Thursday, 31 March 2016

Birthday Giveaway: CATRICE Makeup Hamper

As you may have seen, this month it was both my birthday and my blog's birthday, yay! To share the love, that means it's giveaway time to say thank you to you, my readers! It's now time for the 3rd, and final, giveaway. 

Our final giveaway for the month includes all the CATRICE makeup goodies below! I love CATRICE products, they offer such a wide range of good quality products that are also super budget-friendly! (As a bonus, for all you ethically-minded makeup lovers, they don't test on animals.) You can see all my past blog posts on CATRICE products by clicking here. But first, on to the giveaway!

This amazing hamper includes the following:
Absolute Rose Eyeshadow Palette
Jet Lash Speed Volume Mascara in Ultra Black
Ultra Stay & Gel Shine Base Coat
Ultra Stay & Gel Shine Top Coat
Ultimate Nail Lacquer in A Gallon of Melon
Luminous Lips in Wood Rose Propose?
Prime and Fine Eyeshadow Base
Allround Cover Stick in Nude
12h Matt Mousee Makeupp in Light Beige
Absolute Eye Colour in My Mermint
Absolute Eye Colour in Li-La Bamba
Velvet Matt Smokey Eyes Pencil in Avokhaki
Made to Stay Inside Eye Khol Kajal in Come Black and Stay

All you need to do to enter is use the widget below! The only compulsory entry is to leave a comment on this blog post, but as always you can earn extra entries on social media!
Giveaway is limited to South African residents.

Update: And the winner is:

Terms and Conditions apply

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Manicures and Chick Flicks

Morgan Taylor Nail Lacquer in Tropical Punch

This weekend I was treated to a special day with some of my girlfriends as part of my birthday celebrations. I was picked up and whisked away to Rouge Day Spa. They had booked the "Chick Flick" package, which meant that the three of us got manicures, along with lounging on the comfy couch with glasses of bubbly, bowls of popcorn and a movie - for us, Bridget Jones' Diary, which I love!! All in all, it was a lovely way to spend some time with my girls! Everyone at the spa was lovely and friendly, and my manicure was top-notch.  (An extra advantage of sitting and watching a movie during/after your mani is that it has time to dry properly, so no smudging your polish 5 minutes after leaving the salon!) While I'm normally drawn to jewel tones, I decided to try something different for me and go with a classic bright Barbie pink!

Monday, 21 March 2016

[Closed] Birthday Giveaway: Beautiful skin with REN

As you may have seen, it was recently both my birthday and my blog's birthday, yay! To share the love, that means it's giveaway time to say thank you to you, my readers! Let's look at what today's giveaway includes - a trio of skincare heroes from my favourite skincare brand, REN!

I've never met a REN product I didn't love. Their products are simple and effective, and a pleasure to use. REN uses only 100% plant and mineral derived actives and is free from skin-unfriendly synthetic ingredients (for the long list, see here). You can see my past blog posts on REN products by clicking here (but first read the rest of this post!).

Now for the exciting part: one lucky person is going to get a parcel containing the following (valued at >R 1300).

REN Rose Centifolia Foaming Cleanser | Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream | Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask

Rose Centifolia Foaming Cleanser
Rosa Centifolia™ is a range of gentle yet effective cleansers based on a unique 100% natural Rose Extract Complex that tones, softens and soothes your skin while cleansing. It is suitable for all skin types.
This product is a gentle, detergent free foaming cleanser infused with Rose Extracts that removes grime and make up in one stroke. Results: Gently removes dirt, pollution and make up. Balances, tones and soothes. Tightens pores.

Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream
The Vita Mineral™ range is focused on hydrating, nourishing and replenishing the skin and giving it everything it needs to stay healthy and hydrated. The range includes the Vita Mineral™ Daily Supplement Moisturiser and the Vita Mineral™ Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil, designed to strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier while re-energising skin cell activity.
This product is a multi-active day cream that replenishes the skin with moisture and vital nutrients. Results: Hydrates, replenishes and nourishes. Skin looks toned, glowing and healthy.

Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask
REN’s stand out Radiance Range has been formulated to reveal a renewed, revived and radiant complexion. It will also keep skin energised and fit. And, because it’s Clean, REN’s Radiance Range really does mean radiant skin is healthy skin. 
This mask is one of my "holy grail" products that I'm never going to be without, ever! It's a potent bio active peel mask designed to renew the complexion, reduce the appearance of fine lines and dramatically improve skin tone. Results: Skin looks brighter, healthier, more radiant. Helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Combats congestion, blackheads and blemishes.

All you need to do to enter is use the widget below! The only compulsory entry is to leave a comment on this blog post, but as always you can earn extra entries on social media!

Giveaway is limited to South African residents.

Update: And the winner is:

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Autumn mornings

It seems that the season of Autumn is upon us. The days are still warm, but not the insane weeks of >35 °C heat. The mornings and evenings are cooling down, and the wind carries a bit of chill. The first of the leaves have started changing colour - elsewhere people look at trees, but here I always notice it first in the vineyards.

