Monday, 30 November 2015

The start of the Christmas season!

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, so this weekend we set up our Christmas trees and decked the entire house in festivity! Christmas is always my favourite time of the year, and I take great joy in getting the house ready. We have two main Christmas trees in our house - a really big one in the dining room and a slightly smaller one in the family room. (Both artificial thanks to some nasty allergies to the real deal.) It normally takes us an entire day to set up our festive decorations, the majority of which is in preparing the trees. I get slightly obsessed with making them "perfect" with everything as evenly distributed as possible. (Oh, and this is our large tree, if you are also obsessed with really full, beautiful Christmas trees!)

A photo posted by Laura vL (@lauravlaeren) on



A photo posted by Laura vL (@lauravlaeren) on

Friday, 27 November 2015

Project Pan 36 - 52

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?

Today's post features a preliminary clean-up of my makeup collection. I have a terrible habit of finishing something like mascara and then never chucking it out. Another bad habit: realising something is almost finished, buying a new one, and then getting excited about the new one and leaving the almost-finished old one lying on the shelf forever.


36. Hey Gorgeous Pure Intense Volume Mascara
Will I repurchase? No.

37. Essence Stays No Matter What Mascara
Will I repurchase? No.

38. Essence Multi Action Waterproof Mascara
Will I repurchase? No.

39. Maybelline The Rocket Mascara
Will I repurchase? Yes, I just have.

40 + 41. L'Oreal False Lash Wings Mascara
Will I repurchase? Yes (clearly! haha), I love this mascara, just wish it was a tad cheaper.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Essence Merry Berry Trend Edition

As soon as I saw the first photos of this collection, I knew I had to buy it. (1) I'm a total nut for everything Christmas (2) Berry shades are very much my thing at the moment and (3) It's absolutely drop-dead gorgeous! I popped into Clicks yesterday and saw that the collection had finally hit the shelves so I popped a few *cough* things into my shopping basket. (You can view the full collection here.) I mean, look at it! All that gold and berry colours - it's just sexy!

essence merry berry trend edition

The only items I didn't buy were the two eyeshadow singles (because I've bought 3 Stila eyeshadow palettes recently and I honestly don't need any more eyeshadows for the next decade or so) and the hair fragrance. Now onto the things I did buy:

First up: the shimmery things. I couldn't resist getting the Highlighter Powder in "01 I love my golden pumps" (R63.50) - it's a soft, warm, subtle highlighter that blends easily and the star pattern is just so pretty! I also couldn't not get the Scented Gold Dust Powder (also "01 I love my golden pumps") just based on the packaging alone - how stunning is the little gold bottle with atomizer?! This gold dust will be perfect for Christmas and New Year's parties - it's shimmery but not glittery and oh-so pretty. The scent is quite subtle and elegant, with overtones of vanilla. (Apply after your body lotion to help it stay on your skin for longer.)

Next up: the lipsticks. As you should now by now, I go nuts for berry lipsticks so I had to grab all three (and at R44.50 each, it didn't break the bank). The darkest shade, "01 let's the berry-tales begin" is a lovely rich plum. In the middle is "02 pink & perfect" is a bright raspberry pink. Both of these have a satin finish. Finally, the more matt offering is "03 red rocks", a lovely cherry red. All three feel soft and comfortable on the lips. I'm wearing "03 red rocks" today and it's not incredibly long lasting but I did get about 3 hours wear before having to reapply after my midmorning tea.

essence merry berry trend edition lipsticks swatches

The final items I got were the nailpolishes. I wasn't originally going to get them all, but then I realised I hadn't bought new polish in several months so I decided to treat myself. All five polishes were R38.95 each. From left to right:

"01 the masked ball" -  a dark grey-violet, very sophisticated
"02 purple with purpose" - a bright metallic purple
"03 pink & perfect" - a rich berry pink
"04 red rocks" - a bright raspberry

And finally, the glitter top coat (1 coat over "01 the masked ball")
"01 i ♥ my golden pumps" - a clear polish with gold flakes of assorted sizes.

I was very impressed with the quality of the polishes, with full opacity in 2 coats(most of them could probably pass as one-coaters if you are careful about brush strokes). They apply evenly and dry quickly. And, of course, the little bottles are just beautiful!

essence merry berry trend edition nailpolish swatches

So that's it for the Merry Berry Trend Edition. What are your thoughts? Is there anything particular you like?



Thursday, 12 November 2015

Retailbox Secret Box #19


Retail Box's "Secret Boxes" have become famous for their value-for-money and box #19* was no exception, with R590 worth of products for only R270! If you're lucky, there may be a few boxes left, so if you like what you see here, go check out their site here to buy your box.

What did I think?
I've been using these products for just over a week and I am impressed. Firstly, the products smell lovely! Secondly, I was pleased to see that while my hair felt soft and conditioned after using this hair care system, I haven't experienced build-up or heaviness at the roots, something I often dislike about heavily conditioning products. The shampoo foams up gently and leaves my scalp clean but not dry or stripped. The conditioner leaves my hair feeling silky soft and makes detangling the work of seconds. I am also really liking the renewal spray - it makes my hair feel soft and look shiny and healthy without weighing it down.

Here's what Retail Box had to say:
RESTORE YOUR OVERPROCESSED HAIR with 90% more conditioned hair after one use. Awaken over processed hair with a system designed for moderately damaged hair to restore lost essentials. 
Formulas with Pro-Keratin and Silk provide continuous protein and moisture balance to the hair and lock it in.


Specially formulated to meet the needs of damaged and chemically-treated hair, Matrix Biolage Keratindose Shampoo (250ml) gently cleanses away excess oil and impurities, whilst the Pro Keratin and silk extract-enriched formula helps to soften, repair and moisturise your hair. With a creamy, gel-like consistency, the nourishing formula will leave your hair conditioned and smooth, with a silky soft texture and a luminous, healthy shine. Your locks will be rejuvenated and restored back to their former glory.




Specially formulated to meet the needs of damaged and chemically-treated hair, Matrix Biolage Keratindose Conditioner (250ml) effectively detangles your hair, whilst the Pro Keratin and silk extract-enriched formula helps to soften, repair and moisturise. With a creamy, luxurious consistency, the nourishing formula will leave your hair conditioned and smooth, with a silky soft texture and a luminous, healthy shine. Your locks will be restored and repaired, as well as being more manageable



 Say hello to super shiny hair with Matrix Biolage Keratindose Pro-Keratin Renewal Spray (200ml). A lightweight leave-in lotion, it's enriched with Pro-Keratin, which is an essential protein for building hair strength and resilience. Ideal for damaged and chemically treated hair, it improves your hair's shine and manageability, as well as targeting frizz and flyaways for a smooth and sleek finish. Your locks will be left strong and supple, as the powerful spray will leave your hair 90% more conditioned after just one use