Tuesday, December 31, 2013

~Happy 2014~

Dear lovelies,

I just wanted to pop in to wish you all a very happy new year. In case you've been wondering why I haven't updated in a bit, I'm actually on holiday enjoying quality time in Malaysia with my family. I did think about setting up some scheduled posts but I decided to just take the time off and enjoy a complete break. :)

2013 has been an interesting year for me, there have been some great highs but also some epic lows. It has been a year of saying goodbye to friendships I thought would endure the years, and also a year of meeting some wonderful friends who have put light in my heart and laughter on my face. It was also a year where I managed to travel to three new places I'd never been to before, as well as revisited two places I enjoyed immensely. It was a year of personal growth and while I haven't enjoyed as many personal successes as I'd have liked, things could also have been much worse.

(Image sourced from Google Images)

I don't believe in resolutions, but I do believe in setting personal goals, so here are mine for the upcoming new year...in the last few years I feel like I've lost touch with who I used to be, and I miss her a lot, so my goal is to get back to the person I used to be, and to spend more time on the things I thought were important. I'm going to try to be the best possible person I can be, and get back into shape mentally, physically and emotionally.

Dear readers, I thank you for all the support you've given me over the past year, with all the love and friendship you've shown me through your emails, comments, messages and tweets. I value each and every one of you and I am ever so grateful for all the support I've received thus far.

I wish you all a wonderful new year, and hope that 2014 brings great joy, love, laughter and personal success. If you'd like to share your goals for 2014, I'd love to hear it.

Much love,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Essence Limited Edition Beauty Beats (Girls on Tour with Justin Bieber) Collection and Product Reviews.

Hi lovelies,

This is just a quick mini-review/post but did you know that Essence have a collaboration collection with Justin Bieber? It's called the Beauty Beats/Girls on Tour Collection and like (almost) all their collections, it's limited edition!

Now don't stone me for this but I'm really not the biggest Bieber fan...so I wasn't all too tempted to pick any of the items up until I was walking through Priceline and stumbled across this!

Is it just me or does the Biebs look a bit vampire-esque here?
Keep reading after the jump!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013 Christmas/New Year International Giveaway!

Hi lovelies,

Another year (almost) done and dusted, but I couldn't let it pass without celebrating with a Christmas/New Year Giveaway! Before I continue further, I just wanted to thank each and every one of you for your support of my blog, through your comments, emails and tweets, you've all touched my heart and made me feel so blessed! Now, on to what you can WIN!

2013 Christmas and New Year International Giveaway Prize.

Giveaway Contents
Circa Home Lilac & Orchid Soap
Manicare Ultimate Point Tweezers
Manicare Angled Brush for eyeliners and brows
Manicare Ultimate Lash Groomer
theBalm Shady Lady Volume 2 Eyeshadow Palette
1000 Hour Natural Lashes false lashes
L'Oreal Paris Infallible 2-Step Lipstick in Resolution Red
L'Oreal Paris Infallible 2-Step Lipstick in Timeless Rose
Designer Brands Kohl Liner in Black
Korres Soft Eyeliner Pencil in Golden
Maybelline New York Volum'express Waterproof Mascara in Glam Black
Decoderm All Day Mascara
Chi Chi Metallic Shadow Stick in Solid Gold Dancer
Chi Chi Metallic Shadow Stick in Boogie Nights
Glameyes Manicare velvet and crystal eyeliner tattoo
Planet Eve Luxe Hand Cream

Now, on to the RULES, please pay attention as I would hate to disqualify people who fail to abide by them (sad face). The rules of this giveaway are simple.
1) This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
2) You must be a GFC or Bloglovin' follower of my blog, but you get extra entries for doing both (please specify which way you are folllowing in your comment as per rule 3 below).
3) You must leave a comment on what you are most looking forward to in the new year.
4) Please also include your GFC name and/or Bloglovin' username, and email address with your comment (so I can check that you've followed the rules and contact you if you win), or you will be disqualified.

That's it! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wishing all my readers a happy, safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year! 

Much love,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas - Handmade Gifts and Accessories by Rubenabird.

Hi lovelies,

Christmas is 12 days away! How time flies! If you're stuck with gift ideas, here's a unique suggestion for you...handmade fabric accessories and gifts from Melbourne brand, Rubenabird!

Rubenabird was started by my friend, G, a few months ago, and her business has gone from strength to strength ever since! She sells beautiful brooches, buttons, earrings, hair accessories, clutches, cufflinks and many more. Here are some examples of the beautiful things she's created.

Cosmetics clutch purse and fabric earrings.
Keep reading after the jump!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sephora Bans Parcel Forwarding Addresses (HopShopGo).

Hi lovelies,

You might remember this post I did on a recent haul I picked up from Sephora, using parcel forwarding company HopShopGo. Many of you wanted more details so I promised a review post on the service, once I completed my second order (which should be winging it's way to me as I type this). Everything seemed well until I decided to put in a spontaneous order on Saturday night for the much coveted, newly released Urban Decay Naked Palette 3. The order went through on the Sephora website without any problems, leading to much happy dancing in my flat...until I received an email a few minutes later stating that the order had been cancelled!

(Image sourced from Google Images)
There was no proper explanation given, save a vague comment that Sephora had cancelled the order because they were 'unable to confirm payment information'. I knew for a fact that there wasn't anything wrong with the card I'd used, so I sent them both an email and a Facebook message asking for a reply.

