Fragrance reviews: Versace Eros pour femme EDT, Eau de Lacoste L.12.12. Elle Magnetic EDT and Jimmy Choo EDP

Like patchouli? I do! And this week I’ve got three fragrances that all make use of the note but couldn’t be more different from each other.

First up, if you’re a fragrance junky like me chances are you know about Versace Eros Pour Femme EDP, a lush white floral, but now the brand’s just launched a lighter EDT version (R830 for 30ml, R1 165 for 50ml and R1 460 for 100ml, Red Square). While you can definitely tell that the two are related, I find the EDT quite different in that it’s a little sweeter and a bit more ‘yellow’ smelling in a way that reminds me a lot of Versace Yellow Diamond.

Versace Eros pour femme EDT

Versace Eros pour femme EDT

Notes-wise, you’re looking at Sicilian lemon, mandarin, raspberry and Calone (a fresh ozonic note) up top, a heart full of white flowers like jasmine, freesia and magnolia and a warm, sweet dry down that’s all about white pachouli, wood, amber and musk.

On my skin, it starts out really fresh-smelling then the flowers sweep in and a warm, almost toffee-like note pops up. I reckon it’s the kind of fragrance that’ll appeal to anyone, young or old, who likes sunny-smelling florals with a pinch of sugar. An elegant yet relaxed fragrance, you could wear it day or night, but I think it’s most suited to day time.

Next up, Lacoste have launched a new fruity-floral with a name that’s a serious mouthful – Eau de Lacoste L.12.12. Elle Magnetic (R695 for 25ml, R945 for 45ml and R1 285 for 80ml, Dis-Chem).

Eau de Lacoste L. 12. 12. Elle Magnetic

Eau de Lacoste L.12.12. Elle Magnetic EDT

Generally, Lacoste’s scents are quite sporty and fresh-smelling but this one’s definitely one of their girlier offerings that could easily live in their Pink line up. (Remember Touch of Pink?)

Officially, the notes are a luminous mix of orange, clementine and mango up top; heliotrope, jasmine, rose and violet leaf in the middle and patchouli and vanilla for a sweet finish.

Initially, I thought it was a bit too sweet and but it’s really grown on me as an easy-to-wear daytime fragrance when you’re in the mood for a flirt with a li’l ‘candy’ but don’t want to go full on Angel. I mean, sure the mango and vanilla come through strong, but it’s almost like they’re mixed into a cool spritzer that somehow makes them less potent so you could happily wear it on a hot day without it ever getting cloying.

This is definitely aimed at a younger woman who’s ‘girlie’ but the cool-smelling violet leaf tempers things in such a way that you never get ‘meisie wearing a lacy pink rokkie‘ but rather a millennial girl carrying a pink yoga mat.

Lastly, let’s talk about an ‘oldie’ that’s making a comeback with a relaunch – Jimmy Choo EDP (R745 for 40ml, R1 095 for 60ml and R1 295 for 100ml). Much like a pair of meneer Choo’s stilettos, this sexy yet sophisticated scent is a timeless one. Having it in my possession again has reminded me why I liked it the first time round. It’s definitely less powdery than many of the other Choo’s and the toffee note isn’t as sterk.

jimmy.jpg

Jimmy Choo EDP

But ja, the official notes are pear and Italian orange up front and a lush tiger orchid heart resting on a base of toffee and patchouli. Pear has never been a note I appreciate but I don’t pick it up at all. Instead I get citrus, something slightly smoky, an earthy orchid and the toffee-patchouli combo that could’ve been a bit juvenile but isn’t.

If you’re looking for a long-lasting scent that’ll work perfectly in the evening, regardless of the season, or in the day when the weather’s a little bit cooler (hello autumn!), this is a lovely pick.

Love, love

Leigh


I’ve been drinking GC Skinny Green Coffee and I really like it PLUS I give unto thee my favourite smoothie recipe

I love coffee and feel like my eyes are never really open until I’ve got a mug in my hand so I was only to happy to give GC Skinny green coffee a bash.

