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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Thank ‘Goodness’* for natural skincare solutions!

 

Goodness Every Day Cream Cleanser and Every Week Face Scrub.

Goodness Every Day Cream Cleanser and Every Week Face Scrub.

 

I like to avoid chemicals wherever possible, so I was delighted when these Goodness skincare products arrived on my doorstep.

Goodness is an affordable, natural skincare brand. Their products contain loads of wonderful ingredients, including their star ingredient – chia seed oil.

According to the Goodness website:

Chia seed oil is the bees knees, the A student, the red carpet gown of plant oils for your skin. A couple of drops a few times a day sorts out essential fatty acids, minerals, B-vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants and general goodness for your skin.

Using chia seed oil means you’re giving your skin all it needs to do what it’s designed to do – making you look awesome plus keeping your insides infection free and in the right place.”

The Goodness Every Day Cream Cleanser* and the Every Week Face Scrub*  are very creamy and super hydrating. So, if you have normal to dry skin, they could be great for you! As I recently discovered that I have combination skin, these products are probably slightly too rich for me to use everyday. I hope that Goodness bring out some gel-based products in the near future.

Both products have a very earthy scent, and the aroma of chia seed oil definitely shines through.

The Every Week Face Scrub* has tiny grains of powdered pumice in it, which creates a very gentle exfoliation. No nasty microbeads in sight! Hoorah!

As someone whose skin used to be incredibly dry, I can say that these are much better quality than most other ‘drugstore’ hydrating skincare products out there.

In Australia, you can find Goodness products at all My Chemist stores and selected Woolworths supermarkets and Priceline stores.

Have you tried Goodness products? What did you think? 

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

Stay in touch!

– Like on Facebook: here

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– Follow on Pinterest: @msthisnthatblog

Laura Mercier Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour Review*

It’s winter here in Australia; and in Melbourne we’re having a particularly chilly one!  When everything from the fashion to the weather is dreary and grey, a statement lip is always a mood-booster.  It was perfect timing when I received the NEW Laura Mercier Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour in Rosewood to review.

A swatch of Laura Mercier Paint Wash Lip Colour in Rosewood.

A swatch of Laura Mercier Paint Wash Lip Colour in Rosewood.

When I swatch Rosewood on my arm, it is a super pigmented burgundy-brown shade and on my lips (which are quite pink naturally) it looks like a burgundy-nude.  I am obsessed with this colour!  It gives an instantly glam feel to any winter outfit

The formula is super creamy and hydrating (perfect for winter) and stains the lips slightly.  I love that the finish isn’t too glossy or too matte, but a lovely combination of both (demi-matte.)  It’s very comfortable to wear.

What’s really unique about this liquid lip colour is the applicator.  It’s a small paddle brush with a hollow part for the product to sit in.  The tip of the brush is flat and can be used to line your lips before painting them.  This two-step process helps me ensure that I don’t get any gloss on my chin (which I’m usually very good at doing!)

Rosewood up-close.

Rosewood up-close.

The Laura Mercier Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colours come in a range of fabulous shades and I’d love to invest in some more.

Laura Mercier Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour is available at Laura Mercier David Jones counters, David Jones online and Adore Beauty online.

What’s your go-to winter liquid lip colour?

Can't go wrong with a great lip colour and a cosy knit!

Can’t go wrong with a great lip colour and a cosy knit!


Stay in touch!

– Like on Facebook: here

– Follow on twitter: @ms_clairey_d

– Follow on Instagram: @claire.defreitas

*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.

Book Chat: April 2015

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Welcome back to Book Chat where I give short and sweet reviews for the books and audiobooks that I’ve enjoyed in the last month.  April was mostly spent trapped inside my house doing homework (my final year of uni is proving to be a real drainer) so I didn’t get much time to read/listen to books this month, but the two books I did get through were great.

Going Off Script: How I Survived a Crazy Childhood, Cancer and Cloney’s 32 On-screen Rejections (Unabridged Audiobook) by Giuliana Rancic

  • Genre: Autobiography
  • How I found out about it: Giuliana Rancic’s Instagram account.
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for AUS$35.99
  • I would recommend it to: Fans of Giuliana Rancic and lovers of an inspirational autobiography.
  • Quick review:

E! News anchorwoman Giuliana Rancic’s life has been an absolute rollercoaster over the past five years.  Although her career and marriage have gone from strength to strength, Rancic has faced fertility issues and a battle with Breast Cancer.  I couldn’t have been happier for her when, after all those tough times, Rancic and her husband (Bill Rancic) announced their son Edward Duke Rancic was born via a surrogate in 2012.

