Sunday, 20 September 2015

Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

There's nothing I dislike more than greasy hair. That unclean feeling when it's midday and your hair already looks like an oil slick, even though you washed it just last night... Yuck. Some of us are unfortunate enough that we can't go more than one day between washes, especially those of us with thinner hair. Which is where dry shampoo comes in. If you've never used this stuff before: GET IT NOW! Trust me, it'll be the most used product in your arsenal, because nothing is better than a clean scalp.

There's a huge range of dry shampoo out there, but I've heard good things about Batiste. Not only are they actually effective, but look at that packaging! Yeah, product design is totally a good thing. I wouldn't mind keeping a couple of cans out on my bathroom counter because they just look so fun!

The product itself is a white powder sprayed out of a nozzle. It doesn't come out wet; on the contrary, it's more like talcum powder, and you'll probably get it all over your floor (so don't spray it over carpet, guys). You spray it onto the roots of your hair, massage it in and comb it out, and it soaks in the oil within seconds.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

I bought the Blush and Original from Priceline, where they were $9.99 for the 200 mL can and $15.95 for the 400 mL can (which is massive, by the way). Pretty pricey, I know, but if you manage to snag them during a sale like I did, you'll get a massive discount (one of the reasons I love Priceline - so many sales!). Batiste also has many other varieties, including tinted dry shampoo for brunettes, redheads and blondes - if you have dark hair, I definitely recommend getting the brunette version because the white powder can be a little hard to comb out if you spray too much.

Between Original and Blush, they are very much the same except in scent. To me, Blush smells more like artificial cherries than anything, and I find that it smells quite strong. Original is much more pleasant, and smells like a mix between citrus and fresh clothes.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

Here's a little comparison of my hair before and after spraying. My hair was super greasy... I didn't wash my hair for three days. The things I do for this blog.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

I went a bit overboard with the spray here, but considering how greasy my hair was, maybe it wasn't too much at all...

Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

Once it is rubbed in and combed out, you can see there's a huge difference. The only downside is that some of the powder is still visible, but that's vastly preferable to walking around with oily hair. That won't be a problem if you have lighter hair than I do.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

So what's the verdict? I love this product! Not only does it smell wonderful, it also mops up grease as easily as... as... polystyrene dissolving in toluene (couldn't think of a better example there). The biggest downside is the price, as it is one of the more expensive types of dry shampoo out there (but things in Australia are usually expensive more often than not); however, the amount you get in the 400 mL can is enough to last you over half a year. I'll definitely be buying again!

Batiste Dry Shampoo Review

What do you think of Batiste dry shampoo? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

No Yeast, No Butter Pizza

No Yeast No Butter Pizza

It's been a month since I've updated, but so much has happened. Mostly lots of labwork and assessments to go through, but more importantly, I (finally) got a camera! A Canon EOS 700D, to be exact. I admit I'm still a fledgling when it comes to handling a DSLR, but I'm very, very excited about all the possibilities. It's going to be a steep learning curve (with you as my guinea pigs) but it's a journey I can't wait to get started on!

On to the food. Yesterday, I had a sudden craving for pizza that not even Zeus himself could have resisted (although that guy doesn't seem to have much willpower anyway). At home, we no longer buy takeout pizza because more often than not, they are simply dripping with grease. Hmm, not so pleasant. I wanted to make my own pizza, but we had no yeast. Or butter. So I looked around the kitchen and decided to make do with what I already had: some baking soda, and lots of Greek yogurt (my mum's a big fan). To be honest, I don't think pizza dough really needs baking soda, but it does give it a little more fluffiness than if I didn't use it. So without further ado, here's a recipe for a no yeast, no butter pizza that'll melt in your mouth.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 3 cups plain flour
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup milk or water
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- Toppings: cheese, tomato paste, ham, vegetables, etc.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F) fan-forced.  Mix the dry ingredients together and make a well in the middle, carefully pouring in the milk and oil. Add the Greek yogurt and mix evenly until the dough is slightly sticky and holds its shape. If it's too wet, add more flour.