Here's what I got back via Facebook message (verbatim, with the exception of names which I've removed for privacy reasons):

"Hi, your order could not be approved because the address used is associated with multiple users.  If you have a different address you can have the order shipped to, you are welcome to replace the order. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Sephora Facebook Team"

Naturally, I wasn't very happy with that answer, and replied, stating that parcel forwarding was the only way in which Aussie beauty lovers had access to Sephora. Before I could finish typing, I received another reply, stating:

"Hi, while we do not have stores in or directly ship to Australia, we are excited to let you know that select products through Sephora are now available on the Australian online shopping Mall, Tarazz. Please paste the URL listed below into your browser for more information. http://www.sephora.com/australia"

That answer really frustrated me for several reasons, which I will list below:

a) Tarazz only carries selected Sephora products, all at higher unit costs than those offered on the Sephora website, and which are also subject to high shipping fees (though, admittedly, much lower than the crazy shipping fees quoted several months ago)...this leads to my next point, being,

b) Yes, I'm aware that prices quoted on the Sephora website are pre-sales tax. However, some parcel forwarding companies like HopShopGo are in tax-free states, which mean that the prices you pay are exempt from taxes anyway (unless you exceed the tax-free limit for your country - $1,000 Australian Dollars, in case you were wondering).

c) I could understand if Sephora was associating multiple orders to the same address with fraud, however, with HopShopGo, you are provided with individual IDs which differ for each person (this goes on top of the generic parcel forwarding address, much like an apartment number changes for the apartment address).

d) In this modern age where social media reigns supreme, Sephora are banning beauty bloggers based in other countries from accessing their products. This could ultimately end up shooting them in the foot as it cuts off a lot of free publicity for their products.

I raised these issues with Sephora but never got a response back afterwards, so I took my concerns to HopShopGo to ask for an explanation.

The rep explained that Sephora was now one of few online retailers that enforced Brand Owner’s Rights – a policy of not allowing their products to be shipped out of the U.S due to distributorship rights. She also explained that the 'Buy For Me' Concierge Team (a service offered by HopShopGo which purchases your products on your behalf) would still be able to make purchases at Sephora as they had separate address systems, however, the fee would amount to 10% of the total sum of purchases, meaning it could add up to quite a considerable amount if you purchased in bulk. I also asked if we could use our Sephora VIB points with the order, but was told that it would not be possible with the Buy For Me Concierge Service.

I also came across several forum threads on new Sephora practices, pertaining to accounts being blocked due to purchasing too many products and being suspected as 'resellers', which you can read here and here.

Overall, I find the whole issue rather disappointing. I was just getting into the thrill of purchasing products that weren't available here, like Urban Decay, so it's a little sad to have that taken away from us. Sure, there are other retailers we could try, but it can take months for some of the sites to stock up on new releases.

Of course the argument for supporting your country's economy will always be there, but when you think about it, we are still paying for groceries, clothing, utilities and many other items that pour money back into the economy. Was it too much to also ask to treat yourself to a rare beauty product from overseas from time to time? Clearly, the answer was yes.

What do you think of the whole issue, lovelies? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Now, if you excuse me, I'm off to find someone in the US who would be happy to forward parcels on to me.

Much love,

Thursday, December 5, 2013

MAC Cosmetics Makeover and Haul.

Hi lovelies,

About three weeks ago, I took myself down to the MAC store on Chapel Street for a makeover (cosmetics, not Apple - see what I did there?). Now, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with MAC...love because MAC is the very first brand I tried when I was first getting into makeup as a teenager and I love their extensive range of colours and shades, and hate because I find the customer service usually appalling whenever I'm at Myer or David Jones. Each time I've tried to stop by a MAC counter, I've either been ignored or treated rudely; I once tried to ask a MAC salesperson a question about ten minutes before closing time, and she rudely snapped 'we're closed'. As a result, I've always taken my hard earned dollars somewhere else (like Inglot, Illamasqua, Kit Cosmetics or Benefit - much nicer people at the counter)!

Anyhow, a friend had given me a gift certificate for my birthday last year (if you're reading this, thank you again, RM ♥), which could only be redeemed at the Chapel Street Pro Store, so I decided to venture down and give MAC another chance...I valiantly tried to phone through to make an appointment, but had no luck in getting through. The number was either always engaged or it rang incessantly without anyone answering...I was getting a bit frustrated after a few days of this when they finally answered their phone (if anyone at MAC Australia is reading this, perhaps you could suggest that the store gets an answering machine?)! Fortunately, they were quite pleasant and made an appointment without any problems.

I rocked up on the day and was greeted very pleasantly by the lovely Kasia, my makeup artist that day. She asked me if I was after a specific look but I told her I was happy to just let her do anything she wanted and try out different products, so she tried on several products, among which I liked the Face and Body Foundation (we mixed several shades), blush in Ambering Rose, Pro Longwear concealer and medium Mineralize powder. She also used some MAC pigments on my eyes which were very pretty (but I am usually a bit lazy about using loose shadows). Here's the look I ended up with at the end of the makeover!

With the gorgeous Kasia.
Keep reading after the jump!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Product Review: MeMeMe Arch Angels.

Hi lovelies,

First of all, let me apologise for the lack of posts on the blog for the past couple of weeks...things have been rather crazed since getting back from Bali, and while the will and urge to blog have been present, the time and energy have not! I've been dealing with some minor health issues, family visiting from abroad and work moving addresses, but hopefully things will start to settle down somewhat from now on. :)

I've been meaning to share this product review for ages, as it's become a staple product in my daily routine! Since I started going to the Benefit Brow Bar early last year (read all about the experience here), it's become habit to groom my brows every morning, so much so I feel 'naked' going out without filling them in!

In case you hadn't heard of it before, Arch Angels is a dual-ended brow definer (read: tinted brow gel) and highlighter. There are a few different brow products I use in steady rotation (I'm working on a post with my favourite brow products, so please stay tuned), but I usually end up using the Arch Angels to finish!

Keep reading after the jump!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

October 2013 Lust Have It Fashion and Beauty (FaB) Box Review!

Hi lovelies,

I'm back! Bali was amazing, it was a great experience and such a welcome break from the daily grind! It was also insanely HOT, so I barely wore any makeup at all! Much as I loved it, it was great fun to come back to Melbourne and be able to wear makeup again (and also have hair that didn't frizz insanely at the humidity). I spent my birthday there; it was a lovely, low-key birthday, but I felt very loved, got treated to a massage by the friends I went with and spent the evening watching the sunset! I just want to say a big, heartfelt thank you to everyone who showed my blog some love while I was away, I really appreciate it!

