An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann

Hello lovelies! I've realised that it has been a really long time since I read a book just for fun. Most things I read now are either from my university textbooks or required readings. And sure, sometimes it can be interesting but it's not the same as when I used to pick up a novel and read just to read. A while ago I was contacted by the lovely author, Kelly Wittmann, to read and review her new contemporary Young Adult novel, An Authentic Experience. I was super excited to have a new novel to read so, of course, I said yes! I personally am not great at describing plotlines, so instead of focusing on describing the plot, I will share the things I enjoyed most.

An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann - "Fifteen-year-old Silver Abelli’s life has been as tumultuous as the punk rock she was raised on. Her divorced parents just don’t get along, even though they’re both musicians who stubbornly spurn the mainstream but secretly crave the limelight. Silver has always lived with her mom, Nicola, but when Nicola is diagnosed with a brain tumor, she must go to live with her obnoxious, hard-partying father, Renz. It’s a really bad time to fall in love, so you can pretty much bet that Silver will. Enter Jake Sullivan…"

First of all, I really enjoyed the different family and friendship dynamics explored in Silver's life. Silver and her mother seem to have a close relationship with each other, as well as with her maternal grandparents. However, the relationship Silver has with her dad is rocky and near non-existent. It was intriguing to follow the relationship between Silver and her dad throughout the story, especially after a frightening encounter she has with one of his friends. What I liked about the relationships in Silver's life is how varied they were from each other. But my favourite little storyline throughout the novel is the relationship Silver pursues with Jake.

Jake is introduced right in the beginning of the novel as the popular, good-looking, football player in junior high school. Initially, he seemed a bit arrogant but it wasn't far into the book that I began to actually like his character. Their relationship is a sweet portrayal of young high school love between the two. I also thought that Silver's 'unique' upbringing was a great feature throughout the story. Silver has been homeschooled her entire life and has in some ways lived through her cousin to have the whole 'teen and high school' experience.

The novel throws in many humorous rock references that I'm sure plenty of readers would appreciate. I wish I'd got them but I've never been a huge rock listener, nonetheless I always like when books and films throw in some witty references.

I found the story easy to follow, sometimes a little bit too easy in some ways but still engaging. I really liked how Silver's character was unique in many ways, particularly with her style! She strikes me as someone who is a bit nervous around people but quite strong headed.

I think this novel is great for younger readers around their early teens. It was fun to read a novel which featured something new for me such as rock as I am not too familiar with it. Thank you to Kelly who sent me a free digital copy of her new novel so I could share it with you! It was great to read something new. You can purchase a copy of An Authentic Experience here

♡ Three Pressed Powders ♡

Hello lovely! I haven't managed to focus on my blog for a while because my NDPH has been getting in the way of life and I had to put all my limited energy into uni. Anyway, today I have a new post all about pressed powders! Actually, these three are the only powders I own and they are all very different from each other. I thought I would share with you my 'powder collection,' I guess I can call it as this is all of them even though it's not a huge collection.

Australis Fresh & Flawless Pressed Powder...
First up is the Australis Fresh & Flawless pressed powder that I swear almost everyone in Australia has either tried or heard of. This was one of the first powders I bought and have been using for a few years now. I wrote a review on it here and still to this day it's one of my most read blog posts. Even though I have a previous post on it I'll still briefly talk about my current thoughts. This is my second pan and as you can see I have definitely got good use out of it.

The Australis Fresh & Flawless powder is the one I use most out of the three. I like that it mattifies my face without looking dry or dull, and unless it is an extremely hot and humid day, it lasts a good while on my skin. This powder adds a little bit of extra coverage but not so much that it looks cakey. The finish is matte and soft, I usually use a brush to dust it over my skin but sometimes (not often) I press it into my skin with a sponge and it completely blurs all my pores. It's also worth mentioning that there are no oils or fragrance in the product, and the brand itself is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. In regards to packaging, it isn't luxurious as such but it is nice and sturdy with a good amount of product. Only negative is that there isn't a huge range of shades; I use the shade Natural. Overall this is a lovely powder that is affordable too ($13.95).

Maybelline Fit Me! Set + Smooth Powder...
Initially, I had planned on purchasing the Matte + Poreless version of this powder but they either didn't have any left or it hadn't been released yet. Either way, I ended up with the Set +Smooth powder. This product claims to 'blend seamlessly and leave a finish that is just right.' Upon first application, this powder does exactly that. Because I have combination skin I prefer to use matte products otherwise I just get too shiny throughout the day.

