Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: Smitten Romance Series

Hi guys! Recently I have finished reading some novels from a series called 'Smitten' and I felt that it would be good to share my thoughts on the series here :) This will be an overall review rather than a review for each title.

To be honest... it's been way too long since I'd read any novels (last one before this was Twilight actually :S) and I haven't written a book review since high school so I'm just going to keep this very simple.

Smitten is a newly released Australian young adult fiction series, currently consisting of 4 titles. The books aren't connected and there isn't a continuous story, however I realised that they all included themes of teenage romance, following dreams, interracial relationships, friendship and family. The Smitten girls are strong, smart and independent and this series is said to be 'fun, flirty and a little bit sexy'.

Two of the books are written by one author and the other two are written by another. There isn't a particular order for reading these books so I randomly began with 'Unlucky Break' and followed on with whichever sneak peek/preview of a Smitten novel was included at the end.

 The order that I read them in

I would say that these novels are most suited to mature audiences as there is course language, drug and alcohol references and sexual references (wow I sound like the guidelines for a movie's rating). These references may seem like a bad influence for a teenage audience but actually, there is some 'good' as smoking, illicit drugs and alcohol are negatively depicted and the love scenes are described in only little detail. Also, the characters set a good example for the young reader as safe sex is practiced. The setting of these good examples was something that I admired about the series because it showed that you can still have fun while being sensible.

I won't go into detail about each book but I do have the cover pictures up if you'd like to read the blurbs. 

*Click to enlarge the pictures*

Unlucky Break - by Kate Forster

Tall, Dark and Distant - by Julie Fison

Head over High Heels - by Kate Forster

Lust and Found - by Julie Fison

What I liked about the novels was the fact that they aren't too thick (roughly 2-2.5cm) so they are a good, quick read and a great size which makes them suitable to bring with you anywhere. Also, I liked how the main male characters weren't seen as flawless or depicted as a 'prince charming/knight in shining armour' because let's face it, what are the chances of us randomly finding a perfect gentleman who will fall madly in love with us at first sight? We ain't living a fairytale here! 

Do I have a favourite out of the 4? Hmm, well I really did enjoy reading them all but I found 'Unlucky Break' to be the funniest because of the number of twists in the plot. And the inclusion of a jealous, scheming ex-girlfriend made it rather interesting! It can be amusing if it happens to someone else and not yourself, haha.

For someone who hadn't read novels in the longest time, it was quite refreshing to see novels become much more modernised. There were references made to iPhones, Facebook and cosmetic brands such as Smashbox. I feel that these references make it easier for young readers to relate and connect with the characters. Although the circumstances and issues that the characters face may be quite extreme, we can at least relate to the importance of using technology and social networking sites these days.

There wasn't anything that I disliked about the series, though there was something that I was confused about and wasn't sure of at first. I don't know about you but I have read quite a number of teenage fiction novels where they have been written in first person. And to be honest, I prefer novels to be written in first person (like a diary or even a blog!) but the Smitten series was written in third person. That was fine for me to adapt to but a couple of chapters in I realised that the writing in third person had switched to the perspective of the main male character instead of the main female character at the beginning. And then it kept switching after each chapter which I eventually got used to and found it to be okay in the end. It actually is interesting to know how the two main characters are feeling and thinking about each other. Has anyone read a book like this before?? I'm curious.

I would recommend this series to mature audiences from about the age of 15 and above. The main female characters were around 17-18 and as a 19-year-old turning 20 soon, I didn't feel that I was too old for this series... I could still relate despite the characters just being fresh out of high school. If you're into romance and love a bit of drama, this might be the book for you in 2013!


Unfortunately I am unsure as to where these novels can be purchased as they were only launched in February but if any of my readers are interested in reading one of these books, I'd be more than happy to send one of them over :) I haven't made room for them on my bookshelf so you'll be doing me a favour! Just email or comment below if there's one you're interested in reading - we could arrange something.

I'm not much of a bookworm as you can probably tell in my review (hehe). Nonetheless, thank you for reading my first ever online book/series review which is pretty much out of my comfort zone in terms of content to review! Beauty reviews will always be my thing ;)

Questjen of the week:

What was the last novel that you read?
Are there any novels/series that you would recommend?

Now I have no more fun novels to read so I'm going to get back to doing my compulsory university readings and reading my textbooks :( ! ... Unless you guys can give me a good suggestion for leisure reading :D


P.S: Being sick sucks. Always remember to take care of yourselves~

Disclaimer: Series was provided for review purposes only. This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Review: ELES Liquiliner

Hiya! I've got a new waterproof liquid eyeliner to review from the Australian brand ELES. I love supporting Australian brands as much as possible because as cheesy as this sounds, I have pride in this country that I have lived in all my life! Also, it's always much more convenient to purchase instore than online.

This is what I received from their PR coordinator (Kanya)

Not sure if all of my readers are aware of this or not but liquid eyeliner is my greatest love of all makeup products. Actually, just black eyeliner in general. Pencil, liquid, gel - I have them all and I love them all equally. So of course I was very excited to try out this new liquid eyeliner and see how it compares to the others I've tried. This review however won't be a comparison review - I'll just be sharing my 100% honest thoughts about opinions about the product.

