Life Update

Life Update - Ombre drawers DIY

Motherhood is bloody hard work. Most days, I feel pulled a million different directions. The hardest moments are when more than one of my children are in distress and I can't comfort them all at the same time. I need more limbs... and more hours in the day would be nice, too, instead of trying to cram more in after everyone else has gone to bed. Lately I wonder if I'm falling a bit out of love with blogging. In New Zealand it's gotten increasingly competitive - I can't imagine how horrendous it would be in bigger markets. While I've worked hard to constantly improve my blog, my photography and my 'voice' over the last five years, I've watched others employ shady tactics like the contentious follow/unfollow to leapfrog ahead. They get the attention, products and - this really stings - paid posts, off the back of falsely inflated statistics. We're told PR companies and brands are becoming wise to this ploy and recognising those that use these tactics, but honestly, I'm not seeing any evidence of that. I don't think of myself as an inherently jealous or competitive person, despite the above passage appearing to contradict that belief, so I try to tune it out as much as possible and just 'do me'. It's not always easy, though. And I can't really blame PR companies for increasingly ignoring me either when I feel so inconsistent.

Life Update - Doctor Who Cross stitch

Christmas is coming and I'm handmaking about 60% of the gifts on our 30 people + gift list this year. It's time-consuming and it pulls me further away from blogging, but I'm really enjoying it. I like doing things with my hands, the process of a project coming together. The side of guilt with every stitching session that I'm not working on the blog weighs on me though. The other big time suck at the moment (excluding the usual day to day business) is home renovation. We've started out small, we did Alexandra's room right before she was born at the beginning of the year and we've not long finished painting Noel and Patrick's shared room. Painting a room from start to finish with a baby on your hip or hurrying between naps is no mean feat, let me tell you! It took a lot longer than I anticipated and I'm still taking my time moving the boys' belongings back in (culling toys as I go because I am mean). We've got the wardrobe shelves to reinforce, paint and reinstall and I'm also restoring Patrick's drawers, which were a badly painted second hand find before Noel (age 6) was born - they've been on my to-do list that long! I stripped off the majority of the paint to uncover the wood, which looks like rimu, I'm no expert - but a beautiful wood, anyway. The nooks and crannies are proving difficult as you can see in the picture below but I love how the ombre drawers turned out, especially with the silver handles I added after taking this picture. It makes me so happy standing in the kids' rooms now, feeling we have started making this house our own. 

Life Update - Ombre drawers DIY

Where to from here? My fifth blogging anniversary is coming up and I feel busier and more indecisive than ever. I don't think I want to give up. I still love all things beauty. But the late nights, and guilt (whether I'm doing enough blogging, whether it's taking away from my kids) and depressing state of the blogging industry wear me down.

I don't know. What do you think?

X
Lani

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HAIR | ghds Truly Are EVERYTHING

Ad/Provided for review

ghd Platinum Pink Blush Styler review

If there was ever a beauty product to lives up to its hype, it's got to be ghd hair stylers. I can't tell you how long I've wanted one of these babies and now that it's here, I'm not exaggerating when I say that it has exceeded my already high expectations. 
A hair straightener is a hair straightener is a hair straightener, right? Yes and no. I've used a few different stylers in my time and while all of them have done the job, ghd leaves them in the dust. The twenty-second heat up time and consistent temperature make it easy for me to safely style my hair quicker than ever - perfect for my lazy self!  

ghd Platinum Pink Blush Styler review

I was extremely fortunate to be sent the ghd Platinum Pink Blush Styler (RRP $370NZD) to try out. Outfitted in matte coral with ribbons of gloss and chrome pink accents, this baby is SO me, I can't even deal. It's a feel-good splurge, too, as $20 from the sale of each styler goes to Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand. That gorgeous clutch you see there is actually a heat-resistant storage roll, giving you a safe place to put the stylers while they heat up or between uses, and it's ideal for travel. Also included is a heat-resistant plate guard to further protect your investment. I LOVE how fast they heat up as it means that I can run them through my hair in a flash on even the busiest bleary-eyed mornings - I'm definitely a fan of the 'look good, feel better' policy!

ghd Platinum Pink Blush Styler review

Here's what I'm starting with! My hair is medium length, on the thick side and half-heartedly wavy, like it gave up partway through deciding on a hair type 😂 It's also colour-damaged, resulting in a bit of fluffiness. I prep my hair with a bit of argan oil and a healthy dose of heat protectant, then loosely section my hair into two side sections and one back section. No sectioning clips needed for this quick polish up!

ghd Platinum Pink Blush Styler review

I work back to front with the side sections, focussing on the lower layers first.

ghd Platinum Pink Blush Styler review

A brief guest spot from Mr 6!

ghd Platinum Pink Blush Styler review

Next, I finish up the side section by straightening the top layers and giving my fringe a quick sweep through.

ghd Platinum Pink Blush Styler review

Then I move onto the back, going by feel a bit here.

ghd Platinum Pink Blush Styler review

And moving onto the other side section, I repeat the same process of working back to front, bottom to top.

ghd Platinum Pink Blush Styler review

And I'm done! Polished, unfussy hair to make me feel put together on even the most dire school-run mornings. I realise that was quite a few pictures, but I promise the whole thing took me less than five minutes from turning on the ghd. It's a total gamechanger that I never want to be without again!

ghds can be purchased from selected salons (use their handy locator to find your closest one) or directly from ghd NZ.