Autumn is my favourite time of year (maybe because I was born on 1 March, "Autumn Day" if 1 September is "Spring Day"). I've loved this summer and all of it's sundresses and bikinis and cocktails, but there is just something so comforting about the slightly cooler weather. 

I love cozy sweaters and mugs of hot chocolate, and big glasses of red wine in the evenings. I love the changing leaves and watching them on the wind as they fall off the trees. I love curling up with a blanket and a good book or few, or sitting and crocheting or knitting. I love warm comfort food balancing out the crisp air.

Who's with me on Autumn being the best?

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Plum Polkadots

(forgive the lack of cuticle clean-up - apparently I forget to do it after I've had some wine!)

I did this quick nail look on Friday evening. I had gotten the two polishes for my birthday from my Mom, and I was keen to try some of the goodies I got from Nail Candi.

The main polish is Serendipity from Essence. It it the absolutely most perfect grey-purple and I am in LOVE! I can see myself wearing this polish non-stop! It's paired with a lovely plum called Amazed By You (also from Essence). My mom suggested that it would look lovely dotted over Serendipity so I had to try it!

I used my new dotting tool set from Nail Candi (buy it here) - I love the range of sizes! This meant I could pick just the right size dotting tool to scale the polka dots to the nail - so from my thumbs to my pinkies, each nail has exactly five dots, all perfectly to scale.  I topped it off with a coat of the Nail Art Sealer (get it here).

For a bit of fun, I also added a sparkly nail jewel bow (get it here) to the corner of my accent nail. ( Since this is something I definitely couldn't wear to work in the lab!)

If you like this look, don't forget to enter my giveaway - one lucky Whimsy Is Forever reader is going to get a hamper of Nail Candi goodies!

Friday, 4 March 2016

[Closed] Birthday Giveaway! Nail art goodies with NailCandi

If you love nail art, this blog post is for you! For my birthday, I was sent a lovely box of goodies from Nail Candi, a local online store that has every thing you need to make impressive-looking nail art as easy as can be! From nail art brush sets and dotting tools, to stickers, vinyls and nail charms, they have it all! (And, best of all, for a price you can afford!)

Here's a peak into what they sent me - I can't wait to play around this weekend and put together some looks! I'm especially looking forward to trying the nail art brushes (they're so soft and lovely, in every size and shape you could need!) and the cute little charms and stickers!

Here's the exciting part! Like what you see? One lucky Whimsy Is Forever reader is going to win an amazing hamper filled with nail art goodies! (just like mine!) 

All you need to do to enter is use the widget below! The only compulsory entry is to leave a comment on this blog post, but as always you can earn extra entries on social media!

Giveaway is limited to South African residents.

Update: And the winner is:

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

26 before 27


It's my birthday today!!

I'm still partly in denial about turning 27 as I'm particularly feeling my age this year but hey...

Every year I try and put together a list of things I want to do that year. Some are trivial, some are meaningful, some are brand new things I want to do, some are things I want to do more or less of. The idea is to pick as many things as your age that year, so in this case, 26 things I wanted to do while I was still 26. And, as I put this post together, I'm quite impressed at how 26 went. Here's hoping 27 is even better!

Here is my list of 26 things that I wanted to do before I turned 27.

1. Crochet a full-sized blanket
Done! Blog post here.
handmade crochet blanket neutral earth tones

2. Learn to cross-stitch
Done! Blog post here.
cross stitch beginner learn nordic pattern

3. Learn to knit
Done! Well, just! My mom started teaching me to knit weekend-before-last and I'm joining her (and her coworkers) in knitting scarves for local children.
learn to knit

4. Cook a 4-course meal for my friends
Done! I had a few of my best friends over for a Christmas dinner at the end of last year and tried my hand at cooking a formal gourmet dinner (and season appropriate - no gross traditional food, only fresh summery goodness!).
christmas dinner party

5. Go cherry picking
Done! Blog post here
cherry picking

6. Wear dresses more often
Done! In fact, after realizing I had only worn dresses for the first 10 days of 2016, I tried to see how far I could go - and I went through January and February, wearing a dress every single day! Now that the cooler weather is coming I may pull out my jeans again, but I'm sure as hell going to continue to live the dress life (which means enjoying all my long-sleeved dresses!) (Although note to self: check the wind forecast before deciding which dress to wear!)
waterfront table mountain cape town dress

7. Donate blood at least twice
I registered to donate blood just before my birthday last year and managed to donate blood three times since, yay! (As often as WP Blood came to the varsity.) Now to keep it up every year.
donate blood

8. Try feuerzangenbowle
Before you say "wtf?", here's a wiki link. My dad used to do this with his friends when I was a kid and I wanted to give it a go for my own. Basically, you make a pot of mulled wine, suspend a sugarloaf over it, soak the sugarloaf in rum and set it on fire, letting the molten goodness drip into the wine. You end up with the greatest winter drink of all time, plus an evening's entertainment. New winter tradition set - highly recommended!

