January Favourites 2014

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We’re half way through February!  I know, right?  And those of you paying attention will have noticed that there was in fact, no December favourites blog post.  I was busy, I was lazy.  But, I’m hoping that you all won’t mind terribly, especially seeing as how I have for you Favourites in a fancy new format… Video!  HD, no less.  I’m also hoping you’ll enjoy seeing my favourites as a video each month.  Because, I know I really enjoy filming them for you.

Products mentioned…
MAC 217
Lush Snow Fairy
MAC ‘Woodwinked’
Essie ‘Madison Ave-Hue’
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser in ‘Terre Neuve’
Kevyn Aucoin Eyelash Curler
Origins Super Spot Remover
Shiseido After Sun Intensive Recovery Emulsion
Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in ‘Rosewood’

For my next video I’ve filmed an online haul.  There’s bulk skincare, some make up goodies and loads of Lush gear. Orright.  If you have any suggestions for videos you’d like to see, be sure and let me know because I always love to hear what you think.

XoN

Sampling Six | BENEFIT

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I decide to introduce Sampling Six, a feature of six different products from a single brand as a way of spotlighting some of the best (and maybe more mediocre) products they have to offer.  It probably won’t be a terribly regular feature because, let’s be real, having six unique products (not just different shades) from any one brand is a reasonable achievement.  I thought I’d begin with a brand that has captured my imagination for nearly a decade, Benefit.  I’ve been in love with their amazing products and whimsical packaging since my early teens.  Benefit is a constant source of unique and intriguing products, beginning with the only things you’ll need for seriously stunning peepers.

1 | Magic Ink Liquid Eyeliner
Even for an eyeliner dingus like me, this eyeliner creates cat like eyes with relative ease.  A true glossy black, there’s no need to layer and layer this bad boy.  It lasts for a good six hours without smudging.  Although recently, a rather smokey fire pit and my weeping eyes proved without a doubt that Magic Ink is not remotely waterproof.  Oops.

2 | Bad Gal Waterproof Mascara
I have a soft spot for Bad Gal as she was the first high end mascara I ever owned.  It’s also fair to say that I have rather deep feelings for her waterproof cousin.  (Awkward?)  A true Jill of all trades Bad Gal lengthens, thickens and holds a curl just well enough to make it the perfect everyday mascara.  It never clumps, flakes or smudges meaning that this Bad Gal is ironically, very, very good.

3 | Eye Bright
Designed as an instant pick me up for eyes, this smooth pastel pink pencil works wonders when applied to the waterline.  Even on the most bleary eyed of days this will have you looking wide awake in a matter of moments.

4 | Most Glamorous Nudes Ever Eyeshadow Palette
Containing four warm toned powder shadows and two cream shadows this kit has everything you need to create a plethora of looks to take you from day to night.  The shadows are buttery, pigmented and blend well with my favourite being It’s Complicate, a pale pink with golden shimmer.  But, it’s the creaseless cream shadows that really steal the show.  When they say creaseless, they mean it.  They wear all day without a hint of a crease and only begin to fade around the eight hour mark.  The shade Birthday Suit (pale beige with gold glitter) is a wonderful base, making other shadows appear more vibrant.  It’s also a fantastic one wash wonder for more casual looks.  My Two Cents, a metallic copper shade also wears well on its own, having a great depth and complexity of colour.  The cream shadows apply easily with a brush or fingers and blend dreamily.  Needless to say I can’t wait to add a few more singles to my arsenal.

5 | Hervana Blush
The Benefit range I’ve lusted after most over the years is of course, their iconic boxes ‘o powder.  Each with their own unique design and personality, the packaging is of course to die for.  And while my head says ‘gotta catch ‘em all’ my bank account says no way!  Because at $51 (cat lady says what now?!) these beauties are spendy! Which is why it was only last year that I picked up my first Benefit blush in the shade Hervana, a sweet pinky, berry shade.  An easy wearing, everyday sort of blush, Hervana lasts around 6 hours before fading and compliments almost every make up look.

6 | Fine One One
One of Benefit’s more innovative products, Fine One One is a cream blush, contour and highlight in one.  Simply swipe this baby across your cheeks and blend with fingertips for instant perfection.  Excellent for rushed mornings and travelling light.  Plus, who could ignore that sexed up rose gold packaging?

That brings me to the conclusion of the first ever Sampling Six.  I’ve a few more exciting brands to share with you, but let me know what you think of the format in the comments.  And tell me, what’s your favourite Benefit product?

XoN

Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Review

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With limited availability here in Australia, I’m sorry to say that Soap & Glory is not a brand with which I was terribly familiar.  But after seeing Estée over at essiebutton rave about One Heck of a Blot, a translucent mattifying powder, I knew I had to get my grubby little mitts on that compact.

