September’s Glam Pack by Sample Bar

Hi All!

Yay for Tuesday…. Or not. Who knows, Tuesday’s are a bit random. Last night I had a lovely time at the Miss Career launch which I was invited to by a lovely friend. Lets just say there was a candy bar and a goody bag. With tea. Yup, I had a good Monday. Right now I am drinking (or rather eating with a spoon when no one is looking) some Turkish apple tea and catching up on Australia’s next top model (a guilty pleasure). Hope you guys are all having a lovely week too!
Today I am showing you a very late Sample Bar Glam Pack. I haven’t posted about the last couple of boxes and to be honest there was nothing to rave or write home about. September’s box was not a bad box and was themed around Spring and the change in season. So lets just see what was included!

DSC_18511. Evolu Protective Day Cream: This may be my favourite product this month and is the only one I have already got stuck into using pretty much daily. It is slightly fragrant but not too much so. It has SPF 15 which is great for Spring where there is a bit of sun around and about. Its also rich but not enough to be annoying for a day cream and works perfectly for my dry skin. The full size of this is 75mL and is a whopping $54.99. I have a sad feeling that once my sample runs out that will probably be it for me and evolu.

2. Maybelline BB Cream: I have been very keen to try the new BB creams by Maybelline and so was happy to receive 7 sample sachets. What was a little frustrating is that the 7 samples we received were for the normal BB cream with Salicylic acid which is pretty useless for me and my sensitive dry skin. If they were sending a number of sachets I am not sure why they didn’t include both this formula and their dry skin formula. I will definitely try this but would have preferred the one more suited to my skin tone (which was specified on their website and so is part of my beauty profile). This is a reasonable $19.99 for 30mL.

3. Nimue Purifier: This thing looked cute but to begin with I had no idea what it was. I’m still not 100% sure but it says something along the lines of a day or night product that can be used o reduce oiliness for cleansing the skin. Again considering my skin is anything but oily I am unsure how useful this will be for me personally. Its a pretty high end product coming in at $81.00 for a 50mL size product.

4. Batiste Dry Shampoo: I hear so much about dry shampoo and yet have never branched into this area of hair care. My hair isn’t oily and lasts really well between washes so I wasn’t super desperate but will definitely try this handy handbag sized sample out and if I like it purchase the one specific for brown hair. The price for this ranges from $7.99 to $15.99 depending on size.

5. Yon-Ka Ultra Protection SPF 20 Sunscreen: Next up we received a 5mL sample of this anti-aging sunscreen. I am always happy to try new sunscreens and was intrigued by this brand I have never heard of. The packaging of the sample looks a little like medicine/ointment but I have tried this out to see what it was like. The formula was thick and a greyish white tone which makes it feel like an effective sunscreen. Although it was thick it wasn’t uncomfortably thick once it settled into the skin. What I found the most off putting about this product was the intense lavender scent. Now I am a big fan of lavender unlike a lot of people I know but to me it is more of a night time scent and not something I would slather on before a work day or a day at the beach. Strange. This sunscreen is $49.90 for 50mL. I think I would stick with my trusty Neutrogena.

6. Broadway Real Life Nails: Last up and worst of all is this last product. I don’t even want to talk about it because I would never wear them and I wish I had gotten pretty much anything else. These are fake, self-sticking nails and although I have nothing against fake nails I would never wear them and if I did they would be coloured, not cheap looking french tips. Yuck. Not a fan and don’t think I could even pass these off to a friend. These are an overpriced $21.99.

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So there were a couple of products here I will try but all in all Samplebar disappointed in terms of paying attention to our personal beauty quizzes that you can do on the website and sent me too many products that just don’t match my profile. If you don’t want to personalize the boxes then don’t ask for people to give you the information. Do I sound bitter? Oops. I plan to stop my boxes after October so lets hope we end on a high!

Did any of you receive a box this month? Did you get the same things and how did you find it?