Have you tried ghds? How do you style your hair?

X
Lani

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Femme Fatale Cosmetics Anniversary Trio 2017 Swatches & Review

Provided for review/contains affiliate links

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Anniversary Trio 2017 Swatches & Review

This month, Femme Fatale are celebrating their sixth anniversary, a fantastic achievement, and what better way to celebrate than with an anniversary trio? These nail polishes are only available within this trio set and will be available for one presale at Femme Fatale, with limited quantities available at stockists at a later date. I'm running late with this post thanks to nail breaks (which are in turn thanks to DIY efforts - I've just posted pics on the blog Facebook page if you'd like to see) but there's still time to grab the trio if you're quick. The set retails for $36AUD (+ GST for Aussies).

Swatch notes: 
I do not use base coat for my swatches but I did use a top coat is only used where noted. Everything was photographed using a three-point lighting set up under daylight bulbs.


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First Blush

Femme Fatale Cosmetics First Blush Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics First Blush Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics - First Blush, 3 coats + Essie Good To Go

First Blush is described as 'a crelly beige with strong orange tones...' that '...gives way to a prevalent violet glow. Once layered upon the nail it takes on a soft, rosey blush tone'. Once again, Femme Fatale have pulled off an unusual colour pairing in the best way. Their duochromes/shines are just magic! First Blush built up readily in three coats.

Femme Fatale Cosmetics First Blush Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics First Blush Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Sleeping Stars

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Sleeping Stars Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Sleeping Stars Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics - Sleeping Stars, 3 coats + Essie Good To Go

Sleeping Stars is described as 'a slightly beige tinted base with strong blue overlay, packed with silver holographic glitters in various sizes. This is a sheerer colour but layers up beautifully.' Not my fave colour combo on my skintone but this will be beautiful on those of you with cool skin tones. I would recommend undies (a good grey-taupe like Essie Chinchilly would look great) if you're not mad on visible nail line, but it look pretty on its own, too. I think the sheerness contributes to the ethereal look. As is to be expected, Sleeping Stars dries with a bit of texture due to the glitter but is easily tamed with top coat. 

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Sleeping Stars Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Sleeping Stars Nail Polish Swatches & Review

 Fractured Horizon

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Fractured Horizon Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Fractured Horizon Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics - Fractured Horizons, 3 coats + Essie Good To Go

Fractured Horizons is described as 'a shimmering pink to gold shifting finish over a slightly purpled-blue base, and scattered with holographic accents.' This is without a doubt my favourite of the trio, the colour shift is highly visible and absolutely mesmerizing. I also found it to be the most opaque, it built up smoothly without any issues. 

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Fractured Horizon Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Fractured Horizon Nail Polish Swatches & Review

These shades are available for one presale only at femmefatalecosmetics.com.au October 1st-5th. Femme Fatale ships nail polish worldwide; starting from $7 to the USA, $14.50 to Canada and $20 internationally. These shades will also be available from stockists at a later date.

Which of these is your favourite?


X
Lani

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Femme Fatale - Horae Awaits, Upon Seafoam and Hypernova Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Purchased by me

Femme Fatale - Horae Awaits, Upon Seafoam and Hypernova Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Another weekend has slipped away from me again and I find myself wondering how I've crossed so few things off my to-do list! Which isn't to say we weren't busy - we've been repainting our sons' shared room, the boys went to a birthday party and Miss Alexandra and I had a girls day with my mum and sisters. But as always, I feel like I could have gotten more done! Ah well. At least I can cross this blog post off the list, right? This trio of Femme Fatale Cosmetics nail polishes languished in my untrieds box for far too long before I rescued them. Horae Awaits is my favourite of the three and I definitely plan to make up for lost time with it!

Swatch notes: 
I do not use base coat for my swatches and top coat is only used where noted. Everything was photographed using a three-point lighting set up under daylight bulbs.

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Horae Awaits

Femme Fatale Horae Awaits Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Horae Awaits Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics - Horae Awaits, 4 coats + top coat

Horae Awaits is described as a 'sheer pale baby pink crelly with blue luminescent glow and scattered holo reflects'. I've been crushing on soft, barely there shades lately and Horae Awaits is the perfect blend of ethereal base colour and understated sparkle. I used four thin coats to reach opacity, it flowed on the nail smoothly and layering it wasn't any hardship. If Horae Awaits eluded you, I found it still in stock at Beautometry

Femme Fatale Horae Awaits Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Horae Awaits Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Upon Seafoam

Femme Fatale Upon Seafoam Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Upon Seafoam Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics - Upon Seafoam, 4 coats + top coat

Upon Seafoam is described as a 'soft turquoise blue (leans grey/blue/green depending on light) with scattered holo and pink glow'. Mints and pale blues are a colour family I'm having a moment with, plus I'm always a sucker for contrasting pink shimmer so Upon Seafoam ticks all the boxes. It was mostly opaque after three coats but I added a fourth to cover my demon ridges. It dried a little dull so I added top coat, too. I found Upon Seafoam still in stock at Rainbow Connection.