When I heard that Giuliana’s autobiography was being published, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  I wanted to know the secret to her success and how she soldiered through all the personal challenges she’d faced.  

Going Off Script: How I Survived a Crazy Childhood, Cancer and Cloney’s 32 On-screen Rejections did not disappoint.  Rancic writes like she speaks, with wit and humour, and if you buy the audiobook you can hear her narrate it as well.  Although I was already a long-time fan of Rancic, I learnt so much more about her by listening to this book and I now admire her even more.  If you love reading a strong woman’s inspirational memoir, this is a must-read.

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Nice Girls Still Don’t Get The Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers (Unabridged Audiobook) by Dr. Lois P. Frankel 

  • Genre: Self-help
  • How I found out about it: It was mentioned in a Mamma Mia podcast.
  • Where I bought it:  iTunes for AUS$21.99
  • I would recommend it to: EVERY woman in the workforce.  Full stop.
  • Quick review:

I was attracted to this book instantly because I know I am a ‘nice girl.’  I avoid confrontation like the plague and absolutely hate disappointing people.  I am sick and tired of stuttering through an awkward conversation with a client, co-worker or acquaintance to only scold myself later with thoughts like ‘argh! if I’d only just said THAT!’

In the revised edition of this bestselling book, executive coach Dr. Lois P. Frankel explains how to get and keep the job you wanting by behaving like a mature, assertive woman rather than a ‘nice girl’ (yes, there is a big difference between the two and this is explained in the book.)  Most of Frankel’s advice is aimed at women who work in a corporate environment, but I’m self-employed and still got a lot out of it.  I think that aspects of Frankel’s advice are also applicable to everyday life.  I actually wish I could go back in time and hand this book to my eighteen year old self, who was working in a corporate environment, and say “here, read this and and don’t let anyone belittle you!”

Some parts of the book weren’t easy to listen to, like the section about the strict rules on how a woman should dress to be taken seriously at work, but I could always see where Frankel was coming from.  Highlights for me were the sections about communicating with men effectively in the workplace and creating your own brand.  If I ever have a daughter, I will definitely be giving a copy of this book to her.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.


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Sally Hansen Miracle Gel New Shades* Review

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The latest Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Shades (from left to right) Spice Age, Mad Woman, Game of Chromes, Hunger Flames and Creme de la Creme. Image: Coty Inc.

If you’re a lover of the DIY manicure, I’m sure you’re aware that Sally Hansen Miracle Gel took the beauty world by storm last year.

Promising the long-lasting finish of shellac without the need for UV lamp or salon visit, the Miracle Gel system has the potential to save you time and money.  There are over 20 shades, plus the Miracle Gel Top Coat, now available.

The latest additions to the stunning variety of Miracle Gel shades available in Australia are: Crème de la Crème, Game of Chromes, Spice Age, Mad Woman and Hunger Flames.  These rich metallic shades are perfect for making an a statement in the Australian winter.

Just in case you haven’t heard of Miracle Gel before, here’s how it works according to the press release:

“HOW TO USE:

Start with clean dry nails – no base coat needed.

Step 1: Shake gently and apply 2-3 coats of Miracle Gel colour depending on your desired coverage.

Step 2: Apply Miracle Gel Top Coat & let the curing activate by itself in natural light – no LED lamp needed!”

I was sent Spice Age and Hunger Flames to trial and review.  I already owned the Miracle Gel Top Coat.

Spice Age

Me wearing Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Spice Age.

Spice Age is a beautiful metallic grey-plum colour that changes in the light.  In some lights, it looks very purple.  In other lights, it looks like the perfect dupe for OPI’s My Private Jet (a sparkly charcoal shade.)  A pinkish-gold glitter gives this polish a beautiful sheen. I found I needed two coats of the colour nail polish to really get the coverage I wanted.

Me wearing Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Hunger Flames.

Me wearing Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Hunger Flames.

Hunger Flames is a super-shiny fuchsia shade that could brighten up even the dreariest Melbourne morning.  It’s super pigmented and I only needed one coat of the colour polish to create the look pictured above – woo hoo! This nail polish definitely lived-up to the promise of lasting for days and days.

Just like the salon versions of shellac that require UV, I think that Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is quite sensitive to water. If you want to get maximum wear out of your DIY Miracle Gel mani, make sure you wear gloves during housework or gardening.