Anyhow, I was extremely excited to come back to Melbourne and find my October FaB box on my desk! Instead of the tote bag, this month's box was packaged in a box. I remember reading a post on LHI's wall asking readers if they preferred an extra item in lieu of the tote bag, and no prizes for guessing what the answer was! I couldn't wait to get into it, so here's what I received:

DURI nail enamel in Voodoo (hot pink)
DURI nail enamel in Black Diamond (black)
Out of Africa Pure Unrefined Shea Butter
ModelCo Colourbox eye shadow in Bahamas (cream/white)
Aviator Sunglasses (in leopard print pouch)
XO necklace
Statement Cuff

On to photos!

The FaB box arrived in a black...well, box.

October 2013 LHI FaB box.
Keep reading after the jump!

Friday, November 15, 2013

NOTD: Coral and Copper Nails.

Hi lovelies,

Here's a post to share a manicure I was sporting recently. I loved the colour combination, and it got me many compliments while I was wearing it!

The coral shade is called Kelly and is from my Veet promotional trio (more on that here), while the Copper shade is Revlon Copper Penny. I think this was such an attractive combination as the bright pop of the coral contrasted nicely with the warmth of the copper shade.

Keep reading after the jump!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Essence Limited Edition New In Town Collection and Product Reviews.

Hi lovelies!

Essence have a new collection out at Target, called the New In Town Collection! I have such a weakness for limited edition collections; somehow, I always feel like I need to pick up at least a couple of items before they're all gone (within reason, it doesn't apply if I don't think the products will suit me)! This is especially true for Essence Collections as they always seem extremely limited in number and the stands are often decimated at the end of the very first day they're put out.

Anyway, I digress, I popped in to Target to pick up a new two-piece for the Bali trip, and decided to swing by and have a look at the Essence stand. I'd been in the city the night before and the New In Town stand had been completely raided, with nothing left, which is why I was surprised when Target in Chadstone Shopping Centre actually had a few items left in stock! Now, I've heard that there are actually only five items from this range which are actually exclusive and limited edition (two polishes, two shadows and the remaining lipstick in the range, none of which I purchased because I wasn't especially interested in the shades) but don't quote me on that one!

Image sourced from Essence Cosmetics Australia Facebook page.
I ended up picking up two of the three lipsticks available, and the last blush left on the stand (must've been fate!).

Keep reading after the jump!

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Sephora Haul (October 2013).

Hi lovelies!

By the time this is published, I'll be in Bali! Hopefully, I'll have access to wifi so I can check in every now and then on Instagram/Twitter. :)

I don't usually share haul posts simply because I can be quite haphazard in purchases, and often indulge in little buys but at regular intervals (somehow that makes me feel less guilty, surely I'm not the only one with that philosophy?), so while I often have the intention to post a collective haul at the end of the month, I've usually forgotten by the time that time rolls around!

If you follow me on Instagram/Facebook, however, you'll notice a haul photo I put up a few days ago, with my first ever Sephora haul using parcel forwarding! I shared the order with three other friends (including Jasmine from Sweetaholic Beauty and Kris from Hissycat Krissy) and here is a photo of the entire order, including the items they ordered. As you can see, it was pretty epic (in addition to being sourced from the holy mecca of all cosmetics, Sephora), so I decided I had to share a post on it!

I had a lot of friends/readers express interest in my haul, so I promised to share more photos/details of my personal haul here. I'll share my thoughts on the parcel forwarding service I used, HopShopGo, in a separate post when I'm back from Bali.

A word of warning, this is going to be quite a picture-heavy post!

Keep reading after the jump!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

An Eles Makeup Look.

Hi lovelies,

It's been a while since I shared my last makeup look; I've been longing to share some but things have been so busy, I've fallen terribly behind!

Some time ago, I was given the chance to recreate the Eles Winter Look. I had so much fun with it, I decided to see what I could create on my own accord! I've been really into red lipsticks of late, so naturally, I decided to create a neutral look that centred around a statement lip.

Consider yourselves warned as this post will be a bit picture-heavy!

Eles products used for this look.
I used eyeshadows in Antique White, Tourmaline, Titanium and Terra Peach, brow sculpt in Brunette, Bronzer Duo in Fresco Bronze and Micro Bubble Lipstick in Cranberry. Antique White and Terra Peach are matte shadows and can be found here, while Tourmaline and Titanium are shimmer shadows and can be found here.

Keep reading after the jump!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Product Review: Born To Buy Pink Lady Lip Balm.

Hi lovelies,

I have a special post to share with you today! A few months ago, my blogger friend Sophie from Born to Buy created a line of lip balms named after her blog. Being the lip balm addict that I am, I couldn't resist when she asked me if I was keen to try one of her balms! Available in four flavours, Berry Ripe (wild berry), Pink Lady (pink lemonade), Watermelody (watermelon) and Killa Vanilla (vanilla), I had a bit of a struggle trying to decide which flavour I wanted, as I'm obsessed with both Pink Lemonade and Vanilla, but as I already have an amazing vanilla balm I love, I decided to go for Pink Lady to try something different!

My first impression of the balm when it arrived was very favourable; it's packaged in a clean, white tube, which makes for easy and hygienic use (a pet peeve of mine is when products are packaged in pots - sooo unhygienic, regardless of how careful you are). A clear, translucent balm, Pink Lady also smelled amazing; zesty and sweet without being overbearing.

Keep reading after the jump!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween 2013 Nail Art #2 - A Spooky Graveyard Manicure.

Hi lovelies!

I wasn't very happy with my first Halloween look from this year, the Jack-O'-Lantern manicure, so I decided I HAD to create something else!

I came up with the following idea, and I'm much happier with it! Apologies again for the photo quality, it's been a terribly overcast week in Victoria and all the photos are looking terrible!

