Monday, June 6, 2016

Always Writing, Never Blogging



Hi everyone,

So you may have notice things have gotten a little quiet around the blog and I'm here to let you know that things are probably going to stay that way until September. I'm officially writing my doctoral thesis, which means turning three years of experiments in the lab into basically a book. I started in the middle of May and am hoping to submit my thesis to my examiners by September/Octoberr, so it's going to be an intense few months. There will be tears, there may be blood. I'm really scared, but I'm also really excited to turn my work into a complete story that will (hopefully!) earn me my degree. So I want to apologize in advance for not making blogging a priority. My breaks from working are going to revolve mainly around meals (if I don't eat them at my keyboard) and sleep. I may pop around and blog a bit to blow off some steam, but I'm not going to plan anything. I know this will make me lose readers and traffic and crumble my stats, but I don't really care. I'm making myself a priority. And I hope that some of you may still be around when I finish.

In addition to not updating my blog, there probably won't be a lot of updates on my Whimsy Is Forever social media pages. If you are interested in seeing what I actually get up to over the next few months, you can check out my personal/chemistry twitter account, @lauravlaeren, where I'll be posting most of my daily updates.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Project Pan 91 - 104

If you've been around the blog world for a while, you probably have come across a Project Pan series or two before (you can read past blog posts here). For those who don't know what Project Pan is, this is what it is about: basically, you go on a no-buy or low-buy until you use up the things you already have. I'm sure everyone has experienced that point where your bathroom or vanity is overfull of half-empty products, and yet you keep on buying more. The idea behind Project Pan is to (a) finish using the products you already own (or, if you hate them, throw them out!) and (b) not buy products that you already have. So I will be repurchasing things I finish, or buying things that I still need, but no more wasting money on things I already have in my collection. 

I popped into Lush last week quickly to get a new solid shampoo bar and a bath bomb (small splurge for my no-buy) and it reminded me that it's been forever since I included my used Lush items in a Project Pan post (you can read my last Lush Project Pan post here). So here goes...


91. Holly Golightly Bubble Bar
This Christmas bubble bar had a deliciously spicy scent - think of all the best Christmas spices! I'd held back on using this one until winter was here, just knowing that those spices would be perfect for a cold winter's night! This bubble bar is massive, I cut it in half but you could probably stretch it further. The inside was bright green, which coloured the water, the glitter gave the bath a festive shimmer and it produced mountains of bubbles that held the scent. The scent was strong without being overpowering.
Will I repurchase? Yes, this was the second year that I bought this bar and I still love it!


92. Intergalactic Bath Ballistic
Just look at that! I'm totally addicted to this ballistic.  It's so gorgeous to watch, the scent is amazing (rather unisex too, so great if you don't like the floral/fruity ones). Plus you end up with turquoise water filled with fine glitter. What more could you want?
Will I repurchase? Yes! (Although a dear friend got me one for my birthday that's waiting for a rainy day first!)


93. The Experimenter Bath Ballistic.
This one was fun to watch dissolve, but the end result from those colours mixing is a pale lavender grey bath water that's not super exciting or attractive.
Will I repurchase? No.


94. Shoot for the Stars Bath Ballistic
This Christmas ballistic is one of my all-time faves. It's so damn pretty, both to watch dissolve and the final product. And it smells heavenly!
Will I repurchase? Yes! Again, this is one I got for the last two Christmasses.


95. Golden Wonder Bath Ballistic
ALL TIME FAVE! The turquoise water, the gold dust, the golden stars, the citrus scent - it's just amazing!
Will I repurchase? Yes - I think this was my 5th Golden Wonder?!


96. Bar Humbug Bubble Bar
This was a new offering for Christmas 2015 and as it was liquorice scented, I just had to try it! The aniseed scent was just up my alley, and it gave the water a beautiful maroon shade with mountains of bubbles.
Will I repurchase? Yes indeed.


97. Peeping Santa Bubble Bar
Another new one from the Christmas line last year. He made lots of bubbles and made the water lovely and soft, but was relatively underwhelming by Lush standards.
Will I repurchase? Probably not.


98. Karma Bubble Bar
If you haven't seen this pyrimidal bubble bar, definitely go seek it out! The bar itself is gorgeous and has Lush's famous Karma scent. The water becomes this beautiful deep purple with swirling gold dust and heaps upon heaps of bubbles. You really feel like a queen in this bath!
Will I repurchase? Yes!


