So I’m now the proud owner of a Take Charge laptop cover with a built-in power bank. It even calls in my coffee order via bluetooth, but that’s a total lie

Wanna see something super cool? I’ve got my mitts on a genuine leather laptop cover (R1 799) that feels as soft as butter.

Mooi, ne?

Mooi, ne?

But wait for it… when my MacBook runs out of power (or my cell phone, for that matter), it can charge it up for me thanks to a secret sleeve containing a built-in power bank!

Can we get a 'squeeee!'?

Can we get a ‘squeeee!’?

The power bank (3000 mAh, if you were wondering) is so flat and light you honestly wouldn’t even know you were carrying it. But things get even better… it’s been personalised with my name!

Fancy pants!

Fancy pants!

So, I’m pretty sure you have lots of questions. Where did I get this dude? How you can you get one too? Can it also reply to all my e-mails? Relax, chicas! One question at a time, okay? First up, this is a Take Charge laptop cover. Take Charge is a proudly South African company creating luxury leather handbags, purses, clutches, tablet envelopes and MacBook covers, each containing a cleverly hidden power bank. The brain child of Tammy Lederle, a Cape Town-based ad agency owner who’s clearly got an ‘eye’ ‘cos the line up’s fantastically mooi to look at. In fact, it’s a merger of my two favourite things – practicality and prettiness!

take charge collage

Above: Black weekender R1 799, taupe and pink tote R1 799 and Diamond Aztec foldover R1 299.

To view the full collection, get all the specs, shop online and even send a ‘gift hint’, visit Take Charge over here. If you’ve been struggling with gift ideas for the girl on the go who’s already got it all your search has come to an end.

Pretty, pretty!

Pretty, pretty!

Love, love

Leigh

Somedays it feels like WordPress really destroys the clarity of my piccies when it compresses them. Please click on each shot for it to open up nice and big – and clear – in a new window.

New fragrance reviews: Oscar de la Renta Extraordinary, Givenchy Live Irresistible, Yardley Gorgeous in Gold, Montblanc Lady Emblem and Marc Jacobs Decadence

Ready to jump in? Let’s start with Oscar de la Renta Extraordinary eau de parfum.

While Oscar’s original perfumes aren’t favourites of mine, mostly because they just smell dated, the fashion brand’s newer juices are reaching to a much younger audience. Remember Oscar Flor? New Extraordinary is very much it’s ‘sister’.

Oscar de la Renta Extraordinary EDP, R895 for 40ml and R1 195 for 90ml EDP, selected Stuttafords and Truworths stores.

Oscar de la Renta Extraordinary EDP, R895 for 40ml and R1 195 for 90ml EDP, selected Stuttafords and Truworths stores.

A fresh floral, Extraordinary’s the kind of thing you could spritz on heavily and never really offend anyone. It opens with neroli and cherry blossom and soon reveals a heart fulll of peony, rose, frangipani and vanilla orchid petals that’s a little bit juicy, almost as though there are few red berries in the mix but there aren’t any. Or at least not officially. I also get a very slight white soapiness and before long you’re looking at a blonde wood base that’s warmed with a dash of amber.

When I think about it, Extraordinary reminds me a bit of Agent Provocateur’s Fatale Pink, another citrus topped pink floral, but without the musk. It’s definitely a warmer weather day time scent for the more elegant younger girl. The only negatives is that the staying power isn’t amaaazing (but not terrible either) and I think the brand kind of phoned it in a bit with the bottle which isn’t especially inspired.

Who’s going to wear it? A chic-looking pastel-clad Taylor Swift on a sushi date with her army of Katy Perry-hating supermodels.

Another pink, girlie scent is Givenchy Live Irresistible eau de parfum but while Extraordinary is elegant and demure, Live Irresistible is a fun fruity-floral with pineapple and black pepper notes that initially really dominate, the latter especially.

Givenchy Live Irresistably EDP

Givenchy Live Irresistible EDP, R940 for 40ml and R1 415 for 75ml, selected Edgars and Red Square stores.

