw it on a shelf in the shops, I’d be drawn to it. If I turned the package around and read the back – like I usually do – I probably wouldn’t buy it because of all the niggly things and niggly things irritate me… but that’s just me 😉

So, here’s a product with great potential. The client has been featured in a number of publications. She has a great product with a fantastic design but she falls short when it comes to copy. I can tell you now that using me didn’t even enter her mind because she has a “it’s fine” outlook when it comes to her own copy. Just fine is not enough! Make it right! Make it perfect!

I work on newsletters, websites, press releases, posters, flyers…basically anything that needs copy. I sit in during brainstorming sessions. We all have a voice here and we all contribute, be it copy-related or not. This is a process that works! It means that we don’t just focus on the look, we focus on the feel too.

This isn’t everyone’s process, and not every company or person understands or values good copy. Pity, because I feel like most of the time I have to beg the accounts manager, after reading crap copy, that his clients need me. I’ll do it for free, damnit!

Equally, there have been situations where I have edited, written or rewritten copy for a client and it has been rejected. This is because:

  1. Instead of taking the time to go through the changes, they have opted to go with their original copy. This client is usually busy, unconcerned about copy in general, or doesn’t care – they just want their project launched NOW; or
  2. After looking at my copy and seeing what they feel are only minor changes (even a tiny tweak can affect readability!), have decided to keep their own words; or
  3. They have a shit ton of arrogance – they believe their copy is better. Maybe a few of them are right (obviously not to me, but that’s the nature of subjective work…), but often, the copy doesn’t serve their intended purpose or just sucks, but they refuse to believe/see/understand this. It’s an affront or insult to suggest otherwise…which it isn’t.

Sigh. Just sigh. Anyway, my point here is that when creating, consider the other elements. Copy is just one of them. What is your purpose? Let all the other elements enhance these goals. If you think it’s good, have someone look at it. Take the time to test things out, have people read, look, and experience your creation and find out what they think. What is working? What isn’t working? Yes, it’s touchy-feely, but it goes a long way to putting forward your best work.

Critique isn’t a bad thing, even if it’s hard to take! I need it. We all need it. I find it difficult to take sometimes, as I’m sure others do too, but it can be incredibly useful.

I’ll be taking the time to listen carefully to the feedback I receive – and hopefully, hopefully, they’ll do the same.

The monthly wishlist is back

I guess I’m back on the lust list bandwagon. I didn’t do one last month… I sometime find these posts make me want to go out and buy all the things (but I still populate a list on my phone, so it’s kind of useless, right?) I’m trying to curb my spending, but I figured since I’m already keeping a list, I might as well publish one.

I’m really on a skincare THING at the moment. I think it’s the looming 30s which has inspired this new focus. I also just really like taking time out for myself, and a good skincare regime is a great way to do this.

Exuviance Super Retinol Concentrate – R850
Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol has been on my list for ages now, but at R1000+ for 30ml, I just can’t. Even at R850, I can’t really…but it is more affordable if I were to splurge. Which I probably won’t (but I really want to).

La Mer Limited Edition Bronzer
Just click that link and admire the beauty that is that bronzer. It’s been on my radar for a few months now (and the want has been real!) but I just kind of stored it away and that was that. Now I’m seeing it’s selling out fast and it’s creeping back into the foreground again because I really do want it but sjoe. I don’t even know if you can get it in South Africa. It’s probably gonna be around Dior price and up. That breaks my heart. Probably another item that won’t ever happen. RIP.

Loccitane Shea Melting Honey Exfoliating Sugars – R425
Ridiculously priced (can you see a trend here?) but it’s another thing that has been on the OMG-I-want list for AGES and now I see it’s available in South Africa… at a cost. Sob. There’s nothing I love more in this world than exfoliators… The scrubbier the better. I have no idea how this would fair but um, shea and honey? Sounds heavenly!

Exuviance Triple Micro-Dermabrasion Face Polish – R765
Basically, everything I want is too expensive to buy. This stuff sounds amazing. It’s both a physical and chemical exfoliator, and gets the thumbs up from All Dolled Up. I may actually consider this when I finish up my Ren Glycolactic Acid Exfoliator (which isn’t any time soon!) It is a bit more expensive than the Ren but I think it’d be worth it.

