My June 2021 No-buy

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For the last two years I have been working on budgeting and I finally feel like I’m in a good place.

Having said that – I am currently about a months worth of spending above my allocated budget. So – enter No-buy! It would be amazing to start the next half of the year with some money in the budget rather than chasing the spending of previous months. It’s just a month – so it’s very doable. And I will mainly be focusing on my two biggest tripping points – clothing* and beauty (as always).

I am actually looking forward to having some time to just ‘sit’ with what I’ve already got in my wardrobe and having some time to use up some of the products in my beauty stash. No need for anything new at the moment – I’m well stocked.

I’ve been tracking my spending for the past three or four years and other than the above all other spending is not a big issue for me – so everything else is still ok to spend on (within a reason, of course) and I don’t expect it to be disruptive to my budget in the slightest.

*There is a caveat to spending on clothes – I’ve had my eye on a particular dress for the last three months and once it’s back in stock in my size (expected in June) I have decided I will buy it. But everything else is either off limits or will have to wait until after my no buy.

Low buy October (2020 edition)

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How about we (I) try again (for what feels like a thousand time). Same old rules, same old goals.

A post on why a low buy is more of a sweet spot for me as opposed to a now buy is coming (I owe it mostly to myself to set it right in an organised and easily digestible way). For now though, let’s get the current task going.

Here I am – at the beginning of the last quarter of what feels like the strangest year ever. For me personally it has wreaked all types of havoc when it comes to my spending habits. I am at a much better place than I was, say, even just two years ago, but still – I had expected to have done better than this. So I’ll try again. I’m not banning all shopping, that doesn’t work for me. I’ll be keeping it minimal. There are some holiday releases heading our way and I have given myself a permission to dabble in some of those, so we’ll see. As always I’ll be focusing on two of the most problematic areas of my overspending – beauty and fashion. I can do it!

Madara Insider Box – Spring 2019

2019, April 2019

I actually pre-ordered this box back in September (so it’s still within my no buy rules) and I was really looking forward to receiving it once I knew I wasn’t going to buy anything new this year.

This is the second Madara insider box I’ve purchased and so far they’ve been ok. Really reflective of how I feel about the brand altogether – I like the products, but I’m never really blown away and it’s very rare that I go back and repurchase. I also have a bit of a history with not being able to get on with some of the products purely based on their scents, sometimes to a point that I have had to stop using the products altogether. This time around everything has actually been fine in that regard.

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One of the things included this time around is the Grow Volume Conditioner (€19.90/175ml) from their new Boost line designed to aid hair growth. It has chanterelle extracts (yum) and it’s packaged in a plant based plastic tube (I cannot tell you how impressed I am by that alone). It smells like a herby spice cupboard – something I actually quite enjoy, a bit spa like in fact. The smell doesn’t last too long on the hair once rinsed out. Texture wise it’s a thick cream that absorbs very quickly. In terms of the actual performance – as I was rinsing the conditioner out I noticed that my hair felt stronger, if that makes sense. I actually think I will get on with this product quite well.

Beach BB Shimmering Sunscreen SPF15 (€21.95/100ml) – I’m a bit on the fence about this one. It’s not as thick and greasy feeling as the other products from Madara’s sun protection range, but then again, it also has a lot lower SPF than the others. SPF 15 is not going to get you very far especially in the height of the summer which is when you would want to take the most advantage of the included shimmer since the weather is a lot more forgiving to exposing more skin. The shimmer itself is very nice and quite subtle and the cream has nice florally scent. It’s great to add some umph on a night out, but I’m not so sure about the whole SPF thing. I would use it as a body makeup type of product and rely on something else for the actual sun protection if I was to use it during the day.

Fake It Natural Look Self Tan Milk (full size €27.00/150ml) – I haven’t actually tested it out since I’m staying away from the fake tans now that I’m pregnant, but I did apply a bit on my hand just to test out the texture and smell. It’s very light and absorbs quickly, it’s also colourless on application – so far so good. The smell is a bit funky – like a very intense citrus, but I’m not sure whether this lingers or in fact develops in to something even more pungent. I also don’t know how well the actual tan develops and how long it lasts etc. I’ll have to report back on this.