2. Roll out the dough on floured baking paper until it is about 1 cm thick. You can also curl up the edges to give a thicker crust.

3. Prebake the crust for about 8 minutes, or until the surface is nicely golden. This is to stop it from getting soggy after the toppings have been added.

4. Take it out and let it cool. Turn your oven to 200°C (390°F) fan-forced. Spread your tomato paste, cheese and whatever else you want. I love basil, so I always sprinkle on a handful of leaves.

5. Bake again for about 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the vegetables have dried out slightly. You want to take it out immediately after it's done, because I've burnt a fair few pizza bases after turning off the oven and leaving them there while I cleaned up. Place it on a cooling rack or on top of a bowl to get air circulating around it.

No Yeast No Butter Pizza

Let me just say that my brothers loved it. But being brothers, I'm sure they'd eat anything I cook anyway. While the base is not as rich as it would be with butter, it's certainly a lot healthier without it, and the oil gives it a nice, light flavour. I might even prefer it to using butter. It sure satisfied my craving!

(Also, I think the bushel of fresh basil I bought looks really pretty. Here's a picture.)

No Yeast No Butter Pizza

Let me know what you think of the recipe!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

DIY Scarf to Kimono

DIY Scarf to Kimono

A couple of years ago, I received a gorgeous pashmina as a gift from a friend who had visited Vietnam. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to wear a pashmina - do I drape it over my head? Wrap it over my shoulders? Wear it like a towel around my body? This thing was bigger than any scarf I had ever owned, and I was truly stumped with ideas. Well, to the back of the closet you go!

This year, however, I began to see lots of kimonos around - and I absolutely love the trend! It's a nice change from all the snug fits we've had from past seasons, and can I just say I've got my summer outfits covered? Simply slip on a dress and a kimono and bam - you'll be the most stylish girl in town.

Here's a quick DIY (complete with terrible drawings!) on how to turn a scarf into a kimono. The only requirement is that your scarf is wide enough to span your body, and long enough to reach your hips. My scarf was extra long, and I wanted to keep the fringe intact, so I cut my sleeves from the top.


1. Fold your scarf in half lengthwise and lay it flat. Cut off the top section wide enough to loosely fit your arms.

2. Pin it together, try it on and decide where to cut. Cut along the dotted lines as shown in the diagram. On the body, cut in a straight line up the centre of the front layer only. This will be the opening for your kimono.

3. Sew it together, and hem any frayed edges.

Now go and enjoy your kimono!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Summer Wishlist

Summer Wishlist

                                             1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Yesterday was one of those days that seem to appear only once in a blue moon - a warm, cloudless day in the middle of winter with the scent of flowers in the air. There's still another 5 months to go before Sydney heats up again, but I'm already looking for the perfect companion to my summer dresses. I usually lean towards timeless, structured pieces, but a little whimsy in the fashion department never hurt anyone, right?

My classes start again tomorrow and boy, am I excited! The past month has whizzed by but I'm glad to have spent the coldest time of the year snuggled up in bed most of the time (and with no small amount of hot tea, either). I'm looking forward to starting my classes again and perhaps catching up with friends over coffee and dessert.

I've been loving the trend of wearing novelty bags. In fact, it might even inspire a DIY! What trends are you enjoying at the moment?

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Body Shop Facial Brush Review

As much as I love my facial scrubs, it's not every week that I will have the freedom to spend some much needed time on myself. Which is where this comes in - the facial brush from The Body Shop. I stumbled across this while I was looking for a hand cream (the pure acetone we use to clean lab glassware is not very nice to hands) and the first thing I noticed was how cute it was! Seriously, this thing fits right into the palm of your hand.

The instructions tell you to pour a small amount of facial wash onto the brush and to rub gently over your face in small circular motions, 2-3 times a week. I find it spreads much easier if you lather the facial wash before you put it on the brush.