Still, more explaining’s needed here as there are a helluva lot of notes in this cocktail so let’s just roll them out in order shall we? Pineapple and citrus up top; rose, pepper and passionfruit in the middle and a base of amber, musk, patchouli, vanilla and praline.

Upon hearing those base notes you’d expect something sickly sweet and overwhelming but somehow, maybe because of the pepper, it never gets too vanillary or chocolatey on you. If anything, it dries down to a soft, woody smell with just the teensiest hint of sweetness that makes you forget it every started life as a ‘fruity-floral’.

While you could only ever really wear Extraordinary in the day, I reckon Live Irresistible would work well come day or night and suit a carefree, flirty younger girl – possibly Gigi Hadid who’ll also be at Taylor’s sushi lunch except she’ll order pink champagne (despite it being only 11:47am) while Tay Tay’s drinking tea.

Now, on the subject of La Vie est Belle, you have no idea how many fragrances are cropping up that were clearly inspired by the scent and while I have no idea if that was the intention of Yardley Gorgeous in Gold eau de parfum but it’s another scent that makes me think of Lancome’s bestseller.

Yardley Gorgeous in Gold EDP, R299,95 for 50ml at Clicks.

Yardley Gorgeous in Gold EDP, R299,95 for 50ml at Clicks.

Much like ‘Belle’, Gorgeous in Gold is a floral-gourmand where a creamy hazelnut praline base note, sweetened up further by a hint of strawberry and vanilla, is the star of the show. In fact, after a while, it’s the only note I can smell. It’s the kind of scent that could go down well on a cold winter’s day so, if you’re a fan of warm-smelling, foodie type scents, perhaps give it a sniff. I was impressed by its staying power. Much like a Mugler, it really sticks around.

Who’s going to wear it? Anyone who’s craving a nutty gourmand but has a wallet that’s rocking and crying in a corner somewhere thanks to a bad case of post-Christmas poorness.

Moving on, let’s chat about Montblanc Lady Emblem eau de parfum, a fresh-smelling ‘pretty’ floral, it’s luxuriously heavy-feeling bottle is a copy of the Montblanc diamond and it’s definitely the luxury house’s most beautiful to date.

Montblanc Lady Emblem EDP

Montblanc Lady Emblem EDP, 50ml for R895 and 75ml for R1 095.

‘Born out of the essence of rose’, Lady Emblem’s notes include rose sake, pink pepper, pink grapefruit, jasmine, rose petals, pomegranate, creamy sandalwood, amber and musk crystals. The mix of ‘pretty and soft’ with ‘tart’ notes like sake and grapefruit means it never gets too sweet or too floral and the dry down is fabulously luminous – no dry woods or synthetic musk here. In this way, Lady Emblem makes me think of other rose and grapefruit-focused scents like Clarins Par Amour Tujour and Swarovski Miss Aura, but it’s the nicest of all three. In fact, of all the fragrances in this review, it’s my favourite of the lot.

Who’s going to wear it? Gwyneth Paltrow when she remembers she bought multiples of it ‘just because it looked so pretty’ to decorate the guest bathrooms in all her homes. It’s the perfect ‘freshen up’, clean-smelling day time scent with an uplifting quality thanks to its grapefruit note.

Last but not least, let’s talk about Marc Jacobs Decadence eau de parfum.

Marc Jacobs Decadence EDP

Marc Jacobs Decadence EDP, R870 for 30ml, R1 135 for 50ml and R1 480 for 100ml at selected Edgars and Red Square stores.

For the most part, Marc Jacobs fragrances are all very inoffensive and ‘girlie’, even ‘Lola’ who’s supposed to be a little ‘older’ than ‘Daisy’. Decadence, however, was intended to be more ‘grown up’ but I think the better word here is ‘sophisticated’ as there’s nothing stopping ‘girls’ from spritzing it on. If anything, the super cute purse-shaped, tassel-boasting bottle is going to appeal to a younger set.