Exfoliating Oil to Milk Scrub (full size €24.95/60ml) – It’s not very clear from the description whether this is to be used on face or body so I assume it can be used on either. However, the actual scrubby particles are very fine and the product is super gentle on the skin to the point that you almost can’t feel it (I used it on my face) so it probably wouldn’t be the most effective body scrub.  I don’t normally use physical exfoliators on my face so I’m not really sure how it compares to other products in this category, but it seemed nice enough and if facial scrubs are your thing it’s probably decent enough to try.

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Included also were two 3ml samples – Daily Defence Cream (full size €17.50/60ml) which I have used before and I like as an intensive hand cream. Also the Weightless Sun Milk SPF20 (full size €22.95/150ml) – which I had very high hopes for, but it’s not actually that lightweight and it’s very fragranced. It protects the skin well but there’s nothing exceptional about it compared to other similar products on the market.

All in all – it’s been interesting to test some new products. I won’t buy the next box since I’m on a no buy, but I might get another one at some point in the future. I wouldn’t say it’s a must, though. From the value perspective the boxes work out quite well – it’s €27.95 for one or €37.95 for two so you definitely get your moneys worth.

What are your favourite Madara products?

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My No Buy Year 2019 – Three Month Check In

2019, April 2019

2FB85FB0-E5CE-448C-A2A6-E0AFECAC93C7Last of the no buy posts (have a look at my wishlist HERE and the list of things I have bought HERE) is an overall roundup of my experience so far.

It definitely started on a high – in January it was all fresh and exciting, it was an interesting project to concentrate on. The time flew and the whole thing didn’t seem that difficult at all.

In February I was a little bit more tempted to buy, but I actually had decided not to buy a single beauty or clothing related item for the whole month – including repurchases (since I knew I wasn’t going to run out of anything). Having a dedicated page in my calendar and crossing out days one by one was definitely helpful. And so I kept my ground for another month.

At the beginning of March I felt like I didn’t want to buy anything because I just didn’t want to ruin my perfect record. Until I went through a few emotionally quite taxing days and I was just itching to make a purchase, any purchase! There was that little voice in my head whispering “common on now, you’ve had an absolutely horrendous day, just treat yourself”. This actually made me realise just how closely connected my buying habits and changes in my emotional state are. Thinking back it’s definitely very true – emotionally last year was by far the worst year of my life and coincidentally it was also the year I spent the most money on buying things. I mean – off the charts spending! So that is something I will definitely address in the coming months. Now that I have identified the triggers I just need to come up with a better strategy to deal with these situations. All in all – March has been hard, but I do feel I’m getting back on top of things and I’m hoping for a much better April.

I’ve mentioned wishlists before, but they really do work for me. I am surprised by how quickly things rotate in and out – there are items I would delete just hours after placing them at the top of my must buy list. As a result I have become a bit more selective when it comes to placing things on my wishlist in the first place. I have also become a bit wishlist obsessed spending more time than I would like to on perfecting my selections. Again – something I can improve on.

I do think I have become better at instinctively knowing what I will end up purchasing once my no buy is over and what will just not work for me. If I feel any hesitation or if I have to find reasons to convince myself to like something I know it’s not right and move on. It has also inspired me to declutter my collection because I can now very clearly hone in on things that should never have been there in the first place.

So far I have used up a whopping 26 items across the board, but I haven’t had to repurchase any. I still have at least one item in each category which has made me realise just how unnecessarily big my collection is. I have also discovered some absolute gems in my current collection and most times when I see something new and shiny I go back to the things I already own and I’m able find something very similar.

I have been able to carve out a bit more time to spend on other things like reading and just relaxing but I’m still not where I was hoping to be, but then there’s another nine month to go. And that’s the thing – it will take time to fix something I  have ignored for so long. I just hope a year is enough.

