Review: Marley Spoon.

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Marley Spoon*# is a food subscription service that promises to make cooking easier by delivering everything that you need to cook delicious meals directly to your door.

Marley Spoon is perfect for busy people that struggle to find the time to meal plan and grocery shop. By delivering only the exact amount of every ingredient required for each meal, Marley Spoon takes the guesswork out of grocery shopping and allows you to say goodbye to food wastage forever!

I was sent a sample Marley Spoon*# box to trial and review. It contained the ingredients for two meals – Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Roasted Chickpeas and Mushroom Miso Risotto with Sesame and Spinach.

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The box contained three bags: one bag for each recipe and a cooler bag for ingredients that need to be chilled. Detailed recipe cards were also included explaining exactly what you need to do to prepare each meal.

I decided to prepare both meals on the same night with the soup being the entrée and  the risotto being the main meal. I am pleased to report that the recipes were easy-to-follow and the ingredients were all of very high quality. Since I only have my husband myself to cook for, there were plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.

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The Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Roasted Chickpeas.

I don’t usually make soup, mainly because I have no idea how to get the amount of ingredients and consistency right, but following the Marley Spoon recipe card made preparing the Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Roasted Chickpeas super easy! My husband and I were both happy with the flavours. It is a very hearty soup and it could easily be a meal on its own.

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The Mushroom Miso Risotto with Spinach and Sesame.

The Risotto was easy to prepare and tasted delicious. I was a big fan of the Miso and Sesame favours. My husband doesn’t usually like risotto very much, but he loved this recipe!

Marley Spoon have kindly offered readers of my blog $35 off! All you need to do is click here# to order and start making dinner time so much easier!

Have you ever tried Marley Spoon? What did you think of it? 

*All products in this post were provided for my review.  This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.

#Affiliate link. I will make a small commission from any sales made using this link at no extra cost to you.

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Review: Liverpool St Subscription Box.

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If you’ve ever had a period, you’ll know that the arrival of your monthly visitor doesn’t always sync up with your most recent purchase of tampons.

Hands-up if you’ve ever frantically rushed to the supermarket to buy your monthly supply (or sent a loved one on the mission) just so you can go about your day? I know I’ve been there and it can certainly throw a busy day out of whack.

Imagine if tampons were magically delivered to your door once a month? You’d never have to put your plans on hold to stock-up again!

Well, good news folks, because Liverpool St* does exactly that!

Liverpool St* offers a monthly subscription service in which two boxes of organic tampons (in your preferred absorbency) are delivered to your door each month in a discreet (and very cute) box.

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Why organic tampons? Well, just like how we try to avoid nasty chemicals in the food we eat and the beauty products we use, it is a good idea to make sure that the products we use in our most intimate areas are as chemical-free as possible.

According to the Liverpool St* press release, “the majority of tampons on the market are laden with toxins and chemicals that absorbed into the bloodstream once they are inserted.”

Scary stuff, right?

I was sent two Liverpool St* subscription boxes to trial and review. It was my first time trying organic tampons and I couldn’t help but notice that they are so much more comfortable than other tampon brands I’ve tried. I wonder if my body has disagreed with other brands for years and I just didn’t know that there were better options out there?

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According to Liverpool St*, organic tampons are made from 100% cotton, are hypoallergenic and won’t disturb your body’s PH levels. So it is possible that organic tampons are just a better option for me.

In addition to the products being great, I also love Liverpool St’s packaging*. The exterior cardboard box is very cute and is sealed with a sticker that says “Positive Vibes Only” on it. I love this because menstrual cycles are unfortunately often a taboo topic so I am a big supporter of brands that endeavour to make getting your period a more positive experience. The tampon boxes themselves are rectangular and slender so they can easily fit in any bag or pocket and I love the on-trend pastel colour scheme.

If you’re interested in giving organic tampons a go and want the convenience of a monthly delivery service, all you have to do is sign up on the Liverpool St* website. At this stage, Liverpool St* only deliver within Australia but according to their website, they are hoping to expand to other areas soon.

You can choose between a Mixed Bundle (1 box of super tampons and 1 box of regular tampons), a Regular Bundle (2 boxes of regular tampons) and a Super Bundle (2 boxes of super tampons.) Each bundle costs just $8.90AUD plus $3.30AUD postage.