Officially, the notes are plum, rose, orris root, amber, vetiver and papyrus wood. While I get the juiciness of the plum when I first spritz it on it disappears fast and dries down to a dusty, papery/woody rose. Also, and maybe it’s the vetiver, but there’s something in it that makes me think of the more feminine unisex scents that are super popular in the Middle East right now. Things like Aramis’ Calligraphy line or YSL’s oriental collection.

nWho’s going to wear it? Kate Moss’s little sister (yep, she has one) when she’s dolled up in vampy-vintage shizzle for a night out on the town. Ironically, she’ll keep the Marc Jacobs handbag-shaped bottle in her real Marc Jacobs handbag.

See anything you’d like to sniff yourself?

Love, love

Leigh

Review: Organique Ultra Hydrating cream with pumpkin and Shea Butter body balm in Grapefruit & Linen

Lately, it kind of feels like every vegesaurus I know has stepped things up a notch to become a vegan (‘what do you mean we can’t abuse Spur’s 2 for 1 special anymore?!’) so I’ve got friends asking things like ‘can you recommend any good vegan-friendly cosmetics lines?’ In this case, I usually just direct them over here as it’s the biggest list I’ve found online. Just bear in mind that it’s not definitive; only a handful of the listed brands are available in South Africa and it doesn’t list brands that offer vegan items (for example, Lush isn’t a vegan brand, but 80% of its products are).

Anyway, another vegan brand that’s not on the list (told you! It’s not definitive!) is Organique Cosmetics, a natural cosmetics line that hails from Poland and is now stocked locally at EcoStore Online. I was given a bunch of samples to try and rather liked this the Pumpkin Ultra Hydrating cream (R365).

Organique Pumpkin Ultra Hydrating cream (R365).

It’s good to know it’s also free of parabens and SLS, if that’s important to you.

As I’m an oily-combo girl I had to trial this at night but if you’ve got a drier skin type it would make a nice daily moisturiser provided you invest in a good sunscreen to layer on top of it. I liked that its packaged in a pump-bottle to protect it’s ingredients’ integrity and that it doesn’t make any crazy claims. It literally exists to hydrate dry skin and does a nice job of exactly that thanks to a moisturising mix of glycerin, essential fatty acid-rich avocado oil and the water-binding super star that is hyaluronic acid.

Vegan friendly!

This seal belongs to vegan-charity ‘Viva!’ You can learn more about them here.

As far as the pumpkin bit goes, Organique reckons pumpkin extract is a good source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids and serves up a gentle enzymatic exfoliating action, but I wouldn’t rely on this for the latter.

The other Organique item I’ve enjoyed using is this boy.

ORganique

Organique Shea butter body balm in Linen & Grapefruit (R195 for 100ml).

I kind of expected this to be a body butter but it’s not – it’s a regte balm that makes me think of potted lip balms like Nuxe’s Reve de Miel or Arden’s Eight Hour Cream – but with a much more ‘melty’ texture that’s almost like Vaseline but it’s one hundred-percent Vaseline-free.

 Ingredients-wise, you're looking at an all natural mix that includes Shea butter, bees wax, plant oils like soya bean, avo and grapeseed plus vitamin E.

Ingredients-wise, you’re looking at an all natural mix that includes Shea butter, beeswax, plant oils like soya bean, avo and grapeseed plus vitamin E.

If you’ve got super dry skin you could rub it all over your body but I like to use it on bits like cuticles, lips, elbows, knees and heels. Thanks to the beeswax, it does a great job of sealing in any newfound hydration.

While it’s supposed to smell like Grapefruit & Linen, I couldn’t pick up either of these notes which was slightly disappointing as I love citrusy, clean scents, but it does have a soft, floral fragrance that reminds me of something from my childhood, but I can’t put my finger on it.

Still, I’m sure I’ll eventually figure it out – a little goes a long way to the point that I’m sure this tub will see me through until 2017, making it very good value as well as a great gift for any tricky-to-buy-for vegan besties.