If you are also doing a no buy let me know in the comments below how it’s been going for you.

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My No Buy Year 2019 – What I’ve bought so far

2019, March 2019

A few weeks ago I shared what was on my current wishlist (HERE) – things that I would buy if it wasn’t for the no-buy. This time I thought I’ll share the products that I have actually purchased. I really do think I’ve done pretty well, especially compared to the quantities of beauty products I used to acquire pre my no buy year.

So far I’ve bought four items – three of which were partially covered by gift vouchers that were about to expire and another item entirely paid with by a gift voucher.

So these are the products that have made the cut:

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Mac Dazzleglass in Steppi’n Out (AUD 40.00) – I used to own a Dazlleglass and I remember really liking it, it’s probably one of the very few lip products that I’ve actually used up. I was really craving having it back in my collection. I had a gift voucher and I decided to go for it. No regrets there. I’ve really cherished it and have gotten a lot of use out of it. It’s supper shimmery and sticky, but it’s also pretty long lasting for a lip gloss and doesn’t bleed outside the lip line. I really like that it applies with a mini lip brush (I much prefer a brush over a traditional doe foot applicator for lip glosses). It’s not as bright and scary looking on the lips – the base colour is actually pretty sheer, it really is all about the shimmer with this one.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter (£30.00/30ml) – I first swatched this when it launched about a year ago. Back then I thought it was a foundation and for that it was definitely too sheer so I just left it at that. However, at the end of 2018 when all the best in beauty yearly roundups started popping up on youtube this was being mentioned quite frequently, so I decided to give it another go. I mainly use it as a primer – it gives that extra dimension to whatever you put on top. It makes my complexion look absolutely luminous. So beautiful! The giant doe foot applicator, though? A pump would have been so much more convenient.

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L-R: Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter in 2. Light; Mac Dazzleglass in Steppi’n Out

By Terry Lash-Expert Twist Brush Mascara (£25.00/8.3g) – In my opinion, it’s currently one of the best mascaras on the market. Even without using the two step application method it will take your lashes to unseen heights. It’s also super long lasting, I would even say it’s semi waterproof, yet not too hard to remove when you’re done with it.

Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Cleansing Ritual (£32.50/2x75ml) – I am a sucker for oil cleansers and even a bigger sucker for Charlotte Tilbury, so really it’s no surprise I went for this. My full review is HERE, but in short – it’s a win.

I’m very happy with everything I have bought so far and I’m even happier I’ve managed to stick with my no buy rules (if you’re interested you can read more about my no buy HERE).

What are some of your favourite beauty purchases of 2019 so far?

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Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Cleansing Ritual Cleansers

2018 March, 2019, March 2019, May

The new-ish cleansers form Charlotte Tilbury (£32.50/2x75ml) are a two step cleansing system (or ritual if you please) consisting of an oil/gel cleanser as the first step and a charcoal cleanser as the second step. It also comes complete with a muslin cloth.

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I do love a good oil based cleanser, it’s definitely my favourite cleanser texture. A charcoal cleanser, however, is something I have never tried before so I was very intrigued to see how these two work together.

The oil cleanser actually has a bit of a sticky honey-like texture which doesn’t go supper thin when applied (once applied it’s actually very similar in texture to the Oskia Renaissance Cleanser if you’re familiar with that one). I do really like it. I also really enjoy the very gentle lemon fragrance this has. It’s good at removing makeup (I do, however, usually use some kind of micellar water to remove the bulk of my makeup before going in with my cleanser). It does leave some residue on the skin but since you go over with the second step it doesn’t actually bother me too much.

The charcoal cleanser has almost a whipped texture – it’s very pleasant to use. Once I’m done with both steps my skin is left super super soft.

Together both products really make for a special little ritual and I’m very glad I decided to pick this duo up. I would happily buy it again. You do have to remember, though, that it’s quite pricey and I seem to be using it up quite quickly so it could easily turn in to an expensive habit especially if used both in the morning and in the evening. As a special treat, however, I’m all for it.