Made from raw unroasted coffee beans, Skinny coffee is rich in both caffeine and chlorogenic acid and the latter has been proven to help slow your body’s fat absorption rate while boosting your metabolism. (The mix also includes raspberry ketones and evodiamine, two things researchers have looked at in regards to how helpful they can be in regards to weight loss but so far I think the jury’s out.)

I’ve been drinking Skinny Coffee for a while now thanks to the PR who gave me a whole bunch of it as a Christmas gift (thanks Renate!) and it’s pretty good. It tastes rather mild, a bit like chicory, but packs a caffeine punch so I’ve enjoyed knocking it back before a run. I’m quite sensitive to caffeine, so initially I’d feel the extra voomah* – as though I’d knocked back a Red Bull – but now I think I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve also started adding it to my favourite smoothie when I don’t have time to drink it hot.

Yum

Rise and shine, bietse!

As far as any weight loss benefits go, I can’t really judge this as my weight’s fluctuated a bit over the last little while thanks to living it up over Christmas, working it off and then slapping a bit back on again after my sister came down from France and we hit up a zillion restaurants. Still, if it’s got things in it that could be beneficial I’m happy to include them in my life. There’s no single magic bullet to whip off the kilos so you can’t merrily down a ‘skinny’ drink and then not pay attention to what else, and how much of it, you put into your mouth as the day goes on.

Still, like I said, this tastes good and its an easy ‘swap’. If it contributes even just 1% towards burning off the ten thousand kilograms of cheese I eat when my sister’s in town then I’m a happy camper.

Anyway, ‘cos I’m a sharer, I thought I’d fill you in on my favourite smoothie, the one flat mate and I whip up almost every single day.

The Bomb Diggity

Yum, yum, yum! (I'm actually drinking this right now as I type.)

Yum, yum, yum! (I’m actually drinking this right now as I type.)

Ingredients

1 banana (a potassium bomb – brilliant for runners)
handful frozen blueberries (low in kJ, high in fibre and rated one of nature’s most potent antioxidants)
a 3/4 cup of almond milk (you could use milk but we like to keep dairy to a minimum)
1 Tbs chia seeds (omega acids for the win)
2 Tbs Lifematrix Tropical fibre powder (This is made using coconut and pineapple fibre. It’s gluten-free and the only one I can find that doesn’t bloat me up like a whale but keeps you feeling full and really helps things, ahem, move along nicely…)
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (we like super low carb formulations)
1 or 2 sachets Skinny coffee (I throw in one if it’s just me and double up if it’s the two of us. Also, regular coffee works just fine too.)

Method

Toss everything into your blender, whizz it up, serve and enjoy! The recipe makes two glasses and we’ve worked it out as being plus minus 850 kJ per glass. It takes two minutes to make as we’ve always got the ingredients on hand. The only rubbish thing is having to wash the blerrie blender.

Love, love

Leigh

*Please bear in mind that everyone’s tolerance to caffeine is different. To give you some perspective, my flat mate doesn’t feel it’s ‘strong’ enough so she drinks Skinny coffee with a teaspoon of regular coffee to get the ‘best of both worlds’. I’ve tried that and then felt like my heart was going to explode. So ja, each to their own.

HQ restaurant in Cape Town is holding is a very yummy series of Sunday Social brunches

Looking for a cool way to beat the Sunday blues? HQ is holding a series of Sunday Social brunches. Aside from live entertainment, you can expect a welcome cocktail and a yummy three-course brunch for R285 paired with a selection of Moet bubbly and cocktails (as well as cocktail jugs to share) at an extra cost.

Pretty pretty!

Pretty pretty!

Having experienced the brunch myself this past Sunday I can tell you their Belvedere vodka Smoky Bloody Mary’s are life saving (I arrived hung like a donkey) and the food itself is delicious.