Love, love

Leigh

 

Review: Catrice Chocolate Nudes eye shadow palette, Even Skin Tone Beautifying foundation and Sun Glow Mineral bronzing powder

A while back Catrice and Essence sent me a bunch of their new goodies and I thought I’d show off a few of the stand outs, starting with Catrice.

First up, their new Chocolate Nudes palette is rather nice.

Catrice Chocolate Nudes eye shadow palette, R89,95 at Dis-Chem and Red Square.

Catrice Chocolate Nudes eye shadow palette, R89,95 at Dis-Chem and Red Square.

I remember trying another of their palettes a while back and wasn’t all that impressed as the shade selection wasn’t varied enough – it was literally one dark shade and then a whole bunch of paler ones that all came off looking the same – but this one gets it right. The pigmentation, however, isn’t amah-zing, so make sure you apply this over foundation or primer and then you’ll get a good colour pay off.

This is after I swept foundation on my arm

This was taken after I swept foundation on my arm before applying.

Next up we’ve got Catrice’s Even Skin Tone Beautifying foundation. The shade I was given, 020 Beige Rose, is far too light for me to wear in summer but I did try it on an in between self-tans day and while it still wasn’t a one hundred perfect match I liked it enough to feel it’s worth a mention.

Catrice Even Skin Tone Beautifying Foundation in 020 Beige Rose, R132,95.

Catrice Even Skin Tone Beautifying foundation in 020 Beige Rose, R132,95.

It’s got a luxuriously creamy, medium-weight texture that’s super easy to blend and immediately made me think of Shiseido’s Radiant Lifting foundation, but without the radiance bit. I mean don’t get me wrong, Catrice’s finish definitely isn’t matte, but it’s not illuminating either. I’d describe the over all effect as ‘satin’. I liked that it did a lovely job of evening out my complexion but don’t think it would cover anything major, you’d still need concealer for that.

It's quite pale, right?

It’s matches the inside of my wrist but not my face.

As far as claims go, Catrice reckon there’s something in their foundation that can help minimise the effect of pigmentation over time but don’t specify what that is. Perhaps it’s the teensiest pinch of botanical brightening extracts they’ve thrown in just before the preservatives? Either way, while every little bit helps, don’t give up on your pigmentation-busting serum and SPF combo just yet.

Last, but not least, Catrice’s Sun Glow Mineral bronzing powder is a real goodie.

Catrice Sun Glow Mineral bronzing powder, R89,95.

Catrice Sun Glow Mineral bronzing powder, R89,95.

It gets the balance between matte and shimmer 100-percent right to create a satiny natural-looking hue with ZERO glitter (OMG! How much do we hate glitter-infused bronzers?!) that’s totally tan and not a drop of orange. The lighter shade (010 Golden Light) is a shade I can only pull off when I’m wearing a light facial self-tanner (which is 90% of the time as I’m naturally a bit of a zombie) so I reckon it would suit anyone with a medium skin tone.

IMAG1041-001

Not a sparkle in sight, thank God!

If you’re more on the paler side of life, I’d still recommend you look at The Body Shop’s Honey Bronze bronzing powder. That’s still my top pick for fair-skinned girls wanting a matte-bronzer.

I'm wearing the bronzer on my temples and in the hollows of my cheeks plus the shadows on my eyes. My stupid eye close up came out blurry. Arrgh!

I’m wearing the bronzer on my temples and in the hollows of my cheeks.

The lippie colour I’ve got on is a Catrice one but I can’t remember the name and now I can’t find it. Arrrgh! For the record, Catrice lipsticks, in general, are definitely among the nicer ones you’ll find in the ‘drugstore’.

Love, love

Leigh

Review with before and after pictures: Jawline reduction with Botox at Skin & Body Renewal

A while back I was offered a treatment at my beloved Skin & Body Renewal so I rocked up expecting to zap my crow’s-feet with Botox. (I’ve been hitting up the needle for every six months or so since I was 27 and I love the results. That, along with retinol and a high SPF are the reasons people are often surprised to learn I’m turning 35.)