This powder feels slightly finer than the Australis Fresh & Flawless and doesn't have much coverage to it, I like that though. I do get shiny when I use this, especially on my chin and forehead. It's a bit of a bummer because I actually really like how it sits on my skin when I first apply it. It definitely does 'set and smooth' but I just wish the 'setting' bit lasted longer. I think if you have dry to normal skin you may really like this powder. I will add that for me this powder is lovely during the colder months, and I do use it during spring and summer too but I NEED to have blotting sheets with me if I do. As for the shade range, I believe there are four which isn't a huge range; I use the shade Nude Beige. This powder is also oil-free and fragrance-free. Overall, a great powder for dry to normal skin. ($14.95).

Rimmel Stay Matte...
Finally, the Rimmel Stay Matte powder that I have heard so many great things about. I purchased this powder in search of something that would keep me matte throughout the day. I kept hearing about how great this was at controlling oils, and when Tanya Burr (adore her!) recommended it on her channel I thought that this may be the perfect powder for me. The Rimmel Stay Matte powder claims to keep you free of shine for up to five hours whilst minimising the appearance of pores. Okay, so although I don't dislike this powder, I also don't particularly like it. It does mattify my makeup to begin with but that lasts about 30 minutes before I start to get shiny on my forehead and chin. I will say that I quite like how lightweight this powder is, it feels like my skin can breathe. If you have dry or normal skin I think you would probably really like this powder, but unfortunately, this does not control the oils on my skin. I don't think I will be repurchasing this powder but I will get good use out of it during winter! Overall, I like that this powder is lightweight and provides a soft and natural finish, I just wish it kept my shine at bay for longer.

Have you tried any of these? If you have let me know your thoughts in the comment section!


Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation

Hello and welcome to a new post (finally!) all about the Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation. I purchased this when I was in search of a lightweight foundation suitable for a natural day look. This foundation claims have a formula enriched in vitamins C, B5 and E to boost radiance and provide an anti-fatigue effect.

First, let's talk packaging. It is a simple glass bottle with a pump that doesn't dispense too much or too little, which I love. The lid clicks on and stays on, overall this packaging is nice and sturdy.

The formula of this foundation is neither too thick nor too runny, making it easy to work with. I really like how comfortable this foundation is to wear, it's so lightweight I can't even feel it on my skin. If you have dry or normal skin I think you might be able to wear this without setting it, but because I have combination skin I always use a powder on top. This foundation does not feel at all tacky on my skin and it isn't drying either.

The first time I applied this foundation I used a brush and I did not like how it looked. I was initially disappointed with the foundation because it looked quite streaky, but then I tried it again with a dampened beauty sponge and it applied so much nicer. I find that this foundation blends in very nicely too.

I love how soft and natural the finish of this foundation is. It isn't overly matte or dewy, it's right in the middle with the potential to go either way depending on how you prep and the other products you use. If I'm feeling a more matte finish I will go over it with a mattifying powder, but if I want to go for a dewier look I'll prep my skin for it and add some illuminating properties. I like that it's versatile like that on my skin.

I actually really like this foundation. Most days it works well for me, but there are always those days where my makeup just doesn't want to sit right. I will say though that Bourjois should really extend their shade range. Even though the shade Vanilla matches me pretty perfectly, I think a lot of people would need to purchase two shades to create their match and that's not exactly fair. So, excluding the shade range issue, my personal experience with the formula and finish is definitely positive. 

Have you tried this foundation? If you have let me know how it worked for you!


Five Concealers And My Thoughts On Them...

Concealers were probably one of the only products I would wear back in early high school. I didn't wear mascara because my lashes were already prominent, and the only reason I started with concealer was because of spots (when I look back now it wasn't even bad at all, especially compared to later). Of course, I lightly powdered to make sure it was set. I have tried a number of concealers since then and some of them have worked for me whilst others did not. Currently, these five are all of the concealers I own. I find that these are all quite different to each other and thought I would talk about them all in a single post.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind
I purchased this for the first time a couple of years back due to all the hype it received. To be honest, I didn't actually like it at first. It looked almost 'cloudy' on my skin, not sure how else to explain it but it wasn't great. I'm not sure what changed but after trying it out again I found myself really liking the coverage this concealer gave. I finished it off and didn't repurchase for a while, but then a few months back Priceline had another sale and I picked it up again, accidentally picking the wrong shade which turned out to be too dark for me. I was a bit annoyed at myself but then I realised it was a great shade for concealing dark circles under my eyes. Too dark to use anywhere else on my face, but under the eyes it helps a fair bit with cancelling out the blueness. I think the reason I was disappointed in the beginning is that it was super hyped and I was expecting some magical concealer, but it actually is pretty good!