I think it's quite useful because I can use it in the shower. The bristles may feel a little stiff, but if that's the case, it's pretty simple to ease off on the pressure when using it on your skin. I use it twice a week with my cleanser, and when I'm finished I let it sit face up in its lid to dry off.

The best part of all is how much makeup it takes off! I was so surprised when my scrub turned orange the first time I used it - if that's what it looks like on the brush, how much makeup must have been left on my face?!

Overall, I really like this tool. The fact that it only cost me $5.95 (whereas similar products may cost upwards of twice that amount) doesn't hurt either... it's become a part of my weekly routine, and I'm pleasantly surprised by how much smoother my face feels.


- Packaging: It came without any packaging other than its tag - no unnecessary plastic! I also love the clear handle and lid.
- Effectiveness: Very effective. It cleaned off all the makeup I never knew I had on my face.
- Softness: Kind of stiff (though the ends are very soft themselves). I'd say go easy on the pressure.
- Convenience: Extremely convenient! It's small enough to take with you on trips or place in your makeup bag.
- Cost: Super affordable. I got it for $5.95.

Would I buy it again? Definitely!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Kiwi fruit, Apple and Banana Smoothie

Kiwi fruit, Apple and Banana Smoothie

Sometimes you wake up and just wanna chug something down and go. I usually have my cereal in the morning, but today I was feeling a little fruity. Luckily, smoothies are one of the easiest things to make (you literally put things into the blender and press a button and have all the work done for you!) so I combined some of my favourite fruits into one delicious drink.

Ingredients (serves 2):
- 2 kiwi fruit
- 1 apple
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup of oatmeal
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tsp of honey (optional)

Dice the fruit into large pieces and blend the ingredients for about 2 min. Perfect for a morning when you're bursting to get on with your day!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Blogging Without A Camera

Blogging Without A Camera

Okay, the title of this post isn't 100% accurate - obviously, I have pictures on my blog, and therefore I must have a camera, right? Well, yes: I take all of my photos using my Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S phone. Why? Because I don't have an actual camera.

To be a blogger, it might seem like owning a DSLR or a point-and-shoot is an absolute must in order to get those crisp, perfectly focused images. And to some extent, that's true: if you own a successful blog, it would simply be embarrassing if your pictures were anything less than professional.

But when you're just starting to dip your toe into the blogging world, you may find yourself in a situation where you can't afford to buy a camera that would give you blog-worthy photos. Sometimes there are other things that take precedence - for example, that engine checkup you've been putting off for the last two months. It's a disheartening topic to think about, because it's difficult to have a blog people will want to keep coming back to when you have to hold yourself up to the same standards of someone who owns a thousand dollar camera.

Blogging Without A Camera

One word of advice: save up for a good camera.

Any good blog must have a good camera. But if you go back all the way in the archives of most blogs, you'll find that in their early days, a lot of big name bloggers didn't have expensive cameras at their disposal. They started out using whatever they had, and often, that was whatever camera they had lying around.

Personally, I'm at that stage where I'm ready to move on to something better (I've been eyeing the Canon EOS 100D for a while now). I've been using my phone since 2012 - that's three years, and at the rate new phones and tablets are being released nowadays, it's positively ancient. If you look through my posts, you'll notice that some of my photos are blurrier than others: that's because it's very hard to manually control my phone's camera focus while I'm taking photos of my work. Often I won't even be able to tell it's blurry until the photo is blown up on my laptop's screen, and by then it's too late because I didn't have any more pictures of that particular step.

Blogging Without A Camera

But there are things you can do to make sure your photos turn out in the best way possible. I know I'm not the best photographer out there, and I still have a lot to learn, but I love tinkering around with any camera I get my hands on and I've learnt a lot about photography that way. I'm writing this blog post mainly because when I first started out, I couldn't find anything about blogging without a camera. It felt kind of... lonely, and that put me off starting a blog for a long time. But now I know there's no hard and fast rule to blogging - you just need to make your content interesting, and let your photos tell a story. To all those beginner bloggers out there, don't give up! You don't need an expensive camera to write a blog. So here are some tips on photographing I wish someone had told me when I first started.