MAC x Star Trek
Where do I even begin with this? I pretty much want everything. I’m not a Trekkie (sorry, guys!) but the collection looks absolutely amazing. On my list are: Luna Luster Powder (pink), Highly Illogical powder (red/brown) (BOUGHT), To Boldy Go pressed pigment (red-ish) and The Naked Time pressed pigment (beige)

The Beauty Box Mini Organiser – R599
Another item that’s been on the list for ages. I’ve been wanting something to store my every day crap in and I think this will be perfect. I decided to just get it. It also came with a free accessory (nailpolish stand, lipstick stand or brush holder – I chose the brush holder). Very happy with it!

Here’s to hoping I stay on track this month!

July junk

Can I just be totally cliche for a second and go OH MY GOD HOW IS IT AUGUST ALREADY? Where has this year gone? I don’t get it. Time is clearly not my friend!

I can safely say that July was a much better month overall. Phew. I also managed to spend very little money on crap, so yay to that! I’ve been trying to stick to a budget but I must say, this weekend just past has been so naughty. I went to the movies, bought popcorn, bought myself the Inglot AMC 77 gel eyeliner… Oh, and I bought myself lunch. And breakfast. Ugh ugh ugh. And this weekend coming up, I’m off to see Suicide Squad… Bye bye money. Okay, well hopefully not. I just have to rein myself in.

Onto June highlights…

  • Homemade pizza in the north. Lots of fun!
  • Christine’s going away party… bitter sweet. Was nice to catch up with everyone, but yeah. Blergh. Come home, already! It was also my first time at Pirates (wut?!)
  • Friend’s birthday bash! I was actually feeling really sick leading up to the birthday party but I decided bugger it, I’m just going to go because I haven’t seen him in ages. It was really great fun. We ended up doing sushi a few days later
  • Dinner at a friend’s. We all had to make a dish and bring it along. This was so much fun and the food was delish. It’s safe to say I have some seriously talented and kitchen-savvy friends.
  • Movies with the mister. This was nice 🙂

So, the empties. There’s a lot of samples/one use products in this list. Is that cheating? Ah well.

Johnson’s 3 in 1 make-up removing lotion
You don’t even want to know how long I’ve had this. I’m not even entirely sure… I got this in freaking HIGHSCHOOL and that was like 10 years ago. Oh god. Okay let’s just leave it at that. This worked pretty well actually! Wouldn’t repurchase mainly because I appreciate cleansing waters and cleansing oils a lot more but this wasn’t bad – even after all those years (dear god, what is in it??!!)

Cettua Pore Control sheet mask
I’m not sure this actually helped with anything… Pores aren’t like doors, people. They don’t just close or disappear or even shrink. Stuff can only help with the appearance of your pores. But that aside, I love sheet masks for the me-time involved and this was nice.

Lush Butterball
I got this for my birthday…last year? Could have been longer, to be honest. I used to be a big bath person. I’d make a thing out of it… a glass of wine, my kindle, hot-hot water and bubbles and just sit there for an hour turning into a prune. And then I stopped. I blame this on my brother. He is also a bath person but with a very bad habit of not cleaning the tub out after he’s been in there, marinating… Shiver. So, I stopped. But a few weeks ago, I scrubbed the hell out of the bath and decided I should treat myself. It was lovely and the scent of this bomb was amazing…vanilla and shea I think? It also felt very nourishing.

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Serum
This was a “nooooooooo” moment for me. So let’s have a little chinwag about this product. When I use it, I don’t see a difference in my skin BUT when I stop using it? Oh my gosh, things are just not the same. That is when I realised I loved this product. I stopped for awhile thinking this step was just a useless one. A few days later, I changed my mind. Other South African beauties will probably know that this isn’t available in Clicks anymore (sob.) so I actually repurchased this from Superdrug in the UK (it was on sale) and used Aramex Global Shopper to ship it here.

Skoon Moisture Gel Superfluity (5ml sample pot)
I really like this, although the scent is a bit too natural for my liking. It absorbed into my skin really quickly and left everything feeling comfortable. I’m currently using another pot of this.