Rimmel Wake Me Up
Another concealer that has amazing reviews online. However, it just didn't work for me. I don't want to hate this product because I've seen it on others and it looks lovely, but on me, it just looks dry and flakey. I have tried several times to get on with it, using different foundations, application techniques, etc. I really wanted to use this up so that's what I've been trying to do, but it's definitely taking a really long time. I can't remember what shade this is because it's been scratched off completely. The good thing is it doesn't break me out! But the overall finish this concealer gives on my skin just isn't worth it. As much as I wanted to like this, it didn't work well with my skin.

Maybelline Fit Me!
My favourite one of the five I own. These have received great reviews online and for good reason. For me, this concealer has worked really well for adding that bit more coverage on areas that need it without creasing or looking at all cakey. I didn't know this before but it is oil free and that is something I have started looking for in the products I use on my face. The formula of this concealer is not too thin and not too thick, and it is also super easy to blend by simply patting it with your finger or beauty sponge. The finish is very flattering too! I use the shade 20 as it is the perfect shade for my skin tone. I have already repurchased a second tube as this one is starting to run low. Overall highly recommend!

NYX Dark Circle Concealer
A peachy toned concealer meant for correcting discolouration under the eye area. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I have quite dark under eye circles even though I don't have bags or puffiness. I tried to convince myself that this worked to cancel out the blue tone but when I compare this to both the Maybelline concealers above, it doesn't do all that much. It's definitely not terrible, and I will continue to use this but I do tend to reach for the other two more often. Some people may not like the packaging as it's not the most hygienic but I don't mind it at all because I always wash my hands before makeup anyway.

NYX Above & Beyond Full Coverage Concealer
Another concealer from NYX which I use but not all that often. It's a very thick consistency and can be a little difficult to blend, but not impossible. Unfortunately, this isn't a great concealer for blemishes because although it covers the redness, it seriously looks dry and patchy on them. If you have good skin and need to cover a bit of discolouration or something then this would work for you. But on my breakouts, it doesn't exactly sit well on top. Again, I don't hate this product but I can't use it on blemishes. I do sometimes use it under my eyes though and that works fine.

So those are all the concealers I am sharing with you today and I hope you enjoyed this post! If you've tried any of these I'd love to know what your experience was, and if you have a concealer that you love please let me know about it because I'm all up for trying out new things!

I'm also quite active on Twitter and Pinterest recently so if you like head on over and give them a follow. ❤︎ If you enjoy reading my posts the best way to keep up with my blog is through Bloglovin and Twitter.

Four Things ♥︎ All About Hair

A new post in my Four Things series, this one is all about hair! Generally, my haircare routine is pretty simple; shampoo, condition then air dry. I have been trying out other products but to be honest, I haven't found a lot of hair products that have blown me away. There has been some that I've liked, some that I didn't, and some that I felt neutral on. Before I share my thoughts on these four hair products, I'll briefly talk about my hair type as everybody is different and things don't always work the same for everyone. So I am pretty lucky when it comes to hair because it is soft, grows out quickly and doesn't require much to get that way (this is great for my head hair but means I have to shave my legs all the time!) I do however struggle a bit with frizz and flyaways. The humidity here in Australia can get intense sometimes and my hair does not seem to like it. I can get oily roots and slightly dry ends but nothing too dramatic.

TRESemmé Heat Tamer Protective Spray
This is a product that I've been using for years. It was the heat protectant that so many YouTubers were talking about and because it was super affordable I decided to pick it up. I used to straighten my hair every now and then but I rarely use heat on my hair now. Whenever I do though I always use this heat protectant. The spray nozzle is great, it doesn't have an awkward amount or pressure (have you ever tried something that sprays really awkwardly?) so it is easy to get a nice application. The scent is pleasant too so that's a bonus!