I began by painting my nails with OPI Skull and Glossbones, then sponged over it with Camouflage Colour in Grey, to create a foggy look. Unfortunately, I took the gradient a bit too low so it got covered up when I drew over my nails with the Sally Hansen nail art pen in black, but I still like the overall effect a bit more than the first look! It's meant to depict an overgrown graveyard/chapel by moonlight. A few people have actually stopped me for a closer look at my nails!

Keep reading after the jump!

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 2013 Violet Box Review!

Hi lovelies,

I got to work today to find my Violet Box waiting on my desk! What I found when I opened it completely blew me away, so I just had to share it straight away! I'm uploading from mobile and having trouble loading the photos properly, so please bear with me and I will edit it tonight when I get home.

VB have changed their boxes, so while they retain the lovely matte black and violet colours, the box itself is a little bit smaller. I know this month's box was slightly delayed while they waited for the Be A Bombshell product to arrive, but it was well worth the wait in my humble opinion!

Here's what I found in this month's box!

Bodyography Oxyplex Loose Complexion Powder in Almond (Mineral Foundation) (full sized)

APIVITA Face Masks 2 Dose Sachet Express Beauty with Orange (full sized)

Savoir Faire Lipgloss in Rapture (full sized)

John Plunkett Cosmeceuticals Super Wrinkle Cream (deluxe sample)

Be A Bombshell Eye Shadow in Money Money (full sized)

On to photos!

October 2013 Violet Box (new packaging)
Keep reading after the jump!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween 2013 Nail Art #1 - A Jack-O'-Lantern Manicure.

Hi lovelies!

I think I've lost my Halloween mojo, because I managed to do several Halloween makeup looks and nail art for last year's Halloween (check them out here), but this is the first one I've found time to create this year, and seeing as it's four days away,  I'm really running out of time!

Anyhow, I couldn't sleep last night so I decided to create something Halloween themed. It was a bit of fail but I decided to share it anyway (maybe that's a lesson not to try something creative at 2 am when you can't sleep?). I was also struggling to get decent photos of it today as it was really overcast, so you will have to forgive the less-than-stellar photography.

It's just a simple look featuring several jack-o'-lanterns. I was going for more cute than scary, so I painted my nails black using Orly Liquid Vinyl, used OPI Hot & Spicy for the pumpkins and my Sally Hansen nail art pen in black for the jack-o'-lantern features. Leaves were dabbed on using NYC Color in Limelight, but I think I should've left them off as they looked better without.

\Keep reading after the jump!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 2013 Lust Have It Review!

Hi lovelies,

It was a very happy mail day for me today with both my Lust Have It and Her Fashion Box subscriptions arriving today! I will have my HFB post up in a day or two, but in the meantime, here is my LHI box review! This month's LHI was packaged in a gorgeous floral box that matches their new logo. I received the following items in my October box:

Le Tan Wash Off Spray Tan (deluxe sample)

Inika Loose Mineral Eyeshadow in Gold Dust (full sized)

Paula's Choice Oil Blotting Papers (deluxe sample)

Evo Salvation Care Shampoo and Conditioner (deluxe sample)

Princesse Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Mask (deluxe sample)

Smitten Whipped Tinted Mousse Moisturiser in Cappuccino (deluxe sample - I think, I forgot to check so I will get back to you)

There was also a handful of discount vouchers. On to photos!

The new packaging - isn't it adorable?
Keep reading after the jump!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Product Review: theBalm INSTAIN Long-Wearing Powder Staining Blush in Pinstripe and Swiss Dot (and Swatches).

Hi lovelies!

Happy Monday (not)! On the plus side, we survived it and it's only four short sleeps to the next weekend!

I have two pretty blushers from theBalm to show you today, in Pinstripe and Swiss Dot*. The INSTAIN blushers are innovative, long-wearing powders with staining properties. Swiss Dot* was sent to me for consideration, and I liked it so much that I went out and purchased Pinstripe!

theBalm INSTAIN blushes in Pinstripe (left) and Swiss Dot (right).
Keep reading after the jump!

Five minutes with...Raylene Barton from 1 Skin Solution and a GIVEAWAY (Open Internationally)!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the latest post in my interview series, a little chat with the gorgeous Raylene Barton, owner of 1 Skin Solution! If you haven't heard of 1 Skin Solution before, Raylene makes the most gorgeous, natural bath and body products,including a lovely lip balm that is my current holy grail lip product (the only thing that helps my insanely dry lips, and comes in vanilla as well as a yummy mojito flavour). There are also tinted lip balms, body lotion, bath crystals and the most divine candles (a review will be forthcoming shortly)! Not only does she make the most gorgeous products, but she's also an amazing person I'm so proud to call a friend!

Raylene from 1 Skin Solution.

1) Hi Raylene, welcome to The Made Up Maiden and thank you for answering all my questions! Can you tell us a little about how you came up with the inspiration for starting your own business, and how you chose the products associated with 1Skin Solution?
Hello, and thank you so much for having me! I have actually been making my own products for years. It started when I was a Personal Trainer and one of my lovely clients gifted me a little pack from The Perfect Potion. It had a base cream and some essential oils so I could create my own scented body cream. I loved the idea and went into Perfect Potion to look around. I purchased a book called Do It Yourself Skincare and that’s how it all started. I was making skincare and soaps and selling them at markets and also giving them to friends. It was only a hobby, and I was not making any money (in fact, I was actually losing money), but that was not the point. Once I decided I wanted to make it my business, I started up the custom lip balms. It was a great way to generate income to finance my own skincare line. It is a slower process but very rewarding. That decision was made 2 years ago. 

2) Where are your products manufactured?
All of my products are made here in Australia. I personally make all the lip products, candles and the Bath & Shower Crystals. I have a contract manufacturer who makes the other body products.

Keep reading after the jump!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

September 2013 Lust Have It Review!

Hi lovelies,

I'm a bit (okay, a LOT) late with this one, but a lot of the subscription boxes arrived at the same time and I didn't want to flood you all with review posts! Then I was a bit under the weather so this got a bit delayed...still, better late than never, right?

