Stem cell sunscreen from Dermaceutic, Double Wear Nude Water Fresh SPF 30 and a whole new mall

I’m playing catch up here because none of the above are hot off the press exactly, but they’re pretty newish and, well, new to me specifically this month. At the end of September a new mall opened around the corner from me, Table Bay Mall, which they managed to sneakily build without my even noticing until a week before opening day. Shows how happy I’ve been in la la land. So people on the West Coast finally have an H&M on their doorstep, just in time for updating summer wardrobes, not to mention a Dunkin Donuts for those who don’t care that their summer wardrobes will be a size bigger than last year. Woohoo!

The mall is really nicely done and a breath of fresh air (all we had before was Bayside Mall, the mall where you can get basically nothing) but irritatingly some shops like Cotton On, Typo and Baskin Robbins aren’t actually open yet and there is still a major lack of decent cosmetics counters. I did see the Woolworths had a Stila and a Smashbox, which is quite nice. Better than a smack in the face. Ten points for the awesome toilets though, and the walls around the lifts are giant video screens playing undersea and panoramic Cape Town views.

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Artist’s impression

Anyway, getting to the point, I recently ran out of foundation. I was looking for something new without having to schlep to Canal Walk for one of my favourites which aren’t available near at hand (hey Table Bay Mall, how about a Red Square at least?) and I happened upon a new iteration of Estee Lauder Double Wear, the Nude Water Fresh version with an SPF 30. Summer is around the corner after all, but more on the SPF front in a second. Excited to try it, I was a bit bummed when I got home and found they had given me the regular Double Wear in 2N1 desert beige, instead of the one I’d asked for. Not being a quitter I ordered the new one online along with some pump dispensers (more on that below). Apologies for the rubbish pictures, but frankly picture taking is one of the reasons I stopped blogging… I despise it.

 

If the regular Double Wear is like a black tie wedding then this version is like a lazy summer picnic. Last year around this time I did a review of the Double Wear Nude Cushion Stick which I really liked, except that I forgot it behind in a hotel over New Year. This is a thinner, more lightweight version of Double Wear but with a decent medium coverage. It’s less flat and matte and feels fresher on the skin. It takes longer to dry down but does. With the regular Double Wear I can feel it sitting on my face, whereas this version feels pretty weightless. It contains antioxidant red fruit extracts, including watermelon, lychee seed and apple, and costs R585, same as the regular Double Wear.

I was very excited to notice that the Estee Lauder online store now sells a pump for the Double Wear bottles, making life much easier. They are R50 on their online store. While it’s annoying that you have to pay extra for an essential part of the packaging, after so many years of trying to pour the foundation out of the bottle I was like, hell, I’ll take two! Which I did, as my regular Double Wear and my new Double Wear Nude now both have nice colour coordinated pumps.

 

Now, back to the summer and SPF theme. I’ve been using Dermaceutic for nearly two years now and my skincare shelf is basically one long line of Dermaceutic products from serums to moisturisers to mask to daily sunscreen. I really love the brand because they’re effective. As simple as that. They have a new formula of Sun Ceutic out, my everyday SPF50 sunscreen. The new version contains a stem cell stimulator, something I’ve never come across in a sunscreen before, as well as now being an SPF50+. Because Sun Ceutic also contains hyaluronic acid and aloe vera it’s really soothing and moisturizing and whenever my T-zone is going through an oily phase I use this in place of my moisturizer, and when my skin is feeling dry I use it on top of my moisturizer. Basically it offers high protection for all skin types as well as anti-aging benefits. I guess sunscreen by definition is ‘anti-aging’ since sun exposure is the biggest cause of premature skin aging, but this actually has a stem cell stimulator to, and I quote, “accelerate epidermal restoration and smooth out the appearance of wrinkles”. Bonus.

It uses micro mineral filters, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and doesn’t contain oxybenzone for anyone who is reactive to it (like me).  It does go on a bit white and scary for a second, but quickly goes transparent and absorbs. And it is great under makeup, but leaves me looking a little dewy-faced when I apply and run – which might be a consideration if you’re oily and don’t wear foundation. Long story short, if you’re looking for a new facial sunscreen that is going to be good for your skin, this one is totally worth considering. It’s R620 available from Conquest and lasts for a long time because one pump usually does my whole face. If you’re in Cape Town mail sam@conquest.co.za or Jo’burg you can contact Sonette Donker from Skin ID to get your hands on some.