I ordered mine from a UK eBay seller for around $28 including shipping, which although I’ve nothing to compare it to locally, seemed pretty reasonable to me.  Luckily for me it arrived the very afternoon before we were due to fly out to Fiji.  I say luckily because it quickly became a firm favourite of mine whilst abroad.

Upon first impression it’s completely undeniable that the compact is charming.  I love the contrast of the vintage beauty powdering her face alongside the comic book styling of the font.  The powder itself once said POWder!  Doesn’t it make you want to BAM! WHAM! POWDER! and high kick around the room?  No?  Okay, well,  I truly regret not taking any pictures before diving into using the powder.  But, as you can imagine the last few hours before our trip were quite hectic, to say the least.  Of course I could have always taken the snaps once in our tropical paradise, but the thought never occurred to me in my frozen daiquiri haze.  (Bad blogger.)  But, you can get a glimpse of One Heck of a Blot in all it’s glory here.

In terms of the powder itself, there’s not much to say really.  It does what it says, but it does it exceptionally well.  I apply mine to my t-zone using a powder brush to set my make up each morning.  The powder is finely milled and buttery in texture, meaning it won’t ever look heavy.  Once applied, One Heck of a Blot is totally invisible and controls oil for around six hours.  Naturally, being translucent it doesn’t offer any coverage, so I do need to reapply concealer on any red blemishes that begin to rear their ugly heads at the lunchtime mark.  But luckily One Heck of a Blot doesn’t become cakey on top of layers of make up.

All in all, One Heck of a Blot is a delightful product that performs remarkably well and is available at a reasonable cost.  (Although if I were one to gripe, I’d say it is rather difficult to obtain.)  So next time you’re in search of a product to control oil and provide a matte complexion, look no further than this offering from Soap & Glory.

XoN

What’s In My Bag, You Ask?

As I mentioned in my New Year’s post, 2014 is to be a year in which I step outside my comfort zone and maybe try a few new things.  One of the few things I mentioned trying my hand at this year was making YouTube videos.  Now that I’m equipped with a shiny new camera and tripod I felt it was about time to make it happen.  Not wanting to make it too hard on myself first time around I decided to go for a tried and true video format, ‘What’s In My Bag.’  Let me just take this opportunity to say that this was not easy.  No matter how many of those blasted YouTubers you see gadding about having the best of times, it’s definitely not as simple as it seems!  That said I did manage to have a little fun while filming (and even less when editing, ha) and overall, for a first attempt, I’m pretty pleased with the finished product.

Also, thank you to whichever sweet viewer gave it a thumbs up and a very warm hello to my first subscriber.  Way to put a smile on my face guys.  This weekend I’m planning to film a Back To School video since school’s back in next week.  I had planned to do it this afternoon, but there’s a storm coming through and it’s taking all the daylight with it.  (Blogger problems.)   But, keep in mind that I don’t make videos to watch them myself, they’re very much for you guys.  So, if you have any suggestions for me or there’s anything you want to see please comment and let me know!  As always, if you’re a fan of my work don’t forget to subscribe.

XoN

Clarins Instant Light Beauty Kit

Recently, I kissed goodbye to the last drops of my usual Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer and was in need of a replacement post-haste.  Particularly as I was is the midst of the most dreadful breakout.  My skin was resembling the surface of the moon, little green men and all!  A rush trip to Myer saw me walking out with the Clarins Instant Beauty Kit.  Admittedly more than I needed, but the value was just much too much to resist.

Included in the kit is:  an adorable small red cos case, perfect for weekends away; a full size Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch primer; full size Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector; sample sized Instant Smooth Line Correcting Concentrate; and sample Instant Light Brush-On Perfector concealer in the shade #02.  Having no use for the Line Correcting Concentrate I passed it off to my mother.  Mum was also the lucky recipient of the Brush-On Perfector sample (a real favourite of mine, although I use the shade #01), leaving the primer and gloss pour moi.

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Spot the kitten.

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The Holiday SPF Edit

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With the weather warming up (as I write this we’re in the throes of quite the heatwave) it’s more important than ever to make sure to slip, slop and slap.  So, with that in mind I thought it was about time I revisited some of my favourite sun busters from my recent Fiji holiday.

For the Body:  Invisible Zinc Face and Body Sunscreen SPF30 ($24.49)
Ever since the first mum rubbed coloured zinc across a child’s face, zinc has been a staple in the fight against the Aussie sun.  More recently Invisible Zinc revolutionised the way Australians approach sun protection.  Free from paragons and chemical UV filters, Invisible Zinc is ideal for sensitive skin and offers extreme sun protection.

For the Face:  Dermalogica Super Sensitive Sun Shield SPF30 ($50.40)
Another product embracing the powers of zinc, Dermalogica SSSS (yes, seriously) soothes and protects sensitised skin.  Makeup applies flawlessly on top, making it great for everyday use.  My only grumble is the scent, it smells like a mix of hospitals and babies.  Two things that make me dreadfully uncomfortable.