99. Twilight Bath Ballistic
(Forgive the blurry photo, my phone's battery was dying and wouldn't let me take any more photos.) One of Lush's long standing bath ballistics with a relaxing lavender scent.
Will I repurchase? No. This is my 2nd one as I wanted to give it another shot, but I was thoroughly underwhelmed by this bland ballistic.


100. Sex Bomb Bath Ballistic
A nice scent and pretty pink water, but maybe my expectations were just too high to enjoy this one?
Will I repurchase? No.


101. Space Girl Bath Ballistic
I was rather disappointed with this one. It had trouble dissolving (it immediately sank to the bottom of the bath and just sat there?) and the scent dissipated very quickly.
Will I repurchase? No, but I think it's discontinued anyway. (Maybe by this point it's sounding like I'm a very hard woman to please, haha!)



102. Phoenix Rising Bath Ballistic
A rich, intensely spiced bath ballistic that was just jam packed with shimmer. I'm sad this one got discontinued!
Will I repurchase? If they ever bring it back, for sure.


103.  Blackberry Bath Bomb
This is a no-frills bomb from the early days of Lush, but I really like it. The scent is uncomplicated, the water goes a pretty purple and you can even coax some bubbles out of it.
Will I repurchase? Yes.


104. Karma Komba Shampoo Bar
And finally a non-bath product and the reason for this post! I love Lush shampoo bars and I'm sad that this one is discontinued! If you're looking for a new shampoo and haven't tried solid shampoo before, definitely give it a try!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Superbalist Winter Wishlist

Superbalist always has a fascinating collection and this winter's selection is no exception, including a vast collection of boots, dresses and jackets. They asked me to put together an outfit that I'd love to wear this winter.

I headed straight to the dress section, because as you may know, I'm obsessed with dresses and have basically worn nothing else this year. (So far in 2016 I have 3 days of wearing trousers, the rest is all dresses!) People tend to give the dresses a skip in winter, but I love them all year round: the key is in layering and in choosing the right fabrics for the season. My eyes were soon drawn to this beautiful knitwear dress. On it's own, perfect for those cool but not cold winter days. When the mercury drops, just add a pair of warm tights (like these ones) or some cute knee-high socks and pull on a scarf or a warm fuzzy sweater.




In terms of boots, 2016 is definitely all about the ankle boot. I'm particularly drawn to Chelsea-style boots, so I'd add a pair of these.



When it comes to dressing for Cape Town winter, layering is absolutely key as we have a tendency to experience mulitple seasons in one day! One thing you have to keep an eye out for though is the rain. (I LOVE our rainy winters but I know others aren't on my side!) This is where an actual raincoat comes in handy - it keeps you nice and dry, plus the hood will keep your hair dry when the wind is too strong for an umbrella to cooperate! This one should do the job nicely, while still looking very stylish!





Monday, May 9, 2016

Adventures in Agulhas

This weekend, we did something a bit unusual and went away for a quick trip. On Saturday morning, some friends and I packed our bags and jumped in the car for a journey to Agulhas. The wind was absolutely howling on Saturday and it was decidedly grey, so we mostly sat inside around the heater, looking at the view, and laughed and drank wine in our pajamas (ah, the comforts of being old friends!) before starting the fire, having some cheese platters and eating braai food until we physically couldn't anymore. Luckily on Sunday morning the sun came out so we braved the winds for a visit to the Southernmost Tip of Africa before breakfast and our roadtrip back home. (So we could all visit our mums for Mother's Day!) All in all it was an excellent mini-break, just what the doctor ordered!

Agulhas (or L'Agulhas, if you wish) is a coastal town that is the southernmost settlement in Africa situated at 34°49′20″S 20°1′0″E. (200 km by car from Stellenbosch.) The southernmost tip of continental Africa is called Cape Agulhas. At this point, the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet

If you were wondering about the odd name, "Agulhas" is Portuguese for "needles" - apparently the Portuguese sailors going around here about 500 years ago noticed that at Cape Agulhas, a compass needle will point due north with no magnetic deviation (normally magnetic north is not the same as true north). 

The Agulhas Lighthouse is the second oldest working lighthouse in South Africa and was first lit in 1849. The coast around Cape Agulhas has taken many ships, with maybe 150 shipwrecks around it as a result of the rough seas and ragged reefs.(Nerd alert: did you know you can get lists of shipwrecks off the government's website?)


cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa
 

cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa
  
cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa

cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa

cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa

cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa

cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa

cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa

cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa


cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa

cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa

cape agulhas l'agulhas lighthouse southernmost point of africa struisbaai



Friday, May 6, 2016

Project Pan 69 - 90

If you've been around the blog world for a while, you probably have come across a Project Pan series or two before. (Previous posts can be found here.) For those who don't know what Project Pan is, this is what it is about: basically, you go on a no-buy or low-buy until you use up the things you already have. I'm sure everyone has experienced that point where your bathroom or vanity is overfull of half-empty products, and yet you keep on buying more. The idea behind Project Pan is to (a) finish using the products you already own (or, if you hate them, throw them out!) and (b) not buy products that you already have. So I will be repurchasing things I finish, or buying things that I still need, but no more wasting money on things I already have in my collection. Bonus: who doesn't find empties posts deeply satisfying on some level?


