Eye, eye

revlon 1

Revlon 2

More things on the list of products I bought in Hawaii that are now available in Australia – Revlon’s Bold Lacquer Grow Luscious Mascara and ColorStay ShadowLinks. I’ve seen these floating about in Priceline recently so I thought it would be timely to throw in my two cents worth in case anyone was considering them.

The Bold Lacquer mascara is a bit of a misnomer; there’s nothing bold or lacquerish about it. In fact it’s a fibrous type mascara with a wet finish and a bristle brush that easily gets clogged. I didn’t find it any darker or shinier than a usual mascara. At first I really didn’t like it but the longer I used it, the more I enjoyed it. It adds a decent amount of volume and a little bit of length, though it can be clumpy if you’re not patient. I found wiping down the wand with a tissue every second use of so made it apply a lot easier. This was nice but there are plenty of other better mascaras on the market.

Revlon 3

Revlon 4

The ShadowLinks are tiny rectangular eye shadows that link together with the idea that you can form your own ‘palette’. Each are less than an inch long so they are absolutely tiny and prone to getting a bit lost in your make up bag if they’re on their own. I bought the shimmery chocolate shade Cocoa from the 20-odd different colours available. There’s quite a large selection of shades with a heap of different finishes, so you’re bound to find one that will catch your eye (pun intended).

I’m ambivalent about these too. The pigmentation of Cocoa is pretty poor and it took me a couple of swipes to get the swatch above. That said, if you’re after a dark brown that’s softer and easier to apply, then this would be it. I find it layers well over other shades too. Even though this is the only ShadowLink I bought, my gut feeling is that it’s the kind of product where the quality varies from colour to colour. I would test them out before you buy and if you like, I think they’re going for around $8 each. They’re not must haves for me though.

Hello sir

Mr Hendricks

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. It’s also the only meal where you legitimately have a choice of sweet or savoury and no one can tell you you’re wrong. Viva la breakfast!

I’m lucky to live in an area punctuated by many great cafes and breakfast spots, and over they years I’ve picked out quite a few favourites. That doesn’t mean I’m not always looking for more though.  I’ve recently started following In Love With Brunch on Instagram to try and expand my breakfast horizons and it was there I came across an amazing photo of French toast with poached pears and caramel. The name of the café was Mr Hendricks and I was thinking, “yeah this is going to be in South Yarra or South Melbourne or the west or somewhere I just don’t go.” Turns out it was a kilometre up the road from me in good old Balwyn.

I’ve been there twice now and both times I’ve gone for the brioche French toast with poached pears and caramel. The serving is incredibly generous and the thing tastes bloody amazing – every piece works beautifully together and there’s no weak link. I’m also glad they didn’t try and be trendy and make it salted caramel. To be honest I’m almost regretting having tried it first up because the menu has some great things on it including a smashed avocado, croque madame and crispy eggs.

The coffee wasn’t the best (the first time it tasted ordinary, the second time it was lukewarm) and the service is friendly but a little slow. It’s also hard to get a seat or a table, though that’s par for the course with anywhere new in Melbourne whose reputation is growing by word of mouth. However if everything tastes as good as that French toast does then they’ve definitely got me as a customer for life.

Mr Hendricks is at 469 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn and is open from 7.30am on weekdays and 8am on weekends. Closed Mondays.

Things I love #15.

EOS

I never really get dry lips but boy, that doesn’t stop me buying lip balm. And the half dozen times when I do need it throughout the year I want something that is effective and actually does the job quickly and properly. EOS Lip Balms are one of my all time favourites and I’ve been obsessed ever since I bought my first one in New York in 2011.

They come in a little spherical plastic container with a dome of product – get ready for some odd looks when you whip yours out and start applying it. There’s a heap of flavours (and yes they are flavoured and scented) but mint remains my number one. I also have the lemon and picked up the honeydew melon in Hawaii recently.

I can’t rave about these little bad boys enough. Cute and functional. Sadly they’re not widely available in Australia however you can buy them via Beauty Bay for $10 each, otherwise get a friend to grab you a couple for $3-4 each if they’re heading to the States.