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The Twitter logo is ironic, because without it you’re free as a bird

In 2017 I’ve taken “me time” to the extreme. I have lived a completely switched off and unplugged life this year and learnt some life lessons that were totally obvious before the internet age. I’ve also learned what to prioritize and rediscovered forgotten bits of my DNA. Here’s a quick summary of what I’ve been up to and where I’m headed. I still have mixed feelings on social media and blogging but my musings have been along these lines…

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1. You can have fun without photo-documenting the fact for the benefit of 2,000 people you have never met.

2. You don’t need to tell 2,000 people who you’ve never met what you are doing and how you are feeling several times a day. Twitter can be useful for things like real-time news, and even the Dalai Lama might have a Twitter account, but if you can’t happily leave it alone for 24 hours then you might need to take time off and think about that addiction. Gosh, it’s easy to be judgey in hindsight. 😛

3. A gift or a purchase gives you even more pleasure when you don’t need to arrange it artistically, add props, find the best lighting and then photograph it. Think about this carefully. It is actually completely bizarre behavior… for the benefit of 2,000 people you’ve never met.

4. Food tastes just as good when you don’t Instagram it before you eat it. It is a lot more social to share with the people who are at the table with you than share your meal with strangers on social media.

5. Real life includes leg shaving, dirty washing on the floor, that pesky stain on the carpet and siting in traffic. That’s perfectly okay. You don’t need to feel jealous that other people seem to have perfect interior design, wear perfectly coordinated outfits and sip constantly from coconut drinks on tropical island holidays. And if that’s you, why do you need to show off to 2,000 people who you don’t know?

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6. Nine times out of ten you start blogging because it’s fun, you like to write, and it is all about you… Then you end up becoming an advertising agency and spend all your time doing the silly things listed above.

7. Everyone is trying to sell you something. Blogs and social media tend to trap you in the bad habit of buying things you don’t need. Having said that, at some point you will need to buy things and it’s great to be able to make an informed choice. The key is reading unbiased reviews, which are few and far between in a world where “free” products from PR agencies create an obgligation.

8. If you’re not doing something for your own enjoyment, to earn money, or for your family and friends then ask yourself what your motivation actually is for doing it in the first place. For me blogging no longer fell into any of the above categories, which is why I took this year off and used my free time more wisely.

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9. Life isn’t about things, it is about experiences. I want to look back on a year just passed and think of all the fun I’ve had outdoors, not all the time I’ve spent sitting at a computer working on blog posts, or on my phone keeping up with social media feeds.

10. I’ve used my year off to do the things I used to love but forgot about and haven’t have time for in the past few years (since I became a mom and started blogging, two incredibly time consuming things). My daughter is at that typical pony mad stage which a lot of girls go through, which has reminded me that my phase never actually ended. I stopped riding for ten years while I got on with life, but now I’ve rediscovered it and it has been incredibly rewarding. Moo and I have been riding twice a week this year and not only is it something we can do together and bond over, but it’s a process of self improvement which is really satisfying. Horses, like dogs, don’t care if you’re dirty and makeup free – they want to be your friend anyway. Which is not something that can be said for Instagram.  At the grand old age of 35 I’m entering my first ever Prix Caprilli show next month (that’s like dressage with teeny jumps in it, FYI). I’m petrified but if I get a rosette I will… um, put it on Instagram *cough*.

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I might have burnt a lot of bridges this year by ignoring emails, not going to events and staying away from the plugged in world. But the life de-clutter and mental reset were totally worth it. I’m back, but on my own terms and in my own sweet time. I will get off my high horse now because I’m aware this blog post might come off a bit preachy, but life is too short… One day at the pearly gates St Peter is unlikely to ask you what your blog stats were.

Gingerbread Men

Nothing tastes quite like Christmas as much as gingerbread with all its Christmassy spices and scents! Not only is the end result worth every bite, but it is a fun activity to keep adults and kids alike occupied in the holidays. I made a batch this week and they turned out really well and made the whole house smell festive, so I thought I would share the recipe (it’s a keeper!).

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Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1teaspoons baking powder
  • 3teaspoon baking soda
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1cup golden or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add syrup, egg and vanilla;mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Divide dough into two and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours.