For the Lips:  Mecca Cosmetica Lip De-Luscious SPF25 ($28)
When it comes to sun protection it can be easy to forget the delicate skin of your lips.  At least until you’ve experienced the horrors of a sunburned kisser.  A truly unforgettable sensation.  Containing shea butter, pomegranate seed oil and vitamin e, Lip De-Luscious softens and protects your pout.

For the Hair:  Wella SP Sun UV Spray ($23.60)
The sun’s rays can also have a damaging effect on sensitised locks.  So, as well as protecting coloured hair from fading, Wella UV Spray softens and conditions stressed out holiday hair.

For When All Else Fails:  Shieseido After Sun Intensive Recovery Emulsion ($41)
Despite the best of intentions, it can be easy to get carried away with fun in the sun and be left bearing the burns.  Cooling and soothing Shiseido’s emulsion offers the comfort of an after sun gel as well as the repairing and nourishing attributes of a lotion.

Here’s hoping these suggestions have you covered from top to toe and ready for whatever frivolities this summer throws at you.  But no matter what you get up to outdoors, always remember to mind your Sun Mum!

XoN

Another Year Over: A Glance Back at 2013

As some of you might have noticed Pretty Young Thing hasn’t been getting a lot of action from me in recent weeks and with the new year approaching it’s given me time and space to reflect on the year that was as well as anticipate the coming year.

This year has been one of the most difficult and exciting of my life and through this series of ups and downs I feel I’ve come to know myself better.  I’ve lost friends, made new ones, rediscovered the joy of writing, struggled with my limitations and discovered strengths I never knew I had.

February saw me leaving a toxic and troubled work place and begin work in a new flexible and supportive environment.  Despite not always seeing eye to eye on everything (let’s face it, whoever does?), my new colleagues have had a greater influence on me than they know and their individual experiences have encouraged me to seek a more alternative approach to my health and wellbeing.  It’s this approach that I hold responsible for my much improved health and happiness.

In May my husband and I moved into our first home.  Anyone who tells you that building a house is a piece of cake is a liar, and likely not your friend.  It was a difficult process, but very much worthwhile.  Although, whether you buy or build I don’t think anything prepares you for the real expense of owning your own home.  It’s been a steep learning curve, but I think the experience has brought my husband and I closer as a couple and a team.

September found me rediscovering my voice with the launch of PYT.  Although writing was once such a huge  part of my life, I abandoned it with the end of high school.  As a teenager I’d felt convinced I’d make my living as a writer.  Despite the initial excitement blogging brought me, I feel I’ve struggled to find my voice and be entirely true to myself.  Feelings of jealousy and insecurity brought about by comparing myself to others, have also played roles in my short blogging story.  My hopes for the new year are to improve my skills and continue to grow my readership as PYT is an area of my life that truly gives me a thrill.

Fiji

November found my husband and I in Fiji, sipping cocktails and lying by the pool.  It was our first holiday since our honeymoon nearly two years prior and the laid back, romantic setting was just what the doctor ordered.  A week in the friendly tropics saw us unwind, have oodles of fun and create the kind of memories to keep forever.

Chip

By contrast, this last month has been more difficult than any other as I said goodbye to my cat, Chip.  More than a pet, Chip was my best friend.  I spent more time with him than anyone else and as ridiculous as it sounds he was not only a large part of my life, but also a significant part of my blogging process.  Whether I was drafting in my notebook, testing products or typing up posts, he was right by my side cheering me on.  Or more accurately, eating paper and knocking pens off the desk, but the sentiment was there.  After a struggle with ongoing Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease we made the terribly difficult decision to put Chip to sleep.  I’ve never hated being an adult more in my life and could not have managed without the support of my husband.  He really is my rock and my soft place to land, all at once.  I’m still not sure we made the right choice in saying goodbye to Chip and I miss him everyday.

Boots

Since then, my husband and I have welcomed Boots into our lives.  A mere baby at only six months old, he’s keeping me on my toes with his endless boisterous antics.  Boots and I are learning more about each other every day and while he hasn’t exactly filled the big cat-shaped hole in my heart, I’m looking forward to our blossoming friendship in 2014.

While I’m not one to make resolutions (I’ll never keep them to the letter, so why invite the disappointment?) I’m looking forward to making 2014 the best year yet with my emphasis on health, friends and home, as well as a particular focus on PYT. Within a few days I should have a fancy pants new bridge camera in my paws and am super excited about the possibilities.  I’m seeing crisp images, outfit posts and videos in PYT’s future.  My resolve to take a more work like approach to writing and blogging should hopefully see an upswing in the frequency of posts.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to say a super, big special thank you to those of you who’ve read my posts, taken the time to comment, or followed the blog, Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.  From the very first follower to the hopeful few that hit follow during my recent hiatus, I’m grateful for each and everyone of you and only with your support, can we make 2014 a year of successes for PYT.

All my love and best wishes for the new year.  Remember to party smart and take care of your best pals.

XoN