On to what I received in my September LHI box, which was chock-full of amazing goodies, including:

WOTNOT Organic Facial Wipes (deluxe sample)

Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover (deluxe sample)

L'Oreal Base Magique Primer (deluxe sample)

L'Oreal Nude Magique BB Cream (sachet)

MONTEIL Le Nouveau Parfum (deluxe sample)

GKMBJ Soothing and Moisturising Shampoo and Conditioner (deluxe sample)

Lust Have It Pencil Brush (full sized)

BAJI Kakadu Plum Face Scrub (full sized)

Bonus Tom Organic tampons (deluxe sample)

There was also a Karpati Bio-Cellulose Sensitive Mask (deluxe sample)

If you're thinking that's a lot of stuff, that's exactly what I thought! There was also a sneak peek teaser of an upcoming Inika product in the next box...we all know how much I love mineral makeup, and Inika, so I'm pretty excited for that! I won't give too much away so as not to spoil it for anyone, but I will say it is a makeup product and I assure you that you'll love it!

On to photos, before I share my thoughts...

September 2013 LHI box.
Keep reading after the jump!

Monday, October 14, 2013

NOTD: Pink & Blue Nails for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month - Wave of Polish.

Hello lovelies,

Did you know that October is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month? I didn't, until it was brought to my attention on a Beautyheaven forum a couple of weeks ago! While I haven't gone through this myself, I do know several wonderful ladies who have, and I can only imagine how heartbreaking the whole experience would be.

October 15th is the official Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, with people around the world asked to light a candle at 7 pm in memory of the precious lives taken too early from this world. A group of wonderful Australian ladies decided to create a Facebook page called Wave of Polish to show support to this cause by committing to paint their nails blue and pink to raise awareness for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, with special emphasis placed on October 15th. In addition, an auction of one-off polishes made by Australian indie brands will be held, beginning at 9 am on the 8th of October and finishing on the 15th of October, with all proceeds raised going to Sands Australia. Click here for details on the auction.

Here's the blue and pink mani I came up with for International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I used piCture pOlish Whimsy and Essie Cascade Cool for my base colours, Maybelline New York Color Show Sequins in Rose Bling on my ring finger, and Revlon Lunar and Sally Hansen White On for the dotticures.

Read more after the jump!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Product Review and FOTD Featuring The Body Shop Shimmer Cubes Palette, All-In-One Cheek Colour & Colour Crush Lipstick.

Hi lovelies,

Apologies for the lack of posts lately, I've been a bit under the weather! I've managed to contract tendonitis, so my Achilles' tendons are not happy, and I've also got really bad aches and pains, similar to the flu but minus the cough/cold factor!

Anyhow, on to happier things, it's been a while since I shared a creative post so I wanted to create a look for you, solely using The Body Shop products! Now, gorgeous bath and body products probably come to mind when you think of The Body Shop, but did you know they also have stunning makeup products?

Keep reading after the jump!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

OPI San Francisco Collection - Embarca-Dare Ya! & Muir Muir On The Wall.

Hi lovelies,

In light of yesterday's big OPI sale announcement, I have two gorgeous polishes to show you today, Embarca-Dare Ya! and Muir Muir On The Wall from the San Francisco Collection.

Embarca-Dare Ya! is a lovely magenta shimmer which occasionally takes on a rosy hue, depending on the lighting. While not terribly unique, it's a lovely shade and applies like a dream. I used two shades for these photos, topped off with my beloved Poshe topcoat.

OPI Embarca-Dare Ya!
OPI Embarca-Dare Ya!
Keep reading after the jump!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Buy One Get One Free OPI Polish This Weekend - Nationwide!

Hi lovelies!

Do you love OPI as much as I do?!

In that case, I have some excellent news for you! In celebration of the long-standing relationship OPI and David Jones have shared, they are offering a once-off exclusive offer to all those shopping over this coming long weekend; BUY ONE LACQUER, GET ONE FREE all weekend! If you're not living in Sydney, don't fret, this applies NATIONWIDE!

This is exclusive to David Jones stores (does not apply to online sales) and only applies to 15 ml bottles. Valid 05/10/13 - 07/10/13.

Why not pick up some Liquid Sands or perhaps some shades from the new OPI San Francisco collection (swatch photos/review coming soon)! Click here for more shade ideas.

OPI Liquid Sand in Honey Ryder
OPI Liquid Sand in Stay the Night
Get in quick, beauties, remember it's only valid this long weekend, so don't pass this great opportunity up!

Are you tempted by this? What shades are you eyeing?

Much love,

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Five minutes with...Paul and Liz from Get Drenched (Official Stockists of Bomb Cosmetics) and a Discount Code!

Hi lovelies,

We all know how much I love Bomb Cosmetics (check out my last post here), so I thought we should sit down and have a quick chat with Paul and Liz, the faces (and personalities) behind Get Drenched, the official Australian stockists of Bomb Cosmetics!

Paul and Liz from Get Drenched.
1) Hi Paul and Liz, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with us! Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Paul: Although I’m from England and Liz is from Australia, we actually met in California, at an exhibition hosted by the US Postal Service in 2000. Liz was acting as a representative of Australia Post (they were exhibiting at the show), and I was representing my company, which represented the US Post in the UK. While we enjoyed each other's company, we went our own way at the end of the exhibition, and occasionally kept in touch via email over the next four years. In 2004, Liz took some long service leave; her plan was to spend a couple of weeks in England and then a few weeks in France – I still think to this day that she was hoping to meet a Frenchman! I invited her to stay with me while she was in England; plans changed, and we ended up travelling to Paris together for her birthday, after which she returned to England with me for the remaining weeks of her visit. We then engaged in a long distance relationship for 2 years, travelling back and forth whenever we could. We agreed that we’d make our home in Australia (Liz’s daughter was 16 at the time), and after I moved Down Under, we were married in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney on a very sunny day in April 2008. We ended up moving back to the UK for 2 years, living on the south coast of England. We returned to Australia in October 2010, and we were both fortunate in finding employment relatively quickly. It was in May 2011 that the Bomb Cosmetics contract was offered to us, so I left to start the business while we still had the security of Liz’s income. Liz then joined me in the spring of 2012, and we now work full time on the business together. It’s certainly long hours, but we love what we do. The reaction to the brand has been fabulous from those in Australia who have tried it.