To begin, the starters are all laid out in sharing platters so you don’t have to agonise over what to pick from a selection of mixed fruit; granola, yoghurt and berry pots and smoked salmon with herbed cream cheese and avo.

Yoghurt never looked so mooi.

Yoghurt never looked so mooi.

..

The salmon roulade was lovely...

The salmon roulade was lovely…

…but…

...this corn bread with herbed butter was a flippin' show stopper!

…this corn bread with herbed butter was a flippin’ show stopper! I’d have eaten ten servings of this alone if I wasn’t pacing myself.

As for mains, you get to choose from either a pork belly or wild mushroom Benedict, chicken and chorizo frittata or prego sirloin roll with Cafe de Paris butter and skinny fries. My brekkie bestie Karisa and I couldn’t decide between the pork belly Benedict (served with wilted garlic spinach, poached egg and hollandaise sauce on a toasted ciabatta) and the prego so we thought we’d go all ‘best o’ both worlds’ by ordering each and sharing. This turned out to be a great idea as both were delish but, of the two, the Benedict was the winner.

Get in my belly pork belly Benedict!

Get in mah belly pork belly Benedict!

..

Skinny fries. Mmm...

Skinny fries. Mmm…

When it came to dessert (‘cos what’s a decadent brunch without dessert?!) it was back to sharing platters consisting of passion fruit panna cotta spoons, waffles with ice cream, chocolate and banana and maple bacon flap jack stacks. I was pretty full at this point – the mains are really generous – but couldn’t say no to picking at everything. While alles was goed, the thick, warm, crispy-edged waffles were definitely my favourite closely followed by the pannekoek.

Waffles will always make the world a better place.

If it wouldn’t have been rude I’d have picked that crispy bacon off of every single pancake on the table. And then maybe have moved on to other people’s tables…

If you’re looking for a fun, yummy way to spend a Sunday with friends book your spot at HQ’s next brunch. It starts at 11am (but most people arrived at 12) and you can order each course as you want it from your waiter so you can do a quick in and out or languish in the courtyard with a slew of cocktails all the way through until 4pm. Just bear in mind that the music really starts to pump at some point so maybe take your girlfriends and not your gran.Β For more information, visit their Facebook page for details.

Cheers bietse!

Cheers bietse!

A big dankie to lovely PR/’sexy librarian’ Jana for the invite!

Love, love

Leigh

Beauty bits and pieces: Apostrophe artisanal soap, Avene Cleanance SPF 30 and Pedi Relax foot cream

Ready to jump in?

Handmade in Durbs, Apostrophe’s 100% vegan soaps make use of plant based oils and are free of preservatives, so best you use them up in two months. They’re also made the old-fashioned way – using a ‘cold process’ – so, because nothing’s heated up or boiled, any beneficial natural ingredients used will retain their properties. Other plus points of a cold process? The bar’s are generally creamier-feeling and, because the soap is cured for four weeks, their lovely scent intensifies.

I was given two bars to try – Marble Dreams and La La Lavender (R50 each).

Pretty pretty!

Marble Dreams makes use of pure lemongrass oil so its fresh and uplifting and La La Lavender contains pure lavender oil making it a relaxing treat.

I’ve always liked both lavender and lemongrass so it was hard to pick a favourite but Marble Dreams (the lemongrass variant) has a slightly stronger scent so it wins by a nose. I liked that both of the soaps made a lovely lather that felt luxuriously creamy on my skin. Also, thanks to their pretty packaging and super reasonable price point, I reckon they’d make a great gift for when you need something luxe but inexpensive, like to thank someone for having you over for dinner or letting you crash on their couch.

Want? You can buy them online here as well as via online organic shop Faithful-To-Nature. (I’m a huge fan of this store by the way. Their inventory is huge, their price points are great and their service level is hundreds.)