Anyway, Dr. Maureen Allem was going to handle my face and this is a woman I trust implicitly. Aside from being the founder of the Skin & Body chain, she’s also one of SA’s most experienced and respected aestheticians. She’s one of few people where I can roll into her office, throw myself down on the bed and say ‘I feel sooo haggard and tired! Just do whatever you want!’ maureen
As a result, when she suggested we try something a li’l different and shape my jaw using Botox (hello there, Kylie Jenner!) I was very happy to let her have at it. I’ve been a ‘clencher’ for as long as I can remember, something I do without even realising, especially when I write (which is often all day long) and it’s resulted in a pretty pronounced, rather square-looking jaw that sometimes comes off as ’rounded’ if I’m photographed straight on as the muscles around my jaw’s hinge stand out and pull my face structure outwards, if that makes sense. Maureen reckoned a splash of ‘tox would paralyse those pumped up, over worked muscles so they’d shrivel up and give me a slimmer-looking, more oval-shaped face.

Now, upon explaining that to friends, many of them had the same freaked out reaction – ‘OMG! How are you going to eat?!’ ‘Will you be able to talk?!’ ‘OMG! OMG! OMG!’ To this, I say ‘RELAX, chicas!’ Your jaw has loads of muscles in it and if some end up going on a li’l vacay there are lots of others to pick up the slack. Also, Maureen’s a blerrie expert, okay? This isn’t her first rodeo. In fact, she’s so good with a needle she didn’t even have to use an anaesthetic on me. A few li’l pricks and boom, I was all done so I could head off for dinner a mooi boy who was none the wiser.

Also, the thing about Botox is that it doesn’t work straight away. You have to wait a few days (for me it’s usually five) for it to kick in. When this started happening I experienced a little bit of jaw stiffness due to muscles that weren’t used to helping me talk and devour Big Route’s bolognaise pizza (the BEST you’ll ever taste!) had to get down to business but it was a ‘sensation’ as opposed to pain. There was literally nothing painful about the procedure at all.

As far as a results time lines goes – if you’re using Botox to klap lines around your eyes or on your forehead these will diminish from the moment it kicks in at that five to seven days post-treatment mark. A muscle, however, takes a while to atrophy (shrink) so it was only about a month later that my sleeker-looking jaw started to emerge and the results were/are awesome. Like, AWESOME!

Let's not pretend you don't see a difference!

The before shot is on the left (taken in my car literally the day I got the shots. I look a tad dopey-eyed in at as I wearing lash extension that were still a bit heavy, I reckon) and the after shot on the right was taken six weeks later. Let’s not pretend you don’t see a serious difference!

The difference it’s made is VERY visible to the point that my au naturale lovin’ cousin (who usually gets preachy and ridic when I do anything to my face, be it lash extensions or a peel) as well as my mom and a few besties totally noticed and all gave it a big two thumbs up. (As in, ‘Wow! This is something you should really do again!’) As for the rest of the world, my slimmer-looking face had loads of people asking me if I’d lost weight when I hadn’t. In fact, I’d gained a tad thanks to a li’l too much festive season merriment!

So ja, in short, if you’re considering facial contouring via Botox know I give it a massive thumbs up. Results will vary as some people have a larger jaw due to what the bone is shaped liked but for most folks its defined their muscles. Also, while this is a relatively simple procedure that most aestheticians could pull off, I can only personally endorse Dr. Maureen Allem, the Botox wizard. So much so that I’ll be going back at some point, credit card in hand, to do it again and again and again.

In regards to costs, this will vary from person to person depending on how many units of Botox are used. I had 15 in one muscle and 20 in another and, if you’re working on an average of R70 per unit, you’re looking at around R2 450, roughly the price of a new ghd V styler, and your results should last for a good six to nine months.

To make an appointment with Skin and Body Renewal (I think all their aestheticians offer jaw-defining, but I’ll double-check), visit their site to find a branch in your area. Also, feel free to chat to me in the comments section. I’ll answer all the q’s I can and will pass on any I can’t to Dr. Allem.