2) Can you tell us what led to you starting your amazing business at Get Drenched?
Paul: Liz and I had always harboured ambitions to run our own business and work together, and we’d been looking for the right opportunity for a number of years. We’d come up with all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas but never acted upon them – thankfully! I suppose it all stemmed from the desire to be masters of our own destiny, although it was still a huge decision to move away from the relevant comfort of salaried jobs to jump into the unknown. Looking back now, we never really knew what we were letting ourselves in for in terms of the sheer number of working hours needed! Having said that, we wouldn't change a thing – when you love what you do, it never really feels like work.

3) We've all fallen head over heels for Bomb Cosmetics! How did you discover/decide on carrying the Bomb Cosmetics line?
Paul: It was very late one night in February 2011 that we stumbled across the opportunity to be Distributors for the UK brand of Bomb Cosmetics on the internet – very much by accident. It only took a few minutes of research into the brand and the products and we were already in love with the bath blasters (bath bombs), bath creamers and handmade soaps. It took several months of communications with the UK before the contract was offered to us. As you can imagine, we were over the moon and that’s when the hard work really began. One of our very first challenges was to come up with a business name. After much deliberation, we opted for Get Drenched, which we felt was quite appropriate – after all a big part of our business was to encourage people to take more baths and showers! Subsequently, we found out that ‘Drenched’ also had something to do with sheep-dipping(!), but by then it was too late. Most people like the name, thankfully!

4) Can you tell us a little bit about the manufacturing process?
Paul: We haven’t yet seen the manufacturing process ourselves, but one of the key points of difference of Bomb Cosmetics is that every product is handmade. Even now, we look at some of them and think “how do they do that?!”. The Rose Creamers are almost a work of art – the mixture of real rose petals, cocoa butter, and essential oils is simply stunning….and that’s before the Creamer is used in the bath! We think it’s very important to state that not only is every single item handmade, but products are never tested on animals and recycled packaging is used whenever possible. We really like those philosophies, and it means we can speak about the products with complete confidence.

5) You have some fantastic bath and home products in the Bomb Cosmetics line. If you each absolutely had to pick three favourites from your extensive range, which would you pick?
Paul: Firstly, I can’t go past the Rose Bath Creamer, although the Flower Bazaar Bath Creamer runs it close. To see real rose petals floating on the water as you bathe in the moisturising cocoa butter? – I defy any man or woman not to enjoy such a relaxing, indulgent experience! Secondly, I’d opt for the Dead Sea Salt Handmade Soap – it’s quite a ‘manly’ fragrance compared to most of the other products! Thirdly, I’ll choose the Chocolate Orange Tin Candle as it smells good enough to eat – just like the Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
Liz: My number one product would have to be the Skin Therapy Hanging Shower Butter. To be able to come out of the shower already moisturised and smelling gorgeous is now a bit of an addiction. Secondly, I’d opt for the Cranberry and Lime Body Scrub as this is a beautifully fragrant body scrub which leaves the skin feeling so soft and smooth. Lastly, it would have to be the Vintage Rosehip Bath Blaster. I love the immediate fizz of the bath blasters, and this one smells divine. It also has a touch of cocoa butter in it to moisturise the skin.

6) Your products are free of parabens and preservatives, does that mean it's safe for children to use?
Paul - We've certainly had rave reviews from children who have used Bomb Cosmetics products, although adults tend to keep them for themselves! There are even 3 Lucky Dip Bath Blasters aimed specifically at children aged 3 and above. Each Blaster contains a little toy in the middle - very much like a Kinder Surprise. While the products are certainly as natural as possible and very gentle on the skin, and while we've never heard of any adverse reactions, every child is different. And of course, some children may be allergic to certain ‘natural’ products as well, so if a parent has any doubts they can check the ingredients list which is listed on each product.

7) Fragranced products can be tough to choose as we all have such diverse preferences...how do we find out if there's a local stockist in our area so we can go in and have a sniff for ourselves?
Paul: That’s a very good point – fragrance is certainly a personal choice. Our stockists in Australia are increasing and there’s nothing like being able to smell the products ‘live’. If any of your readers would like to find out if there’s a stockist nearby, then they can drop an email to enquiries@getdrenched.com.au and we’ll be happy to help. We always encourage consumers to support their local store whenever possible, and even encourage them to stock more of the range! Equally, our website is aimed at those consumers who don’t yet have a store nearby, or those who have a store with a limited range – after all, we do have over 500 product lines! And of course, it’s also aimed at the increasing number of people who like the convenience of shopping on line these days. Whichever avenue consumers use to locate Bomb Cosmetics products, we hope they never look back – once tried, never forgotten! We like to think of Bomb Cosmetics in Australia as a growing family, and we’re massive fans of the brand too…as you can probably tell!

Sending a great big thank you to Paul and Liz for taking the time to sit down with us here at The Made Up Maiden. They've also generously provided us with a discount code which will allow you 10% off your order at Get Drenched, simply enter code 'MAIDEN' at checkout to receive your discount! This code is exclusively for my readers, and only valid until the 8th of October, lovelies, so don't dawdle (I won't be receiving any benefit from this promotion aside from the joy of seeing my beloved readers try out a new brand that I love)!

I hope you enjoyed this interview, lovelies! What products are you lusting after from Get Drenched?

Much love,

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 2013 Her Fashion Box Review and Recap of the Blogger Brunch!

Hi lovelies!