Have you tried any of the Charlotte Tilbury skin care products?

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Natasha Denona Star Palette

2019, March 2019

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This purchase was definitely inspired by Casey Holmes and her constant raving about the Green/Brown 28 pan palette a while back. Definitely a pricey purchase – the Natasha Denona Star Palette retails for AUD 245.00! It does, however, contain 18 shades which works out much cheaper than some other luxury shadows (for example, a single Chanel shade will set you back a whopping AUD 52.00!!!). It’s not much of a justification, I know. And for that much money you really want it to be perfect so lets get in-to the nitty-gritty.

My heart literally skipped a beat when I swatched some of the shades on display in Sephora. The eye-shadows are sooo soft and have the exact right level of pigmentation, they really are a pure joy! They apply, blend and build effortlessly.

Generally speaking I’m not much of a bright eye-shadow wearer. I tend to gravitate towards warmer neutrals with some rust and pink shades somewhere in the mix. The shades in the Star palette are quite neutral-ish. Sure there are some exciting duo-chromes and a fair share of very sparkly glitters, but there are also plenty of very wearable basics. From just looking at it I know I could very comfortably wear every single shade.

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L-R: Spectrum, Earth, Bellatrix, Diadem, Vega, Galaxia

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L-R: Flesh, Orion, Gemma, Phoenix, Supernova, Electra

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L-R: Atria, Titania, Cosmo, Polaris, Atik, Rhea

It’s up to you whether you want to use a primer or not. I did, I always do when I use powder eye-shadows because the shades come up brighter and stay put for longer. You will definitely need to use some sort of primer for the glitter shades (I used Too Faced’s Glitter Glue AUD 30.00/10.40 ml) to get them stick properly. There is also a lot of fall out with these shades so a setting powder to dust off the excess is another must. Or you can really channel your inner Casey and apply your eye-shadows before applying your base/face makeup.

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The only other con I can see is the transparent shade name sheet that is neither here nor there. I have kept it in for the photos but I will be removing it soon after this post goes live because it ends up either in front of the mirror or flaps on the actual shadows. I can’t see myself hanging on to the sheet once it’s out and do I really need to know the names of the shades I’m using? For completeness, though, the shade names should really be printed inside the palette. Other than that the packaging is very sturdy. It’s soft but not flimsy and I haven’t tried but I imagine it would travel well.

If money isn’t an issue and makeup is something that you enjoy this really has happy times written all over it. It’s a very special and a vey treasured item in my collection!

If, however, it’s a bit too pricey definitely look at some of the smaller Natasha Denona five shade palettes that retail for AUD 69.00. In terms of what else this compares to I would say Anastasia Beverly Hills eye shadow textures are just as superb as are Marc Jacobs’ offerings.

Do you own any Natasha Denona eye shadows? Do you think they are worth the hefty price tag?

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My Current No-Buy Wishlist – February 2019

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There will be a few no-buy related posts coming your way over the next month or so, but I thought I’ll start with a really fun one.

Ever since I can remember I have always had some kind of wish-list on hand. One of the first ones had a pair of red roller skates on it. Now, however, almost 20 years latter my wish-lists are almost entirely fashion and beauty centred.

For the purposes of this post imagine I was to give myself a free pass to buy some of those very coveted items. So this is what I would pick:

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Image source: Pinterest

Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina Eye Shadow Palette (AUD 76.00) – I finally purchased the Modern Renaissance palette about four months ago and I’ve been so impressed with the quality. The eye-shadows are so soft, so pigmented, blend very nicely and they last so long. Everything you could ever want in an eye-shadow. Norvina seems like a great extension of Modern Renaissance colour scheme and I do love me some good shimmers and purples. Norvina just seems like a natural choice.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara (AUD 39.00) – I’ve been trying for ages to find a good cruelty free mascara but haven’t had any luck so far. I’ve heard great things about this mascara and it would be the next one I would try.