I love the pampering experience of a salon manicure and I used to be a total shellac addict.  Unfortunately, salon shellac weakened my nails over time and I’m a bit paranoid about the long-term effects of UV lamps.  I’m now saving shellac manicures for special occasions and I think I’ll be giving myself the DIY experience with Miracle Gel for everyday glam for now on.

Only one question remains…which shade should I buy next?

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polishes are $16.95 each and are available in Australia at Priceline, Priceline Pharmacies, Target, Terry White Chemists, Chemist Warehouse and independent pharmacies. Call 1800 812 663  or visit http://www.sallyhansen.com to find your nearest stockist.  

*Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polishes in Spice Age and Hunger Flames were provided for my consideration. This has not influenced my views in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.  Please refer to my PR and Disclosure Statement for more information.

Book Chat: March 2015

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How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran (Unabridged Audiobook)

  • Genre: Autobiography
  • How I Found Out About It: Moran’s ‘How to Build a Girl’ left me wanting more.
  • Where I Bought It: iTunes for $32.99
  • I would recommend it to: Every woman and any men who want an idea of what it’s like to be a woman!
  • Quick review: Part memoir and part modern-day feminist manifesto, journalist and bestselling author Caitlin Moran shares funny and thoughtful anecdotes of her life so far, with a fair share of poignant moments too.  For me, Moran is at her best when ranting passionately about important topics such as equal opportunity, womens’ health and big, comfy undies.  I think there is something for everyone in this book.  Moran is proudly unapologetic for her views, but I didn’t find her preachy.  The audiobook is read by the author herself and Moran has a spectacular speaking voice with excellent comic timing.  Listening to her stories for over nine hours made me wish she was my friend; in a non-creepy way, of course.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? By Jeanette Winterson 

  • Genre: Autobiography
  • How I found out about it: autobiographies of modern day feminists are inspiring me at the moment, and I stumbled across this in my research.
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $29.99
  • I would recommend it to: readers who enjoy learning about mental health, LBGQT studies and feminism.
  • Quick Review: When aspiring author Jeanette Winterson told her Mother that she would always love women romantically and being with a woman made her happy, her Mother tragically asked “why be happy when you could be normal?”  This book is about Winterson’s search for happiness and battle with depression along the way.  Winterson also explores her achievements in the field of writing and making peace with her difficult childhood.  Much like Winterson’s fiction novels, the story is not told in the expected linear way, which may upset some fans of the traditional memoir; but I enjoyed having some details left to the imagination.  If you read this book and relate to the distressing times in Winterson’s life, please reach out to Lifeline Australia (13 11 14) or a similar organisation in your country.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Landline by Rainbow Rowell (Unabridged Audiobook)

  • Genre: Romance Fiction
  • How I found out about it: iTunes recommended it to me
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $24.99
  • I would recommend it to: lovers of a warm, fuzzy romance novel.
  • Quick review: After the more serious reads I’ve been sinking my teeth into, I was in the mood for something lighter.  ‘Landline’ is exactly what you’d hope for in a romance novel.  Georgie is going through troubles in her marriage with her husband Neil and feels distant from him and their children.  She can’t help putting her job and passion for script-writing first.  I don’t want to give too much away, but a supernatural twist occurs (which is kind of a la ‘The Lakehouse’) which shows Georgie exactly what she is missing.  It’s a cute story, which gets a little too sickly sweet at times for my taste and I don’t agree with all of Georgie’s opinions, but she is fictional after all.  A good holiday read.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak (Unabridged Audiobook) 

  • Genre: Fiction/Short Stories
  • How I found out about it: It was referred to in some blog post I read.  I have a feeling it might have been on Raptitude.
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $27.99
  • I would recommend it to: Short story fans
  • Quick review: I don’t think I have read a book of short stories since we studied a collection of them in my Year 7 English class.  I usually prefer the more long-term character-reader relationship of a novel rather than the fleeting romance with characters in a short story.  I’m really glad that I stepped outside my comfort zone and gave ‘One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories’ a chance.  Almost a collection of quirky modern-day fables, B.J. Novak creates a selection of characters that you can’t help but like/relate to/dislike, even though you only know them for a very short time.  I would love to check out this book in hardcopy so I can see how the stories are grouped, as it was a bit difficult to follow the chapters while listening to the stories.  However, a fun bonus of the audiobook was the celebrity guests reading some of the stories such as: Lena Dunham, Katy Perry and Emma Thompson.
  • Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Mary Kay Cosmetics Fairytales & Fantasies Collection*

Hi everyone,

This is a post that I have been meaning to write for a loooonnnggg time but life has gotten in the way a lot this year.