Skoon Cleanser + Make-up Remover (5ml sample pot)
Everyone should try this. I love it. I think I’m done with all the sample pots of this stuff.

Tony Moly I’m Real Rice Mask Sheet for Clear Skin
Thanks to a friend, I got my mitts on two of these and two of another kind (which you’ll probably see further down the list). I love Tony Moly. I love sheet masks. I love me-time. I love looking like the scariest serial killer you’ll ever see. So basically, what’s not to love?

Soft Silk Body Scrub (Happiness/Lavender scent)
I am SO incredibly happy that this is out of my life. It’s supposed to be a scrub but the granules were so microscopic, it may as well have been called “gel”. It was finer than sand, finer than sandblasting sand (and that shit is fine). The scent was also really artificial. Basically, this did nothing for me. Bye!

Tony Moly Red Wine Pore Care Sheet Mask
Here it is! Same as above. Love.

Skin Creamery Coconut Jojoba Baobab Every Day Cream for Face and Body (sample sachet)
I got a sample sachet from Kamersvol earlier this year and only just got around to using this cream. Oh my gosh. I understand the hype. I didn’t use it on my face but I did put it on the tops of my arms, chest and thighs and it was love and first whiff. Also, this sinks in really quickly and doesn’t leave you sticky. The smell that stood out the most for me was spearmint, and I found this really soothing as I drifted off to sleep. Need moar.

Catrice Liquid Camouflage High Coverage Concealer 010
I’m pretty bleak this is finished, mostly because when I went into Dischem on the weekend to pick up another tube, they had fuckall stock and onto 020 was available (if this is your shade and you shop at Cavendish Dischem, go! There’s only 2 left…and one of them is opened). Currently I’m trying to finish off my Benefit Boing concealer, which I got a few years ago when I was in the UK. I’ve hit major pan on it, but it has become stiff and almost unusable… That was until I plonked a drop of the Skoon Cloud Manuka oil stuff in there and smooshed it around… Good as new.

Essie 3-way Glaze
This is a base coat, top coat and nail strengthener. I loved this but it turned goopy towards the end (there was only a bit left) so I’ve said goodbye to it. I’ve already cracked open a replacement – Essie’s Gel Setter, which is pretty awesome.

Skoon skincare

Skoon

It was way back in January of this year when I placed my first Skoon order. I had seen Azraa from Prettiful Blog talking about the trial pack she received from Skoon. At the bottom of her blog post, she listed the prices and a link to the trial pack. I clicked on it immediately and ordered.

Unfortunately, at the time of paying, I didn’t realise that Skoon had actually discontinued their trial packs but they very kindly sent me an email saying they would honor the order.

Basically, I haven’t looked back. I ordered 3 trial packs from them (each were catering to a different skin concern) so I could try out a bunch of different things. I am still making my way through the sample pots, so really, if you’re at all interested in the brand, head over to the Skoon website and get yourself a few travel sizes – the packaging has since changed (more superior now, in my opinion) and they really do last long enough to give you a good idea of how it will work for your skin.

Skoon Cleanser + Make-up Remover (Gel-to-milk)
This is the star of the show for me. As you can see in the picture above, I have the full size (100ml) product. This is quite a natural smelling product, so just a heads up to anyone sensitive to scent.

I pump about a R1 size onto the back of my hand and dot it around my dry face. At this point, I usually still have my makeup on. I dab on my forehead, a bit on each cheek, a little on each eyelid and whatever’s left on my nose and chin. Then, the rubbing begins!

Because I’ve distributed the product across my face, it doesn’t tug at my skin and instead feels really balmy. As I work the remover into my skin, it turns into an oil. I make sure to get it between my eyelashes – don’t be shy! Next, I wet my hands and carry on rubbing the remover into my skin. At this point, the cleanser becomes a milk. When I’m ready, I rinse it off!

Easy as that. My skin always feels amazing after this, and super clean without feeling stripped. It’s soft, smooth and ready for the next step.