9. Go to a university formal dance
Yeah, in my 9th year of tertiary study during my 4th degree, I went to a uni formal! A few friends and I went to the Science Faculty's Senior Dance. Admittedly, by "senior" they mean final year undergraduates and honours students, but we decided to take that literally and be the most senior people there.
science faculty ball formal dance

10. Learn to play poker
Done! Got a few friends together for a "poker night", where one of my friends taught us the basics of how to play Texas Hold 'Em! And we also learnt that we are too old to drink a bottle of gin and a bottle of vodka between five people on a week night. Hangovers are the primary reason getting old sucks.
playing card rose fascinator

11. Surpass 150 000 blog page views

12. Dye my hair dark
After three years of bright blonde, and a two year process of growing out that blonde, I finally had long hair that was entirely uncoloured and unprocessed. I've always been a bit bored by my natural dark blonde/ light brown colour so I went back to dyeing it dark and I'm loving it!
long dark straight hair

13. Start drinking fresh-pressed juice
I never used to drink fruit juice, not since I was a toddler. I've always preferred to drink water (I don't even drink fruity cocktails). Lately however, the availability of fresh-pressed juices at farmers markets has made me curious. My current fave is lemon and apple with a heavy dose of ginger. I also like beetroot juices, again with lots of ginger. I like that these juices are not sugary sweet, now to try my hand at green juice!
fresh juice lemon

14. Don't drink coffee
I stopped drinking coffee when I went on anti-anxiety meds in December 2014 and after three months, I realized I didn't miss it anymore. For someone who could drink 6-8 cups of coffee a day, that's a big deal. I decided to try quitting coffee permanently - and since then I've had a total of 1 cup of coffee the entire year! (When a coworker made a cup for me as a "thank you" and I felt it would be rude to say no.) I no longer crave a cup of coffee to be functional in the mornings, I no longer have shaky hands in the lab and I have significantly fewer panic/anxiety attacks, even though I haven't take meds since March!

15. Walk 5km every day
One of my main goals for this year was to be more active instead of spending my whole day sitting at my desk. I started using an activity tracker on my phone and, after calibrating it, have used it every day for a year. I haven't quite been able to get to 10 000 steps every day, but I'm getting there. Averaging from 1 March last year, I've walked an average of 5.13 km a day so yay! (In daily activity - not once did I put on a pair of takkies and go for a walk/jog/run. Maybe that's how to step it up for next year once the PhD is over...)

16. Continue to grow my hair out to at least mid-back (55 cm from crown of head)
Done! I've always been a bob / above the shoulders girl when it comes to my hair and it's been a bit fun experimenting with long hair. I'm now at 60cm from crown to ends and am in need of a slight trim before trying to waist length.

17. Start scrapbooking or smashbooking
Done! After years of failing to scrapbook, I decided to combine scrapbooking with journalling and to have a scrapbook-y journal. (Blog posts on this coming up soon! Just need to take the photos.)

18. Visit a new province of SA
Done! Ticked off Gauteng and Mpumalanga. Only North West and Limpopo to go...

19. Visit the Kruger National Park
Done! A blog post on my first visit is here.
kruger national park elephants

20. Minimize clutter of excess products with Project Pan - try pan 100 products in one year
Done! I got rid of at least 50 products (unused things to charity, swatched/barely used makeup to friends) and I started Project Pan, blog posts on that here.

21. Read at least one book a week
Done! I read 78 books in the last year.

22. Finalize my retention of nationality paperwork
Done! And in advance of the deadline (my 28th birthday, ie 10 years after turning 19) too!

23. Give a lecture on social media
Done! I gave a lecture on using Twitter as a scientist (and building your online identity) in the Stellenbosch University JS Gericke Library as part of Research Week 2015!

24. Stay up all night
I'm not a night owl. I can't sleep past 7am and if I don't get my 7-8 hours sleep I don't function as a human being. But for one crazy night, I stayed up all night with my friends and it was awesome. And then when I crashed at 5:30am, it took me 36 hours to return to normality. (Again, hangovers suck.) But the memories were worth it.

25. Attend a hot yoga class
In the nick of time, I did this last night! (A group of 4 of us went as moral support for each other!) And, now I know that, although I love yoga, hot yoga is not for me. The yoga itself was fine but the high heat/humidity combined with my low blood pressure (~90/60) isn't for me. But, I survived, I sweated it out and now I'll be sticking to yoga at ambient conditions (like, in my pajamas in my bedroom ;) haha!).

26. Finish my PhD
Sadly, this one wasn't done on time as - between struggling with depression and anxiety, and the fact that sometimes no matter how hard you try some experiments just don't work - I haven't quite gotten enough research done to write a thesis yet. But hopefully I should be done in the lab in a month or so, and then I can start writing up so I should be done this year, finally! Look for this one on my list next year!