Let's start off by introducing the brand, ELES as Australian brands tend to not be well-known across the globe.

ELES is sourced from nature, fused with science. It uses minerals, the purest elements of the earth which is essential for the ELES line. Micronised minerals protect and correct the skin without irritation. Mineral makeup allows the skin to breathe and each product is free of harsh, heavy and pore-clogging ingredients. Every formula contains no potential irritants and is hypoallergenic and oil-free. The result: Clinical makeup that protects and corrects, yet reveals the skin's natural radiance.

ELES Liquiliner - Anisette (Black)
Net weight: 7g (0.25 oz.)
RRP: $48.25 AU

About the product:

Define, shape and accentuate your eyes with new ELES Liquiliner - a paraben-free long-lasting liquid eyeliner that will perfectly sculpt eyes with no smudges, smears or mess!

An easy-to-use slim-lined flexible brush made with natural hair makes precise application a breeze while the waterproof formula will dry and set instantly

Main ingredient and its claims:

  • Bio-Boost - a 100% natural algae complex containing natural phytohormones and bio transformed Ginger Root which helps stimulate hair follicles therefore improving the length and fullness of lashes
  • Waterproof formula will stay in place all day without smudging or flaking

For me, the best liquid eyeliner is one that is waterproof, smudge-proof, flake-proof, pigmented and has a fine tip. This liquid eyeliner has a very fine flexible tip which makes it simple to draw lines and also wing out the eyeliner.

EDIT: I have received an updated press release of the product after I had written this review and the Liquiliner which was first considered as waterproof is no longer listed as so.

Testing out the thinnest and thickest lines that it can create
I also tried writing with it

As you can see, it is a very deep black and I reckon the combination of the 'ink' and brush made it glide on smoothly. I felt that it didn't tug on my skin and the pigmentation was consistent.

Smudge test

I wouldn't say that this eyeliner is completely smudge-proof but to some extent, yes I do think it is. I know that it doesn't look very obvious here but this smudge test was conducted (sorry to sound rather 'scientific-experiment'-like) about half a minute after applying on the back of my hand. This probably wasn't enough time to allow the thicker lines to dry, therefore they smudged. But AFTER being fully dry, I believe that the eyeliner is considerably smudge-proof. Look at the thin middle line for instance - that was fully dry when I did the smudge test and it didn't budge. It doesn't even look like I tried to smudge it. And at least 'hey' is still readable.

Verdict: Passes the smudge test to some degree. Need to wait for the eyeliner to fully dry before it becomes smudge-proof.

Tap water test

All I used were a few droplets of tap water, not any type of makeup remover. The lines didn't run with the water when they slid down my hand.

... But rubbing the water onto the back of my hand caused this mess. A dark grey cloud. How unfortunate!! I honestly thought that this eyeliner could withstand water being rubbed gently over it. Just imagine crying and rubbing your eyes while wearing this eyeliner... I'd assume that this would happen around my eyes. Grey raccoon eyes anyone?

Verdict: I think if you cry but only drop some tears, the eyeliner will not run with it. Though crying and rubbing your eyes is a different story... I would say that this is definitely not completely waterproof/smudge-proof.

It may seem like this eyeliner would be a breeze to remove but no, you'd be very wrong about that. Sure it can create a murky grey cloud with some water but it needs more effort to actually be removed from the skin. Waterproof makeup remover is required and you'll probably need lots of it. I used Lancome Bi-Facil and that didn't fully remove it all in one go as after washing my face I noticed more greyness under my eyes (not dark circles) and smudged bits of eyeliner. So it required more Lancome Bi-Facil to remove it entirely.

I didn't do a proper flake-proof test but I can say that there was no flaking with this eyeliner. How I applied it on in the morning looked the same when I came home in the afternoon, except there was a bit of greyness/smudge around my eyes. Thankfully not raccoon/panda eyes though.

(Bare eye with just ELES Liquiliner)

This was done with one stroke and it produced a very smooth line. The thinness was perfect for my small double eyelids and I could have made it thicker by adding a bit more pressure to the brush. I love how easy it is to use and there is a definite difference between using this flexible brush and using a stiff, pointed brush. I find that a stuff brush can be harder to work with and the lines can be a bit jittery (if you stop in between drawing the line). With this you don't need to stop at all because it really does glide against the skin!

As for its claim about helping improve length and fullness of lashes, I can't say whether it does or not because I didn't notice any difference. Perhaps with regular use of this Liquiliner (I like the name of it by the way), it could help stimulate hair follicles.