You get what you give

I cannot rave enough about the movie Begin Again. I loved the movie itself – Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine and all the back up actors are fantastic – but it’s the music that really slays me. I bought the soundtrack and it’s been steadily on repeat over the past few days.

The story is about an English girl Greta (Knightley) and her American boyfriend Dave (Levine) who come to New York after he signs a record deal. As his career ascends their relationship falls apart, leading to her singing a song at an open mike night where her English friend Steve (James Corden) is playing. No one in the crowd pays much interest except for drunk and recently sacked record label executive Dan (Ruffalo) who wants to make her the next big thing.

The story then follows the record that Dan and Greta make, playing in the streets of New York with a motley band they cobble together. Dave comes in and out of the picture while Dan struggles to rebuild his relationship with his ex-wife, teenage daughter and former label partner. It’s nothing earth shattering by any means but it’s just such an enjoyable ride. There’s even a Cee-Lo cameo.

Knightley is thoroughly likeable in this and actually has a really pretty voice. Her two best songs are the more upbeat Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home and Coming Up Roses, and her sound is a little more Brit poppy. Levine is excellent as the smarmy Dave and also gets some cracking songs to perform. Lost Stars is the headline track of the film and both the stars sing it albeit in very different ways (I prefer his version). His sound is very Californian summer rock pop and No One Else Like You and A Higher Place are both fantastic. I love Maroon 5 but it’s good to hear him sing something a little different. Even Cee-lo gets a few laid back tracks on the album though they aren’t performed in the movie.

It’s worth noting that the music in the film is done by Gregg Alexander and many of the songs are also written by Alexander and Rick Nowels. You may not recognise the names but I guarantee you’ve heard their music. Alexander was the lead singer for the New Radicals (who had this one hit wonder back in the 90s) and has written a truckload of popular songs including Life is a Rollercoaster by Ronan Keating, Murder on the Dancefloor by Sophie Ellis Bextor, Game of Love by Michelle Branch and Santana and Inner Smile by Texas. He has a very particular sound which comes through especially in the Dave/Levine songs. Rick Nowels has a list too long to even begin putting here but have a read of this – he’s worked with a slew of people including Sia, Lana Del Ray, Madonna, Robyn, Dido, Jason Mraz, Nelly Furtado and the list goes on (and on and on). I think the quality of this pair is definitely one of the main reasons the soundtrack is amazing and contains some of my favourite ‘movie’ songs in a long time.

 

The NARSissist

NARS1

NARS2

I have a belief that most people with more than a passing interest in make up are either a MAC person or a NARS person. Sure, they might dabble here and there but generally you pick a team and stick to it.

I am Team NARS all the way.

I’ve tried to love MAC but I just don’t. Sigh. The few bits and pieces I have are all serviceable but I don’t love them with the power of a thousand suns like I love my NARS stuff. I’m also that person who is slowly trying to convert all their MAC loving friends: “Oh hey, try this Velvet Matte lip pencil, you’ll love it…” Ha, pusher.

While I was in Hawaii I picked up two NARS pieces – one of the Satin Lip Pencils and one of the reformulated lip glosses. The lip pencil is Luxembourg, a highly pigmented raspberry pink red. I’d only tried the matte version of the pencils so I was keen to see how the satin went. The colour is absolutely gorgeous, a total showstopper, but I find it harder than the mattes to apply. It’s quite slippy whereas the matte has some grab so it’s easier to be precise when applying it. These are very creamy but the shade is so great I know I’ll get a lot wear out of it.

NARS recently reformulated its standard lip gloss range and added a heap of new shades. The sheer pink coral Salamanca is one of the new colours and conversely is super easy to apply – you won’t need a mirror for this. I found NARS glosses aren’t generally their best product and they tend to have a ‘taste’ and turn bad after a year or two. The new formula gets rid of some of the taste and isn’t as sticky as the previous incarnation. I really like this and I’ll get lots of wear out of it but I don’t consider it a must have.

So… are you Team NARS or Team MAC?

Things I bought #37, 38, 39, 49, 72, 76, 77, 79, 80 & 81.

81 Jcrew

Well, if last week was the Country Road edition then this week it’s J.Crew‘s turn. Usually I’d separate everything a bit better however the ‘Crew is taking 30 per cent of all sale stock at the moment and pretty much all these pieces are in there. I thought it would be good to roll them out while you can grab them at a decent discount.