69. Batiste Strength and Shine Dry Shampoo
Will I repurchase? Probably not. This dry shampoo did make my hair look nice and shiny instead of dull, but it didn't have quite the grease-banishing power of the original.

70. Batiste Original Dry Shampoo
Will I repurchase? Yes - I always keep coming back to this done. Does what it needs to with no added frills.

71. Garnier Micellar Water
Will I repurchase? Yes I did, as soon as this one was finished. It's almost exactly as good as my beloved Bioderma one but at a fraction of the price, so yay!

72 + 73. Nivea Light Moisturizing Day Cream
Will I repurchase? Yes  (clearly!) - this is my go-to budget moisturizer and I normally have one at home and in my overnight bag at all times. (Tip: these squeeze tubes normally leave quite a bit of product behind, so when you can't physically squeeze out another drop, cut off the top and scoop the rest out with a foundation brush for a bonus application or two.)

74. Moroccanoil Oil Treatment (sample size)
Will I repurchase? Yes, this  stuff is worth every penny and a teeny drop goes a long way. I actually have a full size version of the Light Oil Treatment and love it dearly, but might try the original next now that I'm no longer a blonde and my hair is longer.


75.  Maybelline Great Lash Mascara
Will I repurchase? Yes, I've been using this one since high school. I picked up a new one recently (my first make-up purchase of the year, pretty good going on the low-buy!).

76. Maybelline The Rocket Mascara
Will I repurchase? Yes, this is my 3rd or 4th tube of this one, but until I start earning again I'll be sticking to the cheaper options.

77. Garnier BB Cream in Light for Oily/Combination Skin
Will I repurchase? Yes, this is a great everyday base product. I hated the original (far, far too oily/greasy) but this one is "just right".

78. Essence Eye Shadow Brush + 79. Essence Smokey Eye Brush
Will I repurchase? No. Getting rid of these because the bristles are stiff and scratchy.

80. Lash Grip Eyelash Adhesive
Will I repurchase? No, I no longer wear false eyelashes often enough to need a full-sized eyelash glue. Throwing this one out because I haven't used it in a year and it's gone squiffy.

81. Wet n Wild H2O Proof Liquid Liner in Black
Will I repurchase? Maybe. Wasn't blown away by this one but for it's price it's not bad.

82. Stila Smudge Stick in Gilded
Will I repurchase? Yes - it's expensive but it's just so gorgeous! The colour is this beautiful metallic golden bronze and it's just perfect swiped along upper lash lines with neutral eyeshadows.

83. Essence Kajal Pencil in White
Will I repurchase? No. Somewhere along the line I went to a lot of fancy dress parties that needed costume makeup and I ended up with not one but two white eye pencils that I'll never use, so I gave one away and am chucking this cheaper one that's just taking up space.

84. Essence Brow Pencil in Blonde
Will I repurchase? Sort of. I repurchased this in Dark Brown when I left my natural colour behind last year. (But now I know I'm not going back to blonde for a long, long time so it's time to chuck this one.)


85. Woolworths Energy Handwash
Will I repurchase? Yes - this is one of my favourite scent lines that Woolies makes.

86. Cutex Nail Polish Remover
Will I repurchase? Yes - this is my favourite polish remover, it gets the job done fast.

87. Lush Flying Fox (sample size)
Will I repurchase? No, although I thought I would based on the description, I didn't really enjoy this scent.

88. Lush Ultrabland (sample size)
Will I repurchase? Yes - I really enjoyed using this cleanser, especially when followed with a hot face cloth! I'd definitely get the full size product when I can afford it.

89. Lush Angels on Bare Skin (sample size) (not pictured)
Will I repurchase? No - unlike the Ultrabland cleanser which I loved, I did not enjoy using this cleanser. It felt weird and awkward, it smelled weird and it didn't do anything for my skin.

90. Montagne Jeunesse Cucumber Peel-Off Face Masque
Will I repurchase? Yes - this is a good one for cleansing skin that's feeling a little congested. (I normally pick these up on Click's 3-for-2 specials.)