Moving on, let’s talk sun protection. I’m always on the look out for lightweight sunscreens with high sun protection factors and French thermal water skincare brand Avene make some nice ones so I was very happy to receive Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance SPF 30 for acne prone skin (R229,95).

Avene Cleanance

Be careful of other reviews you read about this online. This has since been reformulated. There’s no white caste or stickiness, I promise.

Aside from the SPF and soothing spring water, its formula includes antioxidant vitamin E and mattifiers to give skin a shine-free finish with no white, masky-looking cast. It also makes use of something called glyceryl laurate that’s got oil-regulating and antibacterial properties.

I’ve worn it a few times now and like that it smoothes on easily, absorbs fast and yep, it does leave your skin looking matte but isn’t tight or drying in the least. It’s also not sticky and that’s a big yay for me. I really can’t stand sticky sunscreen!

Moving on, let’s talk about one of the nicest foot creams I’ve come across in ages. Meet Pedi Relax moisturising cream for dry feet (R85, Dis-Chem).

New bestie alert!

New bestie alert!

This dude’s a winner! Aside from smelling utterly delish thanks to sweet orange oil, it’s chocful of AHA, in this case glycolic acid. This means it won’t just moisturise your feet but will exfoliate them too. So many people think treating dry feet is just a case of having to hydrate them but feet really need a keralytic, something that will help soften and ‘peel’ away the dryness. This is why you’ll often find urea in foot treatments (it hydrates and peels) but AHA is a top pick too.

I haven’t just been using this on my feet at night and like that it’s not sticky, oily or heavy-feeling. I’ve also been putting it on dry bits like my knees and elbows. It’s also come in handy with self-tan removal. Every now and again I’ll end up a little too dark on the dry skin around my ankles and then find slapping this on pretty useful ‘cos then, the next day, I can exfoliate the area manually and the excess colour comes off way easier than it would’ve without the treatment.

Love, love

Leigh

I’m feeling the love this Valentine’s Day thanks to Lush

Oh, Lush. How I love you so. And it looks like the feeling is mutual ‘cos they sent me the sweetest-smelling li’l gift pakkie to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s definitely helped take the edge off the fact that I’m almost 36 and probably going to die alone. But at least I’ll smell great! No rancid cat litter and half empty vodka bottles for me. (Okay, maybe a few vodka bottles…)

Feeling the love with Lush.

Feeling the love with Lush.

Now, let’s break this pakkie down, shall we?

First up, Prince Charming shower cream (R175 for the 250ml bottle, a 100ml is pictured), my favourite item of the lot, is an ultra luxe, hydrating creamilicious body wash imbued with a host of natural loveliness like pomegranate juice and marshmallow root and vanilla pod infusion. To me, it smells just like a sugared marshmallow but isn’t sickeningly sweet in the least and I love how it leaves my skin feeling wondrously clean but supple. I’m generally more of a bath person but now stepping into the shower is a treat.

Lush cosmetics are handmade and I love how they put a little sticker on many of their items to show you who made it.

Lush cosmetics are handmade and I love how they put a little sticker on many of their items to show you who created it. Thanks Nicky!

As for the heart-shaped bath bomb, that’s Cupid (R49,50), a ‘berry romantic’ li’l dude with an addictive citrusy rose and berry scent thanks to lime oil, rose petal powder and fresh raspberry juice. I haven’t used this guy yet. I’m saving him for a special occasion and can’t wait to unleash his yummy smell in full bloom in my tub.

Lush also make great massage bars that essentially a blend of natural butters that melt when they come into contact with the warmth of your skin. To use, simply rub it on your bod! While cinnamon-scented Wiccy Magic Muscles is still my favourite bar by far, new Love Spell (R130) is a nice addition to their line up and will go down well with anyone who likes soft floral scents, in this case, carnation, rose and neroli.

Love Spell!

Love Spell doesn’t have to be used for massages. You can also use him on any dry bits sommer so like a body butter.