Benefit Boi-ing Brightening Concealer (AUD 38.00/4.4g) – It would be a bit of a panic buy actually. I’ve heard great things about the coverage levels of this concealer. Knowing how little sleep you get once you have a new baby I would be counting on this to make me presentable again.

Chanel Rouge Coco Flash Lipstick (USD 38.00) – this is the most unpractical and illogical of the bunch. A completely unnecessary purchase, it would be a pure indulgence. Something I want based on the branding, packaging and the newness of the product. There really isn’t anything that particularly special about this lipstick. Newertheles, I really, really want it!

GHD Glide Professional Hot Brush (AUD 210.00) – This just seems like such an amazing idea! First few reviews that I’ve seen have been pretty encouraging. I also know that GHD as a brand always delivers so I would have no hesitation to buy their newest hair tool.

At the moment I’m, of course, pretty certain I will buy all of these once my no-buy is actually over but who knows. It will be interesting to see if this list looks the same some nine or even six months in.

Are you doing a no-buy? Hope it’s going well!

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Current Favourites – February 2019

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Since I’m doing a no-buy this year most of my current beauty favourites are a bit of a re-discovery products. I have had all of these in my collection for at least a few months now but I just haven’t had the willingness to actually use them. There has always been something newer and more exciting that has taken over. Now, however, I have no excuses to push these aside and as a result I have discovered some real gems.

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Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment (£16.00/15g) – probably the biggest surprise of the year so far. I have used some Glamglow products in the past and from what I can remember I wasn’t overly impressed so I was in no rush to use this mask. It does say ‘hydrating’, thought, which is something I always seem to want to have more of. I had a pretty intense ‘burning’ sensation when I first applied this (I suspect it’s due to the ginger being one of the ingredients). I didn’t think this would hydrate my skin in the slightest since hydration is something that usually feels quite comfortable and this did not feel comfortable at all. But I was wrong, oh so wrong! Once the burning passed my skin was left feeling smooth and supple. It’s now a product that I can’t wait to have on my face again.

Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick (£22.00) – even though it looks like a bit of a gimmick it actually is a superb lip product! This is everything every ‘my lips but better’ lip product has ever promised to be – slightly enhances my natural lip colour, gives my lips a good level of shine and feels very comfortable. There’s no patchiness or stickiness and it’s housed in a very nifty lightweight casing. Now only if they brought back the gloss version!

Hourglass brushes – very expensive but I reckon if I added up what I’ve spent over the years trying to find cheaper alternatives the Hourglass brushes would seem quite reasonable. I have the No.1 (£59.00) (I use to apply both pressed and loose powders all over my face) and the No.2 (£53.00) (I use for powder blushes). I have never once been disappointed with these and the application is always exactly what I expect. I’ve now got my eye on the No.3 (all over shadow), No.4 (crease) and No.9 (domed shadow) to ace my eye-shadow game!

Benefit Badgal Bang Mascara (full size £22.00) – Now I’ve got very high standards when it comes to mascaras! Give me all the volume and length, I’ve got no time for those ‘no makeup makeup’ mascaras. I want something that basically looks like fake lashes, every single time. This does exactly that. Definitely worth a repurchase.

Diptique Do Son EDP (AUD 227.00/75ml) – one that I would definitely describe as a winter scent. I moved to Australia just over a year ago and the fact that the seasons are the other way around is still something I haven’t quite got my head around. So my hand automatically reached for this. Who knew it also works well in the middle of summer. (It would work better in that crisp winter air to bring the full potential out of this, but hey-ho!) Tuberose is the dominating note and it’s fairly heavy (in a good way) and lasting scent. A less sophisticated version would be the original Gucci Bloom.

So there it is – my current favourites round up. What have you been loving lately?

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Current Skincare Routine – February 2019

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Here’s an update on my current skincare routines. I really enjoy creating and reading these to track which products have stood the test of time.