Pros (+) and cons (-):

+ Packaging is plain yet unique in a way
+ Rectangular lid could make it easier to grip
+ Good size (7g)
+ Formula is free from irritants and is hypoallergenic; great for people with sensitive eyes
+ Bio-Boost formula promises to be beneficial
+ Slim flexible brush made with natural hair is very soft and easy to use
+ Glides on smoothly without any tugging or needing to stop
+ Can choose the thickness of line depending on the pressure applied to the brush
+ A very pigmented black
+ Flake-free
+ Line can last all day
+ Minimal smudging
- The flexible tip may be hard to use for beginners; it may be quite slippery
- Thick lines do not set instantly
- Can still have smudges or smears
- Not 100% waterproof
- Requires great effort to remove
- Not the most affordable liquid eyeliner (RRP $48.25 AUD)

Recommend and/or repurchase?

Although I had found many positive things about this liquid eyeliner, it is not a liquid eyeliner that I could see myself purchasing. It didn't fully deliver as a liquid eyeliner that is waterproof and smudge-proof with no worries which I found to be quite disappointing, especially considering its price. Without a doubt I will continue using it but when it runs out I will bid farewell to it and move onto another.

If you are happy to spend this much on a liquid eyeliner which may have plenty of benefits for you (hypoallergenic, gentle, glides on smoothly and lasts all day) then yes I would recommend this. The direct link is here if you're interested: Liquiliner - Anisette


Questjen of the week:

Which Western branded liquid eyeliner is your favourite?

I have tried plenty of Asian-brand liquid eyeliners like K-Palette, Dolly Wink, Heroine and yes I do love them all but I'm also curious about non-Asian eyeliner brands both drugstore (i.e. Maybelline, L'Oreal) and high-end (Lancome, Dior). I like trying all different brands as I tend to not just stick to one!

Jen xx

Disclaimer: Product was provided for review. This is not a sponsored post. No monetary compensation was/is provided and there are no affiliate links.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Blog Meet at Media Makeup - Make Up For Ever

Hi all, today I'll be blogging about the February bloggers meet at Media Makeup where all of their makeup products are from the brand 'Make Up For Ever' aka 'MUFE'. It is a brand that is known worldwide and is actually the second highest-selling cosmetic brand in America. I hadn't had a chance to test out their products until this bloggers meet which was really exciting! I'll guide you through my day with the blogger girls of SA~

(If I could have a display like this in my home... that would be fantastic)

Media Makeup is in fact a makeup school where students can obtain Certificates through the range of courses that they offer.

I made sure that I arrived extra early as I didn't want a case of deja vu happening. If you remember my Beauty Conference post last year, the event was held at this exact place and I happened to arrive late!

This was my outfit by the way - a green polka dot dress:

(SNSD poster on my wall is always great inspiration for looking good)

We sat around a large table (same setting as a meeting) and Bec, the director of Media Makeup, introduced the MUFE brand by giving us some background information on how it all started and how it has become the brand it is today.

 What I love about blogger meets: 
it's appropriate and normal to have your phones out while someone is talking.

 We watched a promo clip of MUFE's Rouge Artist Intense Lipsticks

As well as introducing MUFE, Bec also spoke about the skincare line, Embryolisse and the brand for tools, Seki Edge:

We also got to have a look at some gorgeous false eyelashes by the brand 'Blync'

Next we got to see a makeup demo by Bec where she used one of the Media Makeup students as the model. A very gorgeous model too I must say :)

Firstly Bec removed the makeup that the model was already wearing

 And begun sharing techniques and tips for each step with applying makeup

While this was happening, MUFE products were passed around for us to swatch. Here are my swatches:

One of their most popular products - MUFE HD Foundation. Smoothes on so nicely on the back of my hand

Here is the finished look on the model. Strikingly bold eyes and ready for a night out!

Afterwards we had the chance to purchase any MUFE products with a 20% off one-day only discount for us bloggers but being the good girl that I am, I resisted and didn't make any purchases :)

We were lucky enough to receive a small goodie bag each though! It was very generous of Media Makeup.

 Consisted of two full-sized products and one small-sized one
 MUFE HD Cream Blush - a little goes a long way as it's super pigmented!!
MUFE Uplight Face Luminizer Gel. The samples were way lighter than the one I got. Mine is quite dark! Can you see how shimmery it is?

The cutest lippie ever! I prefer the shade in the tube more than the swatch :( That pale pink by itself won't look that great on my lips. I reckon it'll clash with my skin tone, so I'll make sure to use it with another lipstick.

I had an awesome time and I want to thank Media Makeup and Bec for having us once again for a blog meet. It's the perfect location too because it's central which makes it quite easy for us to find and make our way there. And of course, big thanks to the ABBM organisers for putting together this event.

Hope that there weren't too many pictures. I only selected the best and grouped them into collages where possible. Thank you for reading and I should be back with a new post next week if I'm not too busy with uni work. Fingers crossed :)

Questjen of the week:

'Try before you buy' - a must or are you okay with buying without trying?

Sometimes us beauty bloggers like to purchase products without testing beforehand so that we can do a full trial and write up a review in great detail.

My answer: It is not always a must.

Most of the time I purchase products purely because I am curious and want to try things out right after opening. Testers are great however you don't always get the most out of them i.e. they run out, someone's used them before, they may have been tampered with etc. Some products don't even have testers, such as mascaras. With foundation/concealers, it is definitely a must and I find that it is important to swatch!

Jen xx

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