Lastly, The Kiss lip gloss (price TBA) is a cute li’l vegan, self-preserving lip balm that really is good enough to eat. It promises to soften up your lips with a mix of natural butters and oils (jojoba, Kalahari melon and coconut), give them a subtle pink shimmery tint and a hint of sweet-tasting flavour thanks to tangerine oil and agave syrup.

Pretty pretty!

Pretty pretty!

If you’re looking to spoil someone – or even just yourself – this V-Day, think about stepping into Lush. All their products are 100% vegetarian and nothing is ever tested on animals.

Love, love

Leigh

P.S. Have you seen Lush’s Valentine’s Day campaign ads? You have no idea how much I love, love, LOVE that they feature same-sex couples!

Love is love.

Love is love.

Can we please see more ad material from more brands celebrating the fact that we all should be free to love and adore and whoever the hell we choose? It’s long past about bloody time and I’d really like to applaud Lush on making such a brave move. And it really is brave. There are few brands willing to do it because – well, money. Boldly including a market in a way that’s sure to ruffle the feathers of smaller-minded individuals still shackled by intolerance is a fast way to lose their buying power. It seemingly makes more sense to ‘play it safe’ so it’s going to be a while before a slew of mass appeal brands follow suite. But ja. Here’s hoping my children one day live in a world where spotting a same-sex couple or two gay dads and their mixed race baby in an ad isn’t a rarity and something to salute, but merely a true reflection of our society.

P.S.S. If you go into your day with anything, maybe make it one of my favourite quotes in the world: ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.’
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Review: Crabtree & Evelyn Overnight Hand Therapy

Did you know Crabtree & Evelyn have extended their wildly popular Hand Therapy line to include a night-time version? Say hello to Overnight Hand Therapy (R450)!

imag6714

Various versions are available and I was given Pomegranate Argan & Grapeseed.

I’ve been out of touch with this brand for ages aside from a quick pop-in to view their Christmas collection so I don’t actually know when this was launched but I assume it was some time late last year.

An ultra hydrating mix of antioxidant vitamins and amino acids that include arginine (this helps your skin retain more moisture), it’s to be used before bed to give your hands a beauty treatment but there’s nothing stopping you from using it any old time as it doesn’t feel heavy or ‘too rich’. If anything, it’s ever so slightly oily-feeling when its first applied but it absorbs fast and doesn’t ball up on your skin.

I kind of expected this particular variant to be too fruity and sweet but it’s a very sophisticated, grown-up pomegranate with a woody, possibly even slightly smokey dry down that makes me think of a luxe, Jo Malone-esque cologne. If you’ve got any Hand Therapy fans (isn’t every one?!) in your life I reckon this would make for a lovely gift.

Love, love

Leigh

Review: Givenchy Noir Couture Volume mascara

Looking for a jet black, ultra luxe mascara? I’ve really enjoyed using Givenchy Noir Couture Volume mascara (R580, Red Square) in Black Taffeta. It’s ultra, ultra black, delivers a serious dose of volume without any clumps and doesn’t flake or smear making it the mascara I most reach for it when I’m heading out at night.

Sexiest mascara packaging ever!

Sexiest mascara packaging ever!

The fabs? A duo bristle brush that’s smaller at the tip catches and extends the outer lashes while the larger section of the brush loads product like a boss. Formulation-wise, you’re looking at keratin-filled silica microbeads to plump and a conditioning complex to protect and nourish each lash.

See?

See?

But let’s let the piccies talk, shall we?

My non-existant lashes on the left and ONE coat of Givenchy on the right.

My non-existant lashes on the left and ONE coat of Givenchy Noir Couture Volume mascara on the right.

At just under six hundred bucks this beauty doesn’t come cheap but if you don’t mind the splurge this is one you won’t regret. Every beauty ed I’ve spoken to who’s received this boy has also loved it to bits.

Love, love

Leigh