The top in the image above is the laser cut t-shirt in navy. It’s a really flattering loose cotton top, slightly cropped, with fluted sleeves that have a lace pattern laser cut from them. I’ve worn this a copule of times already and I can see it’s going to be one of my favourites come summer. It’s loose and light without making you feel totally shapeless and the sleeve detail is really pretty. If you buy it in the sale it’ll be just over $50 and also comes in a neon orange.

The J.Crew Tippi sweaters are some of my favourite staples and I own around 10 of them in various colours. They are a beautiful non-itchy merino wool and even though they are thin, they’re warm. I find them fitted but not tight and they fall to the hip. I also love the crew neck (which is ideal for showing off necklaces) and the three-quarter sleeves. J.Crew does these in a trillion colours every season but you can always grab shades on sale. My recent purchases are the lemon, ivory, grey and turquoise versions.

I’ve picked up two pairs of the Emma ballet flats this year and I have to say they’ve become a new favourite. The black are my go-to for work and the butter soft leather has been comfortable from first wear. Plus they have a rubber sole so I don’t feel like I’m going to slip over at any moment. I also bought a patent pair in the very bright neon persimmon which is so bright it almost hurts my eyes. These aren’t as immediately comfortable so will take a bit of wearing in I think.

I also bought one of the linen V-neck tees in light seaglass – if you’re getting these then size down as they tend to stretch. I bought a pink one in Hawaii and really loved the fit, even though I’m not much of a linen person. The vintage cotton tanks are great for warm weather too and there’s so many bright colours (all on sale!). I went with the neon hibiscus shade which is a very bright pink.

Finally, if you’re looking for great swimwear then J.Crew is a fantastic resource. With the reverse seasons there’s always lots of great bargains to be had and they do lots of great one pieces and coloured separates. The bandeau swing top is one of my favourites and has a removable strap so you can wear it a couple of ways. I bought one of the ruched French swing tops in a neon yellow to take to Hawaii with me but I have to say the bust didn’t quite fit as well as I’d hoped (it was a bit big on me). I think I’ll stick to the bandeau version next time. Most of the swimwear comes in D-cup sizes too for people who aren’t like me and long torso version for people who are like me.

 

Thoughts of the week – 17/8

aladdin

1. I went to see Begin Again this week and absolutely loved it. The movie itself is great however it’s the music that shines and is outstanding. The soundtrack is on my list of things to buy and Keira Knightley has a surprisingly lovely voice. Go and see it.

2. On my secondment I am getting paid weekly, which is really stuffing me up. I’m allocating too much money for some things and not enough for others.

3. I’ve made the snap decision to add a day in Paris to my European holiday. Leave London at 7am on the Eurostar, back at 10.30pm. Basically the only reason I’m doing it is I’ve been busting for the past seven years to visit the Musee d’Orsay and that is exactly what I’m going to do.

4. I ordered some fragrance oils from Firebird and the Pomegranate Basil is incredible. I’m kicking myself that I only got a sample size.

5. This week I had three dinners out, all good in various ways. I went to Rockwell & Sons in Collingwood for American BBQ/homestyle food and had the most amazing pressed rib sandwich, Lord that thing just melted in my mouth. Cheap and tasty and very much recommended. Then I had Greek at Jimmy Grants in Fitzroy followed by ice cream at Gelato Messina and both were fantastic (plus the company was awesome). Finally last night Julia and I went to Firehouse in Ringwood which was a really beautiful setting (and more good company) but the food wasn’t outstanding and took ages to arrive.

6. Of all the things I find hardest to resist in the world of fashion, J.Crew sales top the list.

7. Last week I bought a set of Waterford crystal tumblers massively on sale and I feel like such a grown up when I use them. They’re heavy and classy and are contributing to me drinking lots of gin.

8. I don’t really know what it’s about but this is my favourite song at the moment.

9. On the search for a new candle. Any tips let me know. I’ve done most of the Glasshouses and none of the Palm Beach really take my fancy.

10. RIP Robin Williams. As the beautiful tweet from the Academy read, “Genie, you are free.”