Blogging Without A Camera

1. This is probably a given, but know your camera inside out. You should know how to adjust the focus, the ISO, the exposure, etc. and if you don't, Google it! Sometimes, I find that changing the exposure before I take a photo makes a massive difference to the quality of my pictures because my phone tends to overexpose.

2. Take advantage of lenses, such as these that attach to your phone by olloclip. They run around $100 but they're certainly more affordable than a DSLR camera. On the other hand, if you're looking for something that won't make a dent in your pocket, try using a magnifying glass in front of your camera for macro shots - they work amazingly well!

3. Edit your photos. If you want to upload photos onto your blog, you must edit your photos! Seriously, the difference between a raw photo and an edited version is like comparing a lump of clay with a sculpture. Most professionals use Photoshop, but I don't have that so I like to use the website Photogramio. I also find Gimpshop to be a great free and open-source alternative to Photoshop with pretty much all of the same functions (the only disadvantage here is that you need to download it). When I edit my photos, I usually adjust the brightness and contrast, curves, spot heal, and perhaps change the tone of the photo to become more red or blue, depending on the look I'm going for. Once again, there are plenty of tutorials online on how to adjust your photos just a Google away.

4. Use the rule of thirds as a guide when taking your photos. If you divide the image into a 3x3 grid, your object of interest should lie in one of the intersections of the lines. This will give your photo more dimension than simply having the subject smack bang in the centre of the picture.

5. One further point - and a very important one - is to make sure your horizon is flat!! It irks me so much when I see a photo that is gorgeous in every way, but the photographer has neglected to straighten up the horizon and now it lies slightly off kilter. If you keep your head straight and look to the horizon, no matter where you're standing, you'll see that the horizon is always a flat line running from left to right. If you don't have a horizon in your photo, use other lines as guidance - the vertical edge of your bookshelf, the edge of your table, the stripes of your floorboards, etc. Try to pick out the lines with your eye as you are taking the photo, and have them line up parallel with the left/right or top/bottom sides. If you look at a magazine spread, you'll find that the horizon or the edge where the wall meets the floor is always parallel to the top and bottom edges of the photo.

And there! Those are the most important tips I can think of for beginner bloggers. As long as you have some way of taking photos (even a webcam will do), you're ready to blog. Don't worry about the fact that the resolution of your pictures aren't that great, or that you can't get it to focus correctly - the point of your blog having photos is to complement your content! Make up for it with your stellar writing or creativity, and most important of all, have fun while doing it!

Blogging Without A Camera

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

DIY Wallet Revamp

I've had the same red wallet for four years. It's not particularly attractive and smells like glue on the inside, but so far it's done the job. But when I saw this brown glitter clutch wallet on sale for $5, I snapped it up right away because it was the perfect piece for a DIY. The geometric trend has been hugely popular lately, and this is a great way to introduce some clean, simple lines to your wardrobe without overdoing it.

What you'll need:

  • Two nail polish colours 
  • Wallet
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive contact paper or tape

1. Cut a long, straight strip of contact paper or tape. If you're afraid of damaging the wallet, stick it on your skin a few times to remove some stickiness before using it. 

2. Place the adhesive so its left edge cuts the top of the wallet at 3/4 and the bottom at 1/2 of its length. Start painting the larger area in thin layers and let it dry completely before painting the next layer.

3. Let the paint dry before moving on to the other side - this may take a few days. Repeat step 2 with the other colour, except this time have the right edge of the adhesive sitting at the 3/4 and 1/2 mark.

The wallet is usable straight after it has dried - it might smell a bit for a week or two, but once the smell dissipates, the nail polish will feel nice and smooth and won't crack at all. I can't wait to get some use out of this!