Xx

 

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My Big Little City: Barilla

So this Dumpling restaurant hidden under ugly bright green decor and a pretty plain sign is no secret from the Auckland hipster scene and I just could not help but feel slightly interested in what this Dumpling restaurant had that the 99 other dumpling establishments (on the same road) didn’t. I am not really a big dumpling fan personally, especially being allergic to seafood and finding hidden prawns minced up in all the “veggie” dumplings I try. However, one day last week Edd and I went with 5 friends from work out to test out the dumplings and judge it for ourselves.20130930-194128.jpg

The service was lackluster which is kind of part of the charm of this no frills, no nonsense dumpling paradise. Don’t bother asking for a fork or expecting everything to come at the same time with a smile because odds are it won’t. I wasn’t too fussed as I knew this going in and was just looking for a decent feed and a good night with friends. Well both of those expectations were met and exceeded.

So I guess I should discuss the food. Dumpling wise we chose the lamb and chilli, chicken with mushroom and spring onion and beef with …. maybe capsicum? I would like to try the Pork and Chives which I heard lots of good things about but this time around we were accommodating for my intolerance of seafood and someone else’s non-pork preference. The dumplings are approx $12 for 20 and you choose them to be either fried, steamed or boiled. We tried one with each method to test it out and figure out what we preferred. The dumplings were nothing short of delicious. The fillings were tasty and fresh and the dumpling pastry was light and perfectly cooked. My favourite method was having them steamed with the fried dumplings next on the ladder. The boiled were my least favourite and I would skip that next time.

Aside from the dumplings there is a big menu of stir-fries and side dishes. The advice I had heard was to pretty much ignore everything except the dumplings and the fried french beans. We (stupidly?) decided to get a dish of fried rice which was very generous and was a nice little way to soak up the juices but in all reality was a very average fried rice. It kind of seemed like just boiled rice with some frozen veggies stirred through. Very average but if you need some carbs it does the job.

The french beans on the other hand were a whole other story. On the menu they sound a bit strange (Fried french beans with seasoned salt) but once at the table these were a definite crowd pleaser and my favourite thing from the whole night. The beans were fried in a crispy light batter (similar to tempura) and sprinkled with the most delicious “seasoned salt” I have ever tasted, Salty, spicy and full of amazing flavour I could have taken a whole plate of these home for desert.
20130930-194143.jpg All in all we each paid $10 each for our delicious meal and yet were very full and extremely satisfied. The only change I would make to Barilla would be to make it BYO because the lack of alcoholic options was dissapointing for some (personally the endless tea did the job quite fine for me!). Would I go back? In a heartbeat. Delicious and yet affordable and a great option for a big group of people who want an affordable night out. We are already planning our next trip.

Go try Barilla out! Its situated at 571 Dominion Road, Balmoral (close to St Lukes and to Mt Eden) and is open 11.30am-12am so perfect for a family lunch in the holidays or a dinner with a big group of friends. And don’t be put off by a D rating that they became a little infamous for, they now sit pretty at an A to the delight of many Aucklanders (hipsters and average Joes like me included!).

p.s. Please excuse the very average iphone photos. I would feel like a bit of a weirdo with our heavy duty Nikon out at the dinner table and was a little too distracted by deliciousness to take good photos. You really have to try it anyway, photos can’t do justice.

Some September Favourites

Hi All!

So it is now the 4th of October and time for some of the things that have been high up on my radar for the past month. A couple of these aren’t new favourites but are just Spring essentials that I couldn’t help but include.

DSC_23431. Daisy Eau de Toilette by Marc Jacobs: So this is one of my two go-to signature scents and I adore everything about it. During the colder months I have left this to one side in an attempt to revisit some other lovely choices in my little collection but as soon as it was officially Spring again I couldn’t resist pulling it straight out again. A youthful, feminine,  fresh, floral scent that is relatively long lasting and wear downs well. My favourite notes with this scent is the gardenia and jasmine but there’s other lovely stuff in there I can’t quite specify.

2, Maybelline Colour Whisper in 45 Who Wore It Red-er: I finally picked up one of these to try out and am in love with the formula. It is moisturizing and strongly pigmented and lasts longer on my lips than I was expecting. I chose this colour because the others available at the pharmacy I went to were either bright pink or relatively pale/nude shades so this red toned pink stood out. The name is quite deceptive and for me this comes off much more as a pink with a red tone as opposed to a red but to be honest it probably suits me better that way (I have included a quick swatch at the bottom of the post to try and convey the colour). I will definitely go and pick up some more of these to try soon.

3. Evolu Day Cream with SPF15: I received this in a recent Sample Bar box and have been using it recently. I have been having a few boughts of dry skin and the rather thick formula of this moisturizer performs really well and keeps my skin hydrated for the full day without any irritation or strong fragrances.