Skoon Ruby Marine Mask
This is the first pot at the top of the pic – sorry about the quality. I got this as a sample when I purchased the full size cleanser. I really didn’t think it would work for my skin – I have combo/oily skin – because I have read reviews about how intensely hydrating it is, but the helpful ladies at Skoon told me not to worry. I will never doubt another word!

So, I usually use this mask after I’ve exfoliated, as I like to combine exfoliating and hydrating treatments. This is a solid balm… Think coconut oil. Scrape your nail or utensil across the top and you will get a nice little chunk to work with, and believe me, a LITTLE goes a LONG way. I like to warm this up in my hands and then apply it to my face. It spreads amazingly well, and although my face does look super shiny or greasy while this is on, it doesn’t make me break out. I usually keep this on overnight and wash it off in the morning. Love it. Seriously.

Skoon Purifying Cleanser
This is the second little pot. The purifing cleanser is actually a clay cleanser (also called Whitewash) and again, totally amazing for combo/oily skins. I like to use this after I’ve used the makeup remover if I’m feeling particularly congested.

Like the other Skoon products I’ve tried, this stuff is NOT stripping. But this pot of magic really does leave your skin clean. I think this may have to be my next buy. I’m just afraid I will go through it way too quickly. I tend to use quite a bit of this (my sample pot is on its last legs). I slap a thick layer on my still wet skin, massage it in and leave it on for a minute or two before washing it off. So nice.

Skoon Moisture Gel Superfluity
We’re almost there! This is a moisturiser, and is recommended for someone who wants a light moisturiser… so basically, someone like me. They do have a moisturiser for every skin type though, so definitely check out their selection.

I think their website describes this moisturiser as light, without a heavy feel, and I totally agree. I find it sinks in really fast and leaves my skin hydrated but not sticky to the touch, and it holds up really well under foundation. I can’t say the same of all the moisturisers I’ve tried in the past!

If I need an extra dose of moisture, I usually mix a drop or two of their concentratesinto the moisturiser… which leads me to…

Skoon White Cloud Manuka Concentrate
According to the website, this is not an oil but an emmolient… so that’s cool? It apparently promotes the reduction of breakouts and if you have blackheads, this is a good one.

My skin is incredibly good right now so I can’t say for sure if it’s this, a combination of products, a steady skincare routine or just luck, but I really like this stuff, and I would probably go ahead and buy the full size.

As mentioned, I mix this in with my moisturiser if I’m having a spotty moment, or just feel like my skin could do with some TLC.

Skoon Rosehip C+
And this is the stuff I usually use when I have a lot of redness (as in, all the time) or my skin is being super sensitive. Rosehip is supposed to be really good for your skin and this mixture contains a bunch of skin-loving ingredients, so why not?

Needless to say, I’m a big fan of Skoon. I think they’ve done an amazing job, creating products than can be mixed and matched depending on your skin concern and I especially love the fact that you can customise your skincare regime using their various concentrates. It’s very hands on and makes me feel like a proper chemist 😉

I look forward to seeing what else these guys come up with… Until then, I’m pretty much loving everything I’ve tried.

May favourites

May favourites1

  1. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water
  2. Shopping and lunching with Jess
  3. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Serum
  4. Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki Brush
  5. MAC Fix+
  6. Birthday burgers with friends
  7. Sheet masks (aka how to look like a serial killer…with good skin!)
She Said

A blog about beautiful South African things

Lines of Escape

Travel Blog

All Dolled Up

All about beauty

Beauty and The Boy | UK / Scottish Beauty Blog

Scottish Beauty Blog covering everything from skincare, hair and makeup to busting myths, finding dupes and breaking down trends

3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House

Where parenting and life collide

Koekelooks

A beauty and lifestyle blog from a small town, South African perspective

Kate Loves Makeup

A beauty blog by a beauty lover

Shakespeare & Sparkle

Books, Beauty and Lifestyle Bits

Prettiful Blog

A South African Makeup and Beauty Blog

lunalacey.com/

South African Beauty Blogger

Lipgloss Kisses

South African Blog

I'll take it all

South African Fashion And Beauty Blog

Mind the Curves

A plus size fashion and lifestyle blog about the journey to body positivity

Coffee Couture

Beauty | Fashion | Bits of Everything Else