Before we begin, a word of warning, this is going to be a very photo-heavy post! If you follow me on any of the social media channels, you might have noticed that I was fortunate enough to be invited to a blogger brunch hosted by the lovely Kath and Kerry from Her Fashion Box a couple of weeks ago. It was absolutely delightful finally meeting them in person, although I already felt like I knew them after having chatted with them for a few months through email, and from the interview I was fortunate enough to do with them a little while ago!

The blogger brunch was held at Top Paddock in Richmond, and we got to learn more about the girls and the inspiration behind the Her Fashion Box concept, together with the creative process that goes into the selection of goodies in each box. Both Kath and Kerry were wearing a few items from past boxes, and they were excellent models for their own products; it left me wanting to purchase everything that they were wearing (ladies, if you are reading this, please hurry up and open the online store)!

Here are some snapshots from the blogger brunch, just for your viewing pleasure!

The lovely table of hot pink boxes we were greeted with!
Keep reading after the jump!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Marc Jacobs Perfume Collection - Daisy Eau So Fresh, Daisy solid perfume ring, Lola, Dot and Honey!

Hi lovelies,

In case you didn't know, I'm a bit mad about perfumes. I don't really believe in having a signature scent (for myself, anyway - I'd just get a bit tired of it if I wore it every day) and I love matching my fragrance to my mood/occasion! I also have lots of perfumes which have been given to me by people I love, and it never fails to make me think of them when I put it on (which is a reason why I love to gift perfumes too)!

As a result, I thought I'd share some perfume reviews from you from time to time, beginning with my Marc Jacobs collection! I love Marc Jacobs, he's such a talented designer and I adore everything he puts out, be it clothing, fragrances, sunglasses or his new makeup line. While I love the scent of the perfumes I have below, I also love the bottles; the designs are gorgeous and a fantastic way to 'pretty' up your dressing table! Without further ado, let's get on to looking at my little collection...

Keep reading after the jump!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 2013 Lust Have It Fashion and Beauty (FaB) Launch Box Review!

Hi lovelies,

I received the very first Lust Have It Fashion and Beauty (FaB) launch box today! As promised in my sneak peek preview post, here are my thoughts on the box!

I received:

Aztec print scarf
DURI nail enamel in Pie in the Sky Green (mint)
DURI nail enamel in Call Me Maybe (pastel coral)
Mint green watch with rose gold accents
Tassel statement necklace

Everything was packaged in a soft, reusable tote bag (apparently there will be a different design every month). On to photos!

The goodies were all packaged in this cute tote bag.
Keep reading after the jump!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW: Lust Have It Fashion & Beauty (FaB) Launch Box!

Hi lovelies!

I have a special preview post for you today, and that's the very first ever Lust Have It FaB (Fashion and Beauty) box! Mine is currently winging its way to me (so I can't comment on quality, etc, I'll give you a full review when it arrives), but I was fortunate enough to receive a few photos of the box, so I can break the silence and show you what's in the box if you still wish to subscribe (but hurry, as there aren't many left)!

The items are Aztec themed, which is a very popular trend currently! The shades are also perfect for spring!

The launch FaB box has the following items:

Aztec print scarf
DURI nail enamel (2 gorgeous pastel shades)
Mint green watch with rose gold accents
Tassel statement necklace 

All packaged in a pretty, limited edition LHI tote bag! 

Here's a little sneak peek of the box:

And an official image!

What do you think, lovelies, are you keen to sign up? This box retails for $35 and you can sign up here
Remember, there aren't many left, so if you're keen, run, don't walk!
Much love,


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 2013 Violet Box Review!

Hi lovelies!

Imagine my surprise when I received another dispatch email from Violet Box, saying that another box was on the way! I was thrilled, naturally, and couldn't wait to tear into it when it arrived yesterday. It was a bright spot in my day as I've pinched my sciatic nerve and could barely walk by the end of the day!

Here's what I received in my September Violet Box:

The Vintage Cosmetic Company floral slanted tweezers (full sized)

The Vintage Cosmetic Company emery board (full sized)

NS-5 Cuticle and Nail Complex (full sized)

Sinful nail polish (full sized)

Eleven Australia's miracle hair treatment (deluxe sample)

Timeless Truth Stem Cell extract mask (full sized)

There was also a discount card offer for Swissdent whitening toothpaste. On to photos!

September 2013 Violet Box
Keep reading after the jump!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

NOTD: P!NK Inspired Nails!

Hi lovelies!

Happy Saturday! At the time of publishing this, I'm currently away on a MUCH NEEDED girly weekend with some beautiful girl friends, including the gorgeous Ms Jelena! We'll be away for less than 48 hours but hopefully it gives us a bit of time to recharge our batteries. :)

In the meantime, I'm going to leave you with a filler short and sweet post so you don't miss me too much (I'd like to think I'm missed when I don't post for a couple of days, so please don't disillusion me)! I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was fortunate enough to win tickets to see P!NK, and promised to share the inspired nail art post I wore in honour of the concert, so here it is!

Veet (yes, the hair remover brand) ran a little promotion on their Facebook page a little while ago, and they sent out three polishes called Amy (hot pink), Kelly (coral) and Chloe (soft pink) to the first 500 people to participate. I used Amy (the only one I've tried so far) as my base, and ORLY Liquid Vinyl for the nail art. Apologies for how dry my skin looked in the photos, I think I should've used some hand cream before taking photos!

 Let me know if you want a tutorial to show you how I did it, it's really easy, I promise. :)

Here's what I came up with, I wanted something that was girly, but a little edgy, just like P!NK!

That's all for now, lovelies! Hope you liked it!

Much love,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fashion Addict Review and Haul!

Hi lovelies!

As some of you know, Fashion Addict are a great online store which sell great makeup items, like BYS, Revlon, Face of Australia and many others! They often have items that are hard to find elsewhere (and at discounted prices, yay), making them a great retail destination, but did you know they also have really cute accessories for sale?

When I was contacted a little while ago and asked if I was interested in trying out several items, my answer was a resounding 'yes'!! I had rather an enjoyable time browsing the website, and picked out these three items below.