*All products in this post were provided for my review.  This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.

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REVIEW: David M. Hawkins presents ‘Cabaret’ (Melbourne season).

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The beautiful cast of ‘Cabaret’. Image: supplied.

Iconic Musical Heats Up The Athenaeum. 

I was invited to attend a preview production of the production of Cabaret currently playing in Melbourne. As a longtime fan of the musical, I jumped at the chance to attend.

Cabaret is set in Berlin in 1929 and tells the story of a young American writer named Clifford Bradshaw (Jason Kos) who finds himself in the debaucherous night spot The Kit Kat Club. Bradshaw quickly becomes bewitched by one of the club’s headlining performers, the vivacious Sally Bowles (Chelsea Gibb). The pair end-up living together in a flat they rent from a conservative but caring landlord, Fräulein Schneider (Kate Fitzpatrick).

While Cabaret might sound like the typical boy-meets-girl story, it is anything but. The Nazi regime is beginning to take hold and the characters do not know if they are safe or who to trust. Particularly distressed is Fräulein Schneider’s love interest, fruit shop owner Herr Schultz, who happens to be Jewish.

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The story of Sally Bowles (Chelsea Gibb) and Clifford Brashaw (Jason Kos) is not a typical love story. Image: supplied. 

In Cabaret, the action constantly shifts between bittersweet realism in the dramatic scenes and bright musical numbers that are performed within The Kit Klub Club. These songs are so much more than catchy showtunes though, they are commentary about the characters’ lives and the political climate of the time. Leading these dynamic numbers is the Emcee (Paul Capsis) who also acts as a narrator for the show.

With a book by Joe Masteroff and a score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cabaret is so cleverly written that, if performed right, you will fall a little bit in love with every character. And as for the ‘villains’, you will love to hate them. Every performer in this production had me smitten.

From the moment Paul Capsis greeted the audience with the iconic song ‘Willkommen’, I knew the show was going to be great. Capsis brings bucketloads of charisma and energy to the role making him the perfect Emcee. He is one of those rare talents who can give one hundred percent to challenging songs and choreography while making it look effortless at the same time. If you are debating seeing Cabaret, I urge you to not let the opportunity to see Capsis in this role pass you by.

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Paul Capsis is an unforgettable Emcee. Image: supplied. 

Chelsea Gibb brings a unique level of vivacity to the role of Sally Bowles. Gibb’s performance of the title song is an absolute showstopper filled with raw emotion. Her chemistry with love interest Clifford Bradshaw (Jason Kos) is electric.

Kos brings an appropriate sense of innocence to the role of Clifford and successfully portrays the character’s transformation into a more jaded, weary man.

The supporting cast work well together and create an eccentric, unconventional family. Kelley Abbey’s intricate choreography is performed with style and ease. Ensemble vocals are flawless and powerful.

The Athenaeum theatre is a small space but the inventive scenic design is nothing short of genius. A raised platform acts as both The Kit Club’s stage and Fräulein Schneider’s apartments. Two doors on either side of the platform allow for actors’ entrances and exits as well as clever storage spaces for props and costumes. A few small tables and chairs surround the platform for cast members to act as an audience at the club. Between songs, the Emcee often sits at a table, watching the characters’ lives unravel.

Without giving too much away, this production of Cabaret is unique, innovative and expertly performed.

So what are you waiting for? Book now and come to the cabaret!

Cabaret is running until the 20th of May at the The Athenaeum theatre in Melbourne. Tickets are available through Ticketek

*I was invited to attend a preview performance of ‘Cabaret’ and tickets were supplied. This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.

REVIEW: Plunkett’s VitaE High Potency Intensive Vitamin E Ointment*

These days, we’re all so busy. I absolutely love when I find a multi-tasking product that can help simplify my beauty routine.

Plunkett’s VitaE High Potency Intensive Vitamin E Ointment has over 150 uses! It claims to soothe a range of medical conditions including eczema, nappy rash and sunburn, to name a few. As a beauty balm, this product can act as everything from a lipgloss to a hand cream to a highlighter.