4, Essie Mint Candy Apple: Another Spring classic that I was sporting on my phalanges as soon as it was spring was my favourite mint nail polish and a bit of a cult favourite as well. A beautiful blue/green mint colour and although the formula isn’t perfect, after 3 coats it looks gorgeous and lasts for a good while.

5. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy: This is one of my favourite lip balms/products but I sort of forgot about it for a while. I love this sensative skin range of products but this lip balm is probably my favourite because it is moisturizing and hydrating and is different from any other lip balms I have. There is no strong fragrance apart from a slightly minty scent.

6. Maybelline Mega Plush Volume: A new holy grail item of mine which I used a long time ago but bought a second time and just can’t get enough of. When I first open it the formula is a little wet but I found it perfect after a few uses. Builds volume and length beautifully without clumping and whilst still feeling just like natural lashes. Has replaced Benefit’s They’re Real as my favourite for the time being.

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Maybelline Colour Whisper in Who Wore It Red-er

Random Favourites:

  • Monty Python
  • Turkish Apple Tea
  • Cronuts
  • Soy Mochas
  • Spring Flowers
  • Cat Shoes
  • Lorde
  • Breaking Bad

    Obsessed with these shoes. The crazy cat lady reveals herself.

    Obsessed with these shoes. The crazy cat lady reveals herself.

Tuesday’s Top 10: Teas I want to try from T2

With T2 a new gift to Auckland I have been browsing their website and store, building up a significant wishlist of teas. So far I have just one (My classic Turkish apple tea that I couldn’t leave without) and a couple of samples. But here are a few more I have on my radar…

Apple Crumble (Image from T2tea.com)

Apple Crumble (Image from T2tea.com)

Let me preface my list with a small disclosure: T2 are not paying me in $$ or (preferably) in tea to ramble on at you about them in fact they know nothing about me. My lists are just a little weird and this is what is on my mind at the moment.

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Sleep Tight (image from T2tea.com)

  1. Apple Cumble: A tisane that is supposed to be delicious hot or cold and taste like home baking and fresh apples. I am already salivating.
  2. Southern Sunrise: This is one of the samples I received and is a delicious herbal blend of grapefruit and lemongrass. A refreshing combination that I need in my life.
  3. Honey Vanilla: A rooibos based tea with hints of vanilla (which I love in tea) and floral honeybush. I am intrigued.
  4. White Jasmine: I love white tea and I love jasmine in tea so this is a combination made for me to try.
  5. Geisha Getaway: A tropical take on Sencha green tea with coconut and pineapple. Diifferent to any other form of green tea I have tried and sounds like a holiday in a tea cup.
  6. Sleep Tight: I am a terrible sleeper so this one could be worth a try and sounds delicious too with a combination of lemon balm, rose, lavender and jasmine.
  7. Vanilla Mint: I love peppermint tea (to death) and so this spearmint and vanilla combination could be right up my alley.
  8. Chai: A basic one, I know but I am always on the hunt for the perfect chai and whilst in store I sampled some of this made up with soy milk and a little honey and it was beautiful. Chai is pretty amazing full stop.
  9. French Earl Grey: I tend to shy away from Earl Grey at home but always enjoy a good cup of it at the in-laws. I have also heard a few people recommend this classic bergamot fusion with fruity and citrus flavours.
  10. Turkish Apple and Cinnamon: Being a big fan of the Turkish apple tisane I couldn’t help but include what sounds like it but even better. Apple and cinnamon has to be one of the best comnbinations and these sugary concoctions are a bit of a treat. Yum.
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Turkish Apple and Cinnamon (Image from T2tea.com)

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French Earl Grey (Image from T2tea.com)

I definitely won’t be buying all of these (at once) but they make a handy birthday list (hint hint) and I just generally kind of love reading their descriptions of teas and the beautiful photos (which I borrowed…). Anyway, I am going to go back to my pot of Southern Sunrise and the new album by Lorde which I can’t get enough of.

What are your favourites from T2 (as if I need more for my wishlist)? For more information on T2 or their humongous selection of beautiful teas head to their website or head to their store near the bottom of Queen Street in Auckland city. There are so many delicious samples to try and the staff are lovely so you may be there a while.

Xx