Not Your Mother's She's a Tease Volumising Hair Spray
I purchased this in search for a hairspray that would help with the flyaways on the top of my head. The packaging is pretty and sturdy. The nozzle has a good spray application as well. BUT, I really dislike the scent of this. It claims to be infused with natural apple blossom and bamboo, so I was expecting a lovely fresh scent (of course with a hint of that typical hairspray smell) but after spraying it in my hair I got a whiff of fermented fruit. I have continued to use this spray because I didn't want the money to be a complete waste, and the scent could be worked around if I sprayed it in a brush first then used that to brush down the flyaways. Then I spray something else in my hair such as my SunBum leave-in treatment or my new John Frieda leave-in conditioner to make sure my hair smells nice and not like the hairspray itself. I wouldn't repurchase but I am making it work.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Cherry
I have tried a few different dry shampoos and am yet to find one that I love. I didn't hate this one by any means, it's probably the best one I have used. The scent is lovely too! But I don't love it because it doesn't really fix my oily roots as much as I'd like it to. I personally prefer to wash my hair, and I do so almost every night. I know you're not supposed to according to the haircare rules, but this is what works best for me at the moment. Because I workout most days I also sweat and I don't like the thought of having a sweaty scalp. Of course, you do not have to wash your hair that much, even if you sweat. Everyone has their own way of dealing with that but mine is to simply wash my hair. Sometimes I try to go two days without washing my hair, sometimes three. Honestly, day three is totally fine, but it's dealing with day two that I cannot stand. Anyone else get frustrated with day two hair? Because washing my hair every day is a bit drying, I like to wash it every one and a half days. For me, that's the perfect amount. I have been reading some posts with tips on how to wash your hair less frequently if you're one who is a daily washer and they've been useful.

Pantene Ultimate 10 BB Creme
A BB creme for hair that claims to moisturise, detangle, defrizz and more. I purchased this in hopes of being able to tame the frizz in my hair. To apply, I use one or two pumps in my hands then just comb it through the mids and ends of my hair. It can be applied both when your hair is damp or dry, but personally, I prefer using this when my hair is about 70% dry. This is a nice product to add a bit of softness to your hair, it also smells lovely and gives a nice shine. It's not a miracle worker but I do enjoy using this. I've almost used it all up and although I do like it, I will probably try some other products before repurchasing it as I'm still looking for something that will REALLY help with frizz.

Let me know if you've tried any of these and what your holy grail hair products are!


Sally Hansen Color Therapy | Blushed Petal

I feel like it's been such a long time since I last posted about a nail polish. Even though I recently did a nail polish declutter, I haven't actually sat down and talked about an individual nail polish like I used to do on my blog. When I first started blogging, nail polish posts were some of my favourites to both read and write about. So, I thought it would be fun to share with you the current nail polish I'm wearing, and that's the Sally Hansen Color Therapy polish in the shade Blushed Petal.

I picked up this nail polish in Priceline sometime last year when I was looking for something more neutral to wear. My first impressions on this nail polish were that I liked the wide brush and the colour was pretty. After applying one coat, I was a little surprised as to how sheer it actually looked. Applying the second coat was underwhelming as you could still see my nail underneath and I wasn't necessarily wanting a sheer nail polish, just a neutral one. BUT, turns out I actually like how it looks with one or two coats. It's the perfect 'my nails but better' shade, my nails look fresh, healthy and slightly glossy. Sometimes I wear one or two coats if I want that kind of look, and if I want a more opaque finish I add a third coat and I love how it looks. Three coats can be a hassle with some nail polishes, but I don't struggle at all with this one. I find that the formula dries fairly quick if you do three thin coats, and by the third coat you can't see the nail underneath unless you seriously inspect it.

The colour itself is a lovely soft salmon pink. I couldn't quite capture the true colour of the polish in the images. It looks more orange toned in the photos, but in real like the polish is actually more on the pink side whilst still being fairly neutral. This is what I reach for when I feel like keeping it simple but fresh and put together.

The Color Therapy range is formulated with argan oil, which is supposed to improve your natural nails with regular wear. Personally, I didn't notice any drastic improvement from wearing this nail polish. (But something that seriously improved the strength and overall health of my nails was these vitamins, no difference in hair or skin but my nails actually improved greatly!)

Generally, I can get about a week of wear from this nail polish without any chipping. However, after a few days if I look closely it seems like the nail polish kind of starts to fade on the tips. This is without a base or top coat. What I like about this particular polish is that when it begins to chip or look a bit worn, it's not so noticeable, compared to when I wear a deeper shade or something with more colour.

Overall, I really enjoy wearing this nail polish on a regular basis. Even though when I first tried it I was underwhelmed, turned out I liked having a nail polish like this.