The combination of Vitamin E and Rosehip oil ensures that Plunkett’s VitaE High Potency Intensive Vitamin E Ointment provides extreme hydration. It is a dense gel and it has a very slight rosehip fragrance. It leaves the skin feeling very soft and gives it a glow.

Now, I’m only one person, so I haven’t been able to try out all 150 uses, but I love using Plunkett’s VitaE High Potency Intensive Vitamin E Ointment as a hand treatment, lip balm, brow gel and hair tamer. I tried using it on my face once, but for my combination skin it felt a little too oily. I’m sure people with really dry skin will adore this product.

I’m keen to try out the more medicinal uses of this product and see how it goes. I love using natural remedies wherever possible!

Plunkett’s products are available in most Australian pharmacies or online at http://www.plunketts.com.au

What’s your favourite multi-tasking beauty product?

*This product was provided for my review.  This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.

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Casual Curl* Review

Deep down, I think I secretly want to be a hair dresser.  I LOVE playing with hair, whether it be a friend’s or my own, and trying out new hair styles.  I also absolutely love trying out the clever-styling tools that make the process easier.  The one thing that I refuse to do at home is a proper blow wave.  Why, you ask?  Well, I have an irrational fear of round brushes because I have only tried to use one at home twice in my life and both times I managed to get it stuck in my hair!  It’s such a shame that I am too scared to use a round brush at home, considering how popular the flicked-out/loose curl look is nowadays.  Not to mention that regular salon blow waves are expensive!

I was delighted to try out the new Casual Curl roller, but was a little scared too because it resembles a round brush.  So I recruited my lovely blogger friend Melissa from ‘Melissa Bubbles Beauty, Fashion & Life!’ to teach me how to use the Casual Curl and put my mind at ease!

What is Casual Curl?

“Casual Curl is an innovative styling roller that allows you to style your hair into ‘the Kate look’. Relaxed, smooth, casual curls are created in just minutes – and you don’t have to be a professional to master the technique.

Endorsed by multi-award winning hair stylist and Australian hairdresser of the year Brad Ngata, Casual Curl is set to become the next essential tool for every salon and home styling kit.” – From the Casual Curl website 

How to use it? 

Luckily, using the Casual Curl is much easier then battling a blowdryer and round brush!  Here are the instructions according to the Casual Curl website:

1.  Prepare your hair with a setting lotion or spray and blow dry hair.

2.  Take a section of hair as wide as the Casual Curl roller and roll the hair around the roller. Apply a setting spray for more hold.

3.  Attach the CasualCurl roller to your blow dryer.

4.  Turn on the blow dryer, heat the Casual Curl for 30 seconds. Turn the dryer off and let the roller cool.

5.  When cool, unwind the hair to release a perfect, casual curl. Spray to hold in place.

6.  Repeat process for desired Casual Curl style.

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My Results (Keep reading after the pics) 

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My Thoughts

I think the Casual Curl is a very innovative hair styling tool and definitely makes it possible to achieve the loosely curled, salon fresh look at home.  For long, thick hair like mine, I think it is definitely necessary to use multiple rollers because there is a lot of waiting time involved while the roller curls down, and with multiple rollers I could use the cooling time to start the next section.  Much more user-friendly than a round brush, I would definitely (calmly) use the Casual Curler again without Melissa’s supervision!  I hope they bring out wider versions of the Casual Curl soon because it was too narrow to attach to my GHD Air hairdryer and I had to use Melissa’s narrower VS hairdryer instead.  I would recommend wearing a heatproof glove (like the velvet ones that come with some curling wands) if you are sensitive to heat because the Casual Curl heats up fast.

For more information, or to purchase a Casual Curl roller for yourself, check out www.casualcurl.com.au.  Casual Curl are currently offering a great special where you save 20% when you buy two rollers.

Have you used the Casual Curl?  I’d love to know what you thought of it.

*I was provided with one Casual Curl roller for my consideration and review in accordance with my PR & Disclosure Policy.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Till next time,

Claire xx

Ms This n That Blog

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Katy Perry Killer Queen Oh So Sheer Perfume Review*

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Not sure if I’ve just been lucky, but I haven’t tried a celebrity perfume that I don’t like! As well as delighting us with the idea that we can smell just like our favourite famous idols, celebrity perfumes tend to be more affordable and accessible than designer scents – a thrifty gal’s dream! I believe a great outfit is never complete without a memorable scent, it’s a little bit of luxury that every girl deserves, so I say “good on you!” to the celebrities (and of course the perfume manufactors) that sell their perfumes for a reasonable price.