Femme Fatale Upon Seafoam Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Upon Seafoam Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Hypernova

Femme Fatale Hypernova Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Hypernova Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Cosmetics - Hypernova, 4 coats + top coat

Hypernova was the August 2016 colour of the month. I finally rescued it from my untrieds box a few weeks ago and whoa mama, am I glad I did! The colour shifting flakies compliment the squishy purple so well. Reaching near-opacity took four coats thanks to my defiantly ridged nails creating a less than even canvas but a ridge filling base coat would have made a big difference.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find anyone with any of this shade left! This is definitely one to look out for in destashes and blog sales. 

Femme Fatale Hypernova Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale Hypernova Nail Polish Swatches & Review

Femme Fatale nail polishes are available from their website and selected stockists

What do you think of this trio?

X
Lani

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MAC MONDAY | Chen Man Love & Water Lipsticks Swatches & Review

MAC
Purchased by me/Contains affiliate links

MAC MONDAY | Chen Man Love & Water Lipsticks Swatches & Review

The MAC Chen Man Love & Water collection was released in March 2012 and was one of the first in a series of collaborations with Chinese artists, photographers and designers. MAC's decision to sell in China, in spite of the Chinese government's requirement that they agree to animal testing in order to sell there, is an ongoing source of debate in the beauty community. MAC believe they are working to change the system from the inside by encouraging the Chinese government towards the use of in vitro testing, which is more accurate and cruelty-free, while others criticise MAC's decision to cede their cruelty-free status at all. I remain on the fence about the whole thing, which is probably cowardly of me, but there you go. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

As MAC have expanded their market to China, however, I have enjoyed the collaborations, from Chen Man to the more recent Guo Pei, Chris Chang and Min Liu. When this collection was on counters back in 2012, my husband Mike bought the Force of Love lipstick for me. He teased me that he would hide it for the two months until my birthday but it wound up being an early birthday present! I picked up the other lipstick from the small edit, Budding Love, a year or so ago on an impulse when I stumbled upon it in a destash and I'm so glad I did. Scroll on down to see swatches of them both.

MAC MONDAY | Chen Man Love & Water Lipsticks Swatches & Review

The packaging for this collection was a bit of a tease, as the beautiful print shown was only on the box sleeve and the products were actually housed in standard packaging. Not that I don't enjoy MAC's regular packaging, but their limited edition packaging is always to die for and it could have been so gorgeous, had the prints been properly incorporated. At least they've upped their game in the more recent collabs!

MAC MONDAY | Chen Man Love & Water Lipsticks Swatches & Review

Formula Overview:
There are just two lipsticks in this collection which makes for a very brief overview! Budding Love is a Lustre, which can be more hit or miss. They're sheer or semi-opaque, sometimes sparkly and a little glossy, though not as glossy as Amplifieds or Cremesheens, and many people find them drying, though this wasn't the case here. Mattes are richly pigmented and have a smooth, velvety texture which I don't typically find drying; Force of Love is on the thinner, more slippery side. MAC lipsticks have a vanilla scent.

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Budding Love

MAC Chen Man Love & Water Budding Love Lipstick Swatches & Review

MAC Chen Man Love & Water Budding Love Lipstick Swatches & Review

MAC Chen Man Love & Water Budding Love Lipstick Swatches & Review

Budding Love is described as a 'pale lavender' and has a Lustre finish. This isn't a colour that always works for me but between the subtle warmth in this shade of lavender and the choice to pair it with warm tones on my eyes in the below look, I think I pulled it off! Budding Love is one of the 'good' Lustres, in fact, it's really more like a Cremesheen - evenly pigmented, glossy and non-drying (some Lustres can make your lips feel like a desert!). It lasted four hours on me.

MAC Chen Man Love & Water Budding Love Lipstick Swatches & Review

Force of Love

MAC Chen Man Love & Water Force of Love Lipstick Swatches & Review

MAC Chen Man Love & Water Force of Love Lipstick Swatches & Review

MAC Chen Man Love & Water Force of Love Lipstick Swatches & Review

Force of Love is described as a 'vivid honeysuckle pink' and has a Matte finish. This is one of MAC's more slippery, silica-feeling Mattes and being used to their denser Mattes like Russian Red and Ruby Woo, I found this newer texture a bit off-putting at first. It's grown on me over time though, after all, how could I resist that colour?! It's gorgeous. Force of Love lasted six hours on me and wasn't drying.

MAC Chen Man Love & Water Force of Love Lipstick Swatches & Review


What I liked:
  • Great colour payoff
  • Lasted between four and six hours
  • Non drying
What I didn't like:
  • Nothing
Start your hunt here:

What do you think of these lovelies?
         
X
Lani

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