Love, love

Leigh

Review: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil for face, body and hair

Later this month, Elizabeth Arden have just launched yet another product within their crazy successful Eight Hour Cream line up and this one’s a goodie – All-Over Miracle Oil for face, body and hair (R385).

Hello there!

All I need is a miracle… all I neeeeed is youuuu…

Initially, the fact that they slapped ‘miracle’ in the name kind of irked me. I was worried they’d step into Bio-Oil territory and associate it with a host of overblown claims regarding stretch marks. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. Arden merely claims to hydrate and multitask with applications that range from moisturising both your body and face as well as your hair.

As far as formulation goes, Miracle Oil’s a mix of multiple plant oils, the big players being rice bran oil, grape seed oil and Japanese camellia oil. Rice bran and camellia oil are both nice l’il picks from the east as they’re both non-greasy, absorb like a boss and contains love-you-long-time antioxidant vitamins, essential fatty acids and phytosterols. The latter gives them anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to soothe sensitive skin.

Another interesting ingredient is Boswellia Serrata resin extract that produces Frankincense and research has shown it’s also able to soothe inflammation (a major cause of premature ageing, just so you know) while stimulating your fibroblasts to produce more collagen. I really don’t know if Arden’s used it in a high enough concentration to have an effect so don’t toss your retinol serum just yet, but hey, every bit counts, right?

I really liked that the oil’s in a spritzer bottle – it makes even application a breeze – and appreciated that my skin drank it up fast but was left feeling supple and looking radiant. It’s supposed to have a delicate citrus-floral scent but I honestly can’t pick that up at all. That’s probably a good thing, ‘cos now I don’t have to worry about it competing with my perfume. (For the record, I’m still obsessed with Boucheron’s Quatre. OBSESSED!)

Did I say OBSESSED?!

Did I say OBSESSED?!

Love, love

Leigh

Review: Palmer’s Shea Formula Raw Shea body lotion AKA let’s file this one away to yet more lekkerness that won’t break the bank

We all know about Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula – it’s been around for years and has a bit of cult following, I reckon. Except for me. I honestly can’t stand the stuff. It’s scent is just so darn sweet in a way that feels suffocating. Bleh. In fact, let’s make that a double bleh plus a shot of humble pie scoffing surprise because I totally thought I’d hate, hate, hate the brand’s new Shea Formula but what do you know, it’s a winner!

IMAG1008

Palmer’s Shea Formula Raw Shea body lotion

Unlike it’s Cocoa Butter boetie, Palmer’s Shea Formula Raw Shea moisturising body lotion (R59,95, Clicks and Dis-Chem) has a subtle, uplifting vanilla scent that makes me think of the real vanilla paste I have sitting in my kitchen cupboard. It’s not synthetic or sickly in the least and reminds me a lot of the plain old vanilla body lotion The Body Shop used to make back in the day, before they got all fancy pants and started throwing other notes into the mix, things like spice and white chocolate.

Light vanilla scents always smell 'clean' to me.

Ultra light vanilla scents always smell ‘clean’ to me and I like that.

As far as texture goes, it’s feather-light and absorbs in a flash so it’s perfect for my ‘normal’ skin that I’d never characterise as dry. Also, like I said, the scent is a soft, pretty vanilla, but it doesn’t linger and would never interfere with your perfume.

IMAG1011

Do you appreciate a good ole’ ingredient close up? Let me know and I’ll do more of them where appropriate.

Ingredients-wise, notables include hydrating African Shea butter as well as marula, sunflower and soybean oils plus soothing oatmeal extract and antioxidant vitamin E. The formula’s also free of parabens, phthalates, sulphates, mineral oil, gluten and colourants.

In all, if I didn’t have ten million zillion different body products languishing in my flat (the joy of being a beauty blogger) and was wandering the aisles looking for a new body lotion, I’d happily toss this boy into my trolley.

Love, love

Leigh