Katy Perry is a fun, fearless and feminine songstress, with just a touch of mystery. So far all her great fragrances have reflected her dynamic personality. While all her perfumes have been lovely, the original Killer Queen was the first one that I fell in love with and just had to purchase during the post-Christmas sales. When I heard that a new version of this enchanting scent in a gorgeous violet bottle called Killer Queen Oh So Sheer had been released for a limited time, I was definitely intrigued! Needless to say, I was delighted when I was given the chance to try and review this fabulous new fragrance.

I love that Killer Queen Oh So Sheer is the non-identical twin sister of the original Killer Queen Fragrance. It is presented in the same regal triangular, diamond-like bottle with the gold Killer Queen Crest on the lid. Unlike the sassy red Killer Queen formula, Killer Queen Oh So Sheer is a softer, violet coloured liquid, just like the purple florals in the scent.

Like the original edition of Killer Queen, the top notes of Killer Queen Oh So Sheer are purple plum, mulberry, blackberry and elderberries, but bergamot has been removed to make the scent fresher. The middle notes are also similar to the original, with the return of red velvet flower and rainbow plumeria and the addition of purple freesia and purple lilac to make the scent more floral. The bottom notes are the same as the original Killer Queen: cashmeran, natural patchouli heart and liquid praline. The result of this delightful concoction is a lighter, more floral and more girly version of the original fragrance, with same long lasting power. Killer Queen Oh So Sheer is an instant mood booster and reminds me of spring. I think I’ll be wearing this a lot as the weather gets colder here in Australia to cheer me up as the grey days increase. As the fragrance is very sweet and not too overpowering, I think it’d be a great first fragrance for the little fashionistas in your life.

Killer Queen Oh So Sheer is available at Myer, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse and selected pharmacies while stocks last.

*Killer Queen Oh So Sheer was kindly provided for my consideration in accordance with my PR Disclosure Policy . This has not influenced my opinion in any way.

Till next time,
Claire
Ms This n That Blog xx

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Review: Sally Hansen Sugar Coat Textured Nail Polish*

I loooooovvve nail art, but when it comes to textured polishes, I’m not that experimental. I mainly stick to classic colours with lots of shiny top coat, or if I’m feeling ‘wild’ I’ll use a glitter or shatter polish. Textured nail polish is a huge trend right now and I was secretly desperate to give it a go! So, I was delighted to receive two bottles of the Sally Hansen Sugar Coat Textured Nail Polish in Cotton Candies and Sour Apple, the perfect excuse to try something different!

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Above: Cotton Candies and Sour Apple Nail polishes. Even the names are sweet!

The colours are just stunning! Cotton Candies is a vibrant pink and and Sour Apple is a gorgeous pale teal – perfect shades for spring! The colours both looked so fun that I couldn’t decide which one to try first so I decided to combine them. I painted Sour Apples on my ring fingers and Cotton Candies on the rest.

I was surprised to find that the textured affect appeared on my nails pretty much as soon as I painted them! Before l knew it my nails were covered with cute little bumps that almost looked like tiny bubbles. They literally looked like I had dipped my nails in sugar! When they dried, I discovered they felt like it to!

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Above: Sugar sweet nails!

The bottles suggest applying two thin coats and, in this case, the bottle ain’t lying! I’m not the best painter, and on some nails I clumsily applied too much polish and the textured affect wasn’t as neat or as pretty as the nails where I had managed to apply the polish more delicately.

I would definitely wear this polish again on a day when I’m feeling brave enough to venture away from my ‘safe’ shiny nail polish look. I also think Sally Hansen Sugar Coat textured nail polish would make a gorgeous contribution to a girly costume for a dress-up party.

So, if you’re a girl who loves to try all the latest nail trends, you simply must try Sally Hansen Sugar Coat, it’s the sweetest nail look going around!

*These nail polishes were kindly provided for my consideration but this has not influenced my opinion in any way.