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  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface. The thicker the dough the softer the gingerbread men, the thinner the crispier. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with a cookie cutter and place on a baking bray  (they need some space to expand).

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  1. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. 

Icing:

The fun part is decorating your gingerbread men once they are cool with royal icing. Whisk one egg white with half a teaspoon of lemon juice until frothy, then gradually add in 1 1⁄2  cups icing sugar and beat until smooth. Royal icing is perfect for piping and sets hard.

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Royal Icing also acts as glue for astros, smarties or any other christmas decorations!

Damaged hair?! A scary hairstory with a happy ending. Thanks Kerastase.

Blonde is a battle I’m always writing about, but never in the 15 years I’ve been colouring/highlighting/bleaching my hair have I had such a bad experience as I did about two months ago. I went darker for winter with Herbatint (you can read about that here if you’re looking for a natural hair dye) and decided I missed my blonde too much. I can’t look in the mirror and see my true self unless I’m blonde. So I booked at Partners for a full head of highlights and had an Olaplex treatment to protect my hair in the process. I was hoping that paying over R500 for a treatment would guarantee my hair would be in good shape afterwards, but I was bitterly disappointed.

Because the whole procedure took so long and I ran out of time I had to leave with damp hair (no blow dry). When it dried it was so frizzy you would have been forgiven for thinking I had stuck my finger in a plug socket. When I got home I brushed it and half my hair came off in the brush. My hair was breaking off in clumps. I had done it. I had officially destroyed my hair. Once and for all. Kerastase has a scale for classifying damage to hair, levels 1 and 2 being caused by things like too much brushing/flat ironing etc. and levels 3 and 4 being caused by chemical damage. I think I can safely say my hair fell into the ‘total destruction’ category.

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The salon recommended Kerastase Bain Therapiste to me and I was so glad they did. I was willing to try anything and spend any amount to get my hair sorted out, so I jumped straight on to Retailbox and ordered myself the Bain Therapiste shampoo (R300) and the Soin Premier Therapiste conditioner (R360). This was a pricey combination after paying for the Olaplex etc., but from the first wash it was clear that it was money well spent! The conditioner is designed to be used first before shampooing, to protect the hair. You can feel a difference from regular conditioner in that it doesn’t leave hair feeling slippery. The shampoo has a  unique jelly-like texture which I find entertaining. Both products smell great (something I can’t help looking for in hair care) and without a doubt leave hair feeling stronger, less brittle and healthier. They are designed for very damaged and overprocessed hair, so anyone with “regular” damaged hair (just a bit too much heat styling etc.) might find the products too heavy. If your hair is truly fried, like mine was, they will become your new best friends. In the beginning I also used Joico K Pak Intense Hydrator after shampooing just to give my hair an extra moisture boost. The combination did wonders and within the first week I could see and feel a big difference to my scarecrow hair.

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After being so impressed with these two I thought, well, in for a penny, in for a pound and bought myself the Therapiste Serum (R500). Retailbox’s blurb sold me on it:

“Kérastase Resistance Therapiste Serum transforms very damaged and over-processed hair to leave it hydrated, conditioned and healthy-looking. Ideal for thick, unruly hair, the treatment works as a repairing cream and binding serum to resurface hair and improve its structure. With amino acids and its unique FIBRA-KAP™ formula, the serum delivers heat protection up to 230°C to prevent split ends, minimises breakage and aids drying time so you can experience silky soft locks.”

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This was just what my hair needed. For a few weeks I couldn’t even blow dry my hair for fear of damaging it any further, it was in such bad shape, but after I used this I actually flat iron my hair for a wedding without causing any damage. My hair felt smooth and strong and frankly in better condition than it was before those highlights. I honestly thought my hair would never feel soft again, and it actually does every time I use this. You can use it on damp hair before blow drying/styling or as a finishing serum.

This whole experience was a very expensive learning curve, but it was also my first foray into Kerastase beyond the Elixir Ultime, and I was very impressed. They’re not the most budget friendly brand but I feel the products honestly do work and are really worth the money. This particular range might not be your everyday shampoo, but for anyone else out there who is going through a bit of a hair nightmare, I can honestly recommend it. I’m pleased to report thank thanks to Kerastase my hair has had a happy ending.

*This is not a sponsored post and all the products I’m raving about were bought with my own hard earned money!