This may be my favourite DIY to date. What do you think?

Monday, 13 July 2015

DIY Chain Bracelet

Somewhere at the bottom of my box of spare parts lies a jumble of broken necklaces and bracelets. Their glory days may have passed, but that doesn't mean they won't be useful! This DIY is an easy way to update your look with a little bit of edginess - and who doesn't love a bit of chain in their outfit? Let's get started!

What you'll need:

- Broken chain necklaces/bracelets
- Jump rings
- A large curb chain bracelet or similar
- Pliers (optional)

1. Attach your thickest chain to the clasp of the curb chain bracelet.

2. Connect the other end to the other clasp, and connect in the middle as well. This will form the scaffold for the other chains.

3. Attach your next chains, making sure they are thin enough to fit through the links of the curb chain. 

4. Start weaving your smaller chains around and through the bracelet in random directions. Make sure to wrap them around your first chain to secure it to the bracelet. Attach them to the other end with another jump ring.

5. Add in any smaller chains, weaving over the top and bottom for an even look. You can even leave the ends to dangle. If any parts are loose, secure using jump rings through the chain links.

Your bracelet is finished! I've been wearing this everywhere - I stack it with a couple of other bracelets. Don't you love it when you turn something broken into something new and even better? 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

I know... I've been missing for 3 months, but I've missed you guys so much! Somehow, uni got the better of me and amongst the never-ending assignments, I simply did not have the time to update (I still don't - I'm two days away from my first final exam but I really needed a break from all that science...), and to apologise, here's a sweet and simple DIY to add a splash of colour to your wall.

What you'll need:

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

- Cardboard (mine was cut from a cereal box)
- Scissors
- A rod/dowel/stick from a tree
- Assorted yarn and rags (I chose a red, black and grey colour scheme)

1. Cut shallow notches into the top and bottom edges of your cardboard about 1.5 cm/0.5 in apart. Make sure they don't go too deep, otherwise your notches will bend and your hanging won't turn out even on the edges.

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

2. Take a piece of your background yarn (choose a neutral colour like black, grey or white) and tie the end to the bottom left corner. Weave the yarn up and down between the notches as you move across.

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

3. I like to start off with my 'end' colour to give my piece some coherence. Take some black (or neutral) yarn and weave in and out across the lines until you have about 5 or 6 rows. You may find it easier to use a darning needle, but I just grabbed the end with my fingers and pulled it across. 

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

4. Now you can start with the other colours! To give my hanging some texture, I chose yarn of different thicknesses, and wove in some fabric strips I cut from old clothes (yay for repurposing!). Make sure each colour block is of a different thickness to the ones around it to give it some interesting variation.

As you weave, make sure not to pull your yarn too tight. It will make your hanging turn into a bottleneck in the middle - if this happens, you will have to go back and loosen up your yarn.

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

5. When you approach the ends, you may want to leave a gap at the top where the yarn fits between the notches. I kept weaving all the way up to the top, because I didn't like the empty space. Leave about 1 cm space for your rod. I also tidied off the bottom and unhooked it from the cardboard, and filled in the space with more yarn.

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

6. Carefully take off one notch at a time and thread the rod through. I tried to keep the little holes facing the same way so they will sit neatly on the rod without twisting.

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

7. Tuck your ends into the back of the hanging with a crochet hook if you have one, or simply use a bobby pin. You should have something like this:

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

8. Now for the fringe! Cut out 30 cm/12 in pieces of yarn in three or fewer colours (I chose the colours that stood out the most). 

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

9. Thread them onto the bottom of the hanging, making sure all of the knots are facing the same way. 

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

10. Once you're done with the fringe, tie some yarn around the rod and hang it up!

DIY Woven Yarn Wall Hanging

My room has a lot of black and red in it, so this looks great! I'm thinking of doing a few more in different colours and patterns. What do you think?