Fitness and Lifestyle Favourites

Hello lovely! Today I am sharing my fitness and lifestyle favourites, which I do not believe I have done before on my blog. I've always kept it mostly about beauty and skincare with a few lifestyle posts. But I want to start doing more health and fitness related posts as well because it's something I enjoy doing on a daily basis in my everyday life. I'm not a professional but I like trying out new things and seeing what works for me. In this post, I'll be sharing with you some of my favourite things in relation to fitness and lifestyle!

Cotton On Crop Bra
I'll be very honest and say that I am much more motivated to workout when I have gym wear that is both comfortable and cute. This sports bra from Cotton On is my favourite one out of my entire wardrobe. I really like the colouring and pattern on it! It's also super comfortable to wear and sits well on me. My sister doesn't like to wear these types of sports bras because she has a larger bust and says that she needs more support. For me, however, because I literally have the smallest bust ever I find these fit perfectly. They also have removable cups so they are easy to wash, just throw them straight in the laundry. There is no underwire in these either so there's no uncomfortable poking anywhere. I couldn't find this exact one online but I still linked their other crop bras!

Rockwear Tights
Okay, so up until the beginning of last year I never understood why people would spend so much money on gym clothes. Every time I looked at the prices at Lorna Jane or Rockwear I thought the prices were just ridiculous. But the more into fitness I got, the more I started buying gym clothes. I used to wear the Kmart and Big W tights. I think they're fine, nothing wrong with them at all. But then I tried the Cotton On tights and they felt much nicer to wear. They were also a bit cuter in my opinion. The prices are obviously more than Kmart and Big W but I thought they were still affordable and nicer to wear. Then towards the middle-end of last year, I bought a pair of Rockwear tights on sale for $40 and oh my goodness there was such a difference in quality! I have since started purchasing my tights from Rockwear, they don't have loose spots that kind of sit weird and they are definitely squat proof (of course I wear black underwear every time just incase.) The material is so much nicer and now I can see why some people spend a little more of gym wear. Rockwear very often has sales and I just recently purchased two tops there that I also love. I still think $80 for a pair of tights is too much, but when they're $40 I've decided that I am okay with paying that price. That might be expensive for some people and super cheap for others. I think it totally depends on where you personally want to spend your money, and that is different for everyone, which is okay! I still shop at Cotton On because I like their gym clothes and they're not overly pricey at all.

Tropeaka Powders
I discovered Tropeaka through one of my favourite YouTubers, Sarah's Day, who I mentioned in my 'Blogs and Channels I Love' post. I used her code (check out her description box below her recent videos to find it, wasn't sure if I could share it here or not) to get %15 off. They also have free shipping in Australia for orders over $45. But they do ship worldwide too! I purchased the Vanilla Lean protein and the Cacao powder. My favourite is the Vanilla Lean protein but I add a teaspoon or less of the Cacao powder if I feel like something a bit more chocolatey. I wasn't sure what to expect with these powders because even though I trust what Sarah says, everyone is different and won't like the same things. But I actually liked these better than I thought I would. These are by the way sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free! There are more things to this list but it's different for each powder, the main things for me are that they're free of dairy and sugar. The Vanilla Lean is also a pea protein, not whey so that may be better to digest for a lot of people, including myself. I'll be sharing some of my favourite recipes soon and I'll probably do a more detailed post (maybe)! They also sent me a 15% discount code for my next purchase, which was super nice!

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Now, this is not fitness related but it is lifestyle related. I mentioned this book in my 'University Thoughts & November Goals' post, but I never updated on how my goals went! Reading a novel (which happened to be this one) was a goal of mine because I hadn't read a book in such a long time. I finished this ages ago but I still want to include it because I absolutely loved it. I've always enjoyed reading crime novels and this psychological thriller was incredibly difficult to put down.

I don't feel like I am great at explaining stories so I won't really go into the plot. But to put it briefly, the story of Dark Places is a very complex mystery that had me hooked. There are so many times where I thought I had solved it before the character does, but just when I thought I had it, another turn is revealed. There are so many twists in the storyline and at the end of the story, my mind didn't know what to think. I knew that the book was amazing, but I just didn't know what to think next if that makes sense. In the beginning, I actually didn't like the main character, she was mean, violent and selfish. But throughout the book, I came to understand her, not necessarily agree with her but I understood her mind.

I really enjoyed writing about something a bit different on my blog and definitely plan on continuing to share more posts related to this kind of lifestyle in the future. Of course, I'll still be writing about beauty and skincare because I love that too! What are your recent lifestyle favourites?