Morning

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CleanserOmorovicza Moor Cream Cleanser (full size AUD 103.00/150ml). I first discovered this cleanser back in December 2017 (it was included in the Caroline Hirons x Cult beauty box). It’s a very gentle non-foaming cream cleanser. I wouldn’t really use it for anything else than a morning cleanse (I once attempted to remove sunscreen with this cleanser and it did a horrendous job). At this point I’m not sure I would repurchase. It’s just a bit meh and I’ve been using it as my morning cleanser for over a year now so I’m up for switching things up a bit and trying something new. Not sure what that will be yet, though.

Toner – I’m still using the Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist (AUD 49.00/50ml). I’ve lost count how many bottle of this stuff I’ve gone through but it’s still the best! My initial review is HERE.

Serum – at the moment I’m using the Omorovicza Instant Perfection Serum (£85.00/30ml). I’ve only started using it about a week ago, but boy has it impressed me! It applies as a clear watery liquid and absorbs very quickly. The main benefits I have noticed are the hydration and brightening it provides. My complexion just appears fresher and more evened out in terms of both texture and any discolouration (of which I don’t have much to be fair). I also haven’t noticed any interference with other skincare or makeup products I put on top. A definite repurchase.

MoisturiserDrunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream (AUD 92.00/50ml). I’m very glad I decided to pick this up. I was very concerned since I had red quite a few reviews saying that this is a fairly heavy moisturiser more suitable for night. I personally haven’t found that to be the case at all. The texture is very solid, but soft and once applied it actually spreads out very thinly and looks almost matte on the skin. I have had zero problems with putting makeup on top of it and I have not noticed any greasy appearance or feel throughout the day. Big thumbs up and a very sure repurchase.

Eye creamMadara Smart Antioxidants Anti-Fatigue Eye Rescue Cream (EUR 31.00/15ml) – it’s good, but that’s more or less all I can say. Seems hydrating enough and I love the very sleek no-fuss packaging. The only con in my experience is the fact that it makes almost all of my mascaras to smudge a little on the bottom lashes. Other than that I would definitely consider repurchasing. At the moment, though, I have a bottle of Drunk Elephant’s C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream (AUD 98.00/15ml) lined up to try next. Once that runs out – I’ll have to reassess.

Night

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Cleanser – Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm (£47.00/100g) – it’s that solid but soft oil texture that I like so much. It melts beautifully once applied and destroys all makeup and/or sunscreen without drying my skin. It also doesn’t stick to your skin and is easily removable with a wet flannel.  An oldie but a goodie that I come back to time and time again. Packaging is not super travel friendly and the fragrance is not to my taste, but other than that I have no complains at all.

MoisturiserAurelia Probiotic Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser (£58.00/60ml). Simple in packaging and texture but so so effective. I absolutely hate the smell, but the actual formula seems to do wonders for my skin and thankfully the smell doesn’t linger for too long. I always wake up with smooth, supple, well moisturised but not greasy skin. So far it’s the best night cream I’ve ever used.

Eye creamTata Harper Restorative Eye Cream (AUD 138.00/15ml) – by now it’s a staple and I can’t see myself switching to anything else anytime soon. I have really noticed a difference when I’ve stopped using it. If you’re up for my full rave head HERE.

Extra Steps

Since I’m pregnant at the moment I have removed most of the extra treatments from my routine for the time being in fear of using anything that could be harmful. The only “extras” I use are the odd sheet masks every now and then. I really like the Garnier Fresh-Mix Vitamin C Tissue Mask (AUD 6.99/per mask), these are an instant fix whenever my skin is looking particularly dry and/or dull. I have actually become very found of the whole sheet mask thing altogether. I know this doesn’t make much sense but in a way they seem a lot less restrictive than traditional masks (maybe because the sheet masks are so easy to pack for travel).

What is your favourite skincare product at the moment?

P.S. Don’t forget Space NK is running their £15 off for every £60 spent offer until 11 Feb. Great time to stock up!

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