In March, the lovely ladies at Mary Kay invited a group of beauty bloggers to a fun get-together at the gorgeous Ludlow Bar & Dining Room in Southbank.  At the event, we were treated to delicious canapés, drinks and lots of beauty talk.  At the end of the event we were generously given the latest Mary Kay Special Edition collection to review.  Entitled the Fairytales and Fantasies Collection, it is filled with wintery warm shades to adorn your eyes, lips and nails.

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As you can see in the picture above, the packaging is a very regal purple colour with gold details, which definitely suits the fairytale theme.  Purple is my favourite colour, so it was an instant winner for me!

The Collection Includes:

  • 4 Smoke and Shimmer Eye Wands in Blue Knight, Amethyst Smoke, Enchanted Mauve and Golden Illusion* ($22AUD each).
  • 2 Kohl Eyeliners in Blue Knight and Mulberry Forest* ($18AUD each).
  • 2 Glossy Lip Stains in Mulberry Forest and Enchanted Mauve* ($24AUD each).
  • 2 Nail Lacquers* ($15AUD each).

Here are some reviews of my favourite products in the collection:

The Smoke and Shimmer Eye Wands*

Shimmer Eye Wands swatched on my hand: (from left to right) Amethyst Smoke, Golden Illusion, Enchanted Mauve and Blue Knight.

Shimmer Eye Wands swatched on my hand: (from left to right) Amethyst Smoke, Golden Illusion, Enchanted Mauve and Blue Knight.

I love wand eyeshadows.  They are easy to store and transport, easy to apply and easy to blend.  They are also an excellent timesaver when you are getting ready in a hurry (especially in the morning when an extra few minutes of sleep usually wins over eyeshadow application time.)  The colours of these Smoke and Shimmer wands are gorgeous and very wearable.  The only downside is that they are very sheer and shimmery which means they need to be applied quite thickly for good colour pay off.  I will definitely use the lighter shades for creating quick daytime eyeshadow looks and I would probably combine the dark shades with powder eyeshadows for evening looks.

Kohl Eyeliners

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Kohl Eyeliners: (from left to right) Mulberry Forest and Blue Knight.

I love coloured eyeliners.  When teamed with matching eyeshadows, they can really make your eyes pop and complete the look.  Once again, these products are very sheer and need to be applied quite thickly, but the colours are lovely and look great applied along the waterline and teamed with the matching Eye Shadow Wands.

Glossy Lip Stains

Glossy Lip Stains Swatched on my hand: (from top to bottom) Mulberry Forest and Enchanted Mauve.

Glossy Lip Stains Swatched on my hand: (from top to bottom) Mulberry Forest and Enchanted Mauve.

I was delighted to receive these because I love lip stains.  Nothing in the make-up world annoys me more than lipsticks that need to be applied hourly – ain’t nobody got time for that!  I adore both of these colours, Mulberry Forest is a deliciously rich burgundy and Enchanted Mauve is a stunning nude pink.  I also love that these stains are glossy and moisturising because lots of stains out there can be quite drying.  These stains fade gradually and last for about three hours.

A dramatic evening look I created with Mulberry Forest Glossy Lip Stain on my lips.

A dramatic evening look I created with Mulberry Forest Glossy Lip Stain on my lips.

Me wearing Enchanted Mauve on my lips.

Me wearing Enchanted Mauve on my lips.

In conclusion, I love the concept behind Mary Kay’s Fairytales and Fantasy Collection.  My only suggested improvement would be for the eyeshadow wands and eyeliners to be more pigmented.  The colours are beautiful and wearable and I can’t wait to see what Mary Kay come-up with for their next collection!

Here’s a photo of a make-up look I created using all Mary Kay products.  What do you think?

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Face: Mary Kay CC Cream in Light/Medium* Eyes: Mary Kay Smoke and Shimmer Eye Wands in Golden Illusion, Enchanted Mauve, Amethyst Smoke* and Kohl Eyeliner in Blue Knight.* Cheeks: Mary Kay Highlighting Powder*, True Dimensions Pink Cherie Lipstick* (worn as blush) and Mary Kay Bronzing Powder in Light/Medium* Lips: Glossy Lip Stain in Enchanted Mauve*

Till next time,

Claire xx

Ms This n That Blog

*All items marked with an asterisks (*) were provided for my consideration in accordance with my PR & Disclosure Policy.