Teal and Gold Scarf (Crushed Look)

I've been really into scarves lately, and this pretty teal and gold scarf caught my eye immediately. I was a little surprised when it turned up as it looked a bit different from the photo on the website, but it's still a really pretty scarf and the square shape makes it unique.

(Image taken from the Fashion Addict website)

Teal and Gold Scarf
This is what the scarf looks like on its own. It's got a metallic look to it, which is something a bit different!

Keep reading after the jump!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Liptember 2013 | Kiss Away The Blues with Liptember Purple!

Hi lovelies!

I'd like to share a very special post with you today. It's September, otherwise known as Liptember! If you aren't familiar with Liptember, it's all about having fun with lipstick for a serious cause - Women's Mental Health, which includes anxiety, depression, post natal depression, menopausal change, dementia and self-image. All funds raised in September are donated to Liptember's mental health beneficiaries, the Centre for Women's Mental Health and LIFELINE.

You can participate in Liptember through three different ways:

a) Purchasing an official Liptember lipstick from My Chemist, Chemist Warehouse and My Beauty Spot (there are two kinds - Revlon lipsticks and 'challenge' lipsticks made independently by Chemist Warehouse);
b) Fundraising by pledging to wear an official Liptember lipstick every day during the whole month of September, and asking your family and friends to sponsor you (it's never too late to join in!!!); and,
c) Sponsoring someone who is participating in Liptember by donating on the website.

Need more convincing? Let me share some information gathered from the Liptember website:
  • There is little mental health research based on women;
  • More focus needs to be placed on treating men and women separately when it comes to mental health;
  • Suicide is the biggest single cause of death for Australian women aged 18 to 34;
  • One in three Australian women will suffer depression or anxiety during their lifetime;
  • Women are more susceptible to anxiety and depression than men; and,
  • Post natal depression affects 15% of women within the first year after childbirth.
I was offered the chance to participate in a special way, by creating a signature look using one of the official Liptember shades. The shade I was sent was Liptember Purple, which is one of the challenge shades created by Chemist Warehouse (there is also a blue, pink, yellow and mint shade available).
Liptember 2013 Purple (challenge shade available exclusively from Chemist Warehouse).
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and pigmentation of this lipstick. The deep purple looks quite confronting in the tube, but it's actually surprisingly versatile; it goes on quite soft and creamy for a natural, berry lip, but you can also build it up to a deep purple for a more intense look. After some deliberation, I decided to come up with a rather creative look to do this lipstick justice, but I will also include a more natural look with the lipstick at the end of this post, to show you just how versatile it is!

This look was created using 3 layers of Liptember Purple on my lips, and then I gently pressed some of the eyeshadow used on my eyes onto the centre of my lips to give it a duochrome look. 
Keep reading after the jump!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Five minutes with...Kath and Kerry, founders of Her Fashion Box (and a Giveaway)!

Hi lovelies!

Happy Sunday! I hope you've all had a great weekend! I've got a new interview for you to read today, with the lovely beauties behind the Her Fashion Box brand! Please forgive me for being a bit tardy with my interview series, I actually already have four more lined up to go, I've just been a bit amiss about sending them live! Please stay tuned as they are all very fascinating reads!

If you aren't familiar with Her Fashion Box, it's a monthly subscription box containing both beauty and fashion products. You can choose to subscribe to the full monthly box for $39.95, or alternatively, pick the boxette, which is the mini version of the full box and retails for $24.95. Click here for more information!

Image provided by Her Fashion Box.

Keep reading after the jump!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Skincare Tag.

Hi lovelies!

I was tagged by the lovely Kat from Kitsch Snitch and Evelyn from Cotton Candy Diva in this rather interesting skincare tag. [Note: If I've forgotten anyone else who tagged me, I'm so sorry, I always have the best intentions to do these things and then I forget! Let me know if you have and I will add your name in!]. Oh, and I'm also going to be really naughty and not include photos, because if we have to wait till the weekend for some good light...I will probably forget to do this altogether.

1) Describe your skincare routine in five words…
Simple, quick, straightforward, targeted, consistent.

2) What’s your skin type?
This is a tough one since I started on Roaccutane, but let's call it combination-normal.

3) What’s your favourite skin care product?
Shu Uemura fresh pore clarifying cleansing oil, it takes all my makeup off and leaves my skin feeling supple and soft.

4) Top Blemish Zapper?
I'm currently using the Aphelia Cosmetology Oasis Rapid Action Pen. It's been pretty helpful so far!

5) Face wipes, yay or nay?
Nay. The only times I use face wipes are if I'm travelling (and feeling desperate) or when I'm taking swatch photos for the blog. Otherwise, I always, always, always cleanse my makeup off properly.

6) Toner, yay or nay? 
I used to be a religious proponent of toner, then stopped for a while. I've just started using it daily again though!

7) High End Skincare or High End Makeup?
I'm going to say High End Skincare. I don't really know why. I think it's just that the quality of makeup has improved so significantly lately, that even low end products have outstanding quality. Also, I don't change my skincare anywhere near as much as I change my makeup, so I'd rather have 5-10 different low end products for the cost of 1 really high end product (there are exceptions, of course, but I'm speaking generally here).

8) What’s the most unusual skincare product you’ve tried?
I'm pretty boring when it comes to skincare! But I might try my hair at a snail serum moisturiser soon...(Wish me luck).

9) You’re in a French pharmacy and can only pick one item – what is it?
Ooh, another toughie! I'd have said Bioderma (the Crealine makeup remover is tres magnifique) or La Roche-Posay, but since they are now available here in Australia, I will go with Vichy. :)

10) Tell us your top skincare tip
ALWAYS cleanse before going to bed at night, even if you haven't used makeup that day. You still need to cleanse your skin of the dust, grime and natural oils that have built up on your skin!

Sending a big thank you to Kat and Evelyn for tagging me! I'm not going to tag anyone because I'm quite late with this, but if you'd like to do the tag, I'd love to read your answers!

What would your top skincare tip be?

Much love,
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