Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick Review

Glowy! Dewy! Shimmery! Goddess-y! All natural-y! These are the things we hope and dream of from adopting highlighter into our lives. The aim of the game is to look healthy and luminous.

Before we continue any further, however, I should preface with some shocking information; I have had the same highlighter since I was 15 years old (aka for 10 years). As in, not just using the same brand, the same exact product. Yup. You can tuck your eyeballs back into their sockets now. While that highlighter had been loved for this entire decade, I knew it was time for an upgrade as I had gone beyond hitting pan and the lid was no longer attached (oops). It just so happened that at this time, Hourglass’ new Vanish Flash Highlighting Sticks had JUST been released! Ready for a fresh start, I moved my little legs as fast as they could take me into the nearest Mecca, swiped this beauty on the back of my hand and in an instant I was sold.

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No flash. Au naturel (aka no filters or editing).

I brought ‘Champagne Flash’ home with me. This stick of gorgeousness gives such a natural luminosity it’s hard to put into words (check out pics below!). In terms of the packaging, the highlighter comes as a wind-up stick in shiny silver. It feels sturdy and looks gorgeous, but the only downside I’d point out is that it is sooo easy to smudge and can look dirty in an instant just from the natural oils in your fingertips.

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The formula is buttery and creamy, is chunk-free and blends into the face easily and seamlessly. Personally, I simply swipe my finger over the stick and dab where I need to dab – plus, the warmth of my finger really helps it to melt into my skin! Simply gorg.

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One layer is all I need for that natural luminous glow we all desire. Extra love for this product as a little bit goes a loooonggg way!

Have a look at this.

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And this!

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And this.

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Sometimes I question why I didn’t pursue a career in modelling (also please don’t judge my post-gym sweaty hair. Or my wonderful, tidy background. Am I the best at taking/styling blog photos, or what?). And no, this is not leftover sweat from my workout, this is alllll Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick baby!

If you’re looking for a new highlighter, I highly recommend checking out this range. There’s a few colour choices depending on your skin tone and what you’re looking for! I am just in love with ‘Champagne Flash’. A Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick will set you back $61.00AUD.

Have you tried Hourglass’ new Vanish Flash Highlighting Sticks yet? If so, let us know what you think down in the comments!

Alix x

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PEANUT BUTTER BAR

It didn’t take much persuasion to get my booty over to the Peanut Butter Bar in Leichhardt, Sydney. My life flashed before my eyes when I saw their video pop up on Facebook, featuring a brownie being drowned in peanut butter from an ever-flowing PEANUT BUTTER TAP. That’s right, you heard (read) me – peanut butter on freakin’ tap.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that this place is in fact HEALTHY? Dishes bumped up with extra protein, decadent desserts made out of pumpkin and dates and coconut milk… of course, not everything on their menu follows this protocol, but for argument’s sake, we won’t focus on those.

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I convinced a pal to come with me, and we weren’t even swayed by the torrential downpours, sudden peak-winter temperature and 1 hour bus journey. We were excited for peanut butter, and no-one and nothing would stand in our way.

Off the bus, lured by the siren of PB (but mostly so we didn’t get soaked from the rain), we sprinted into the café. The decor is very interesting; the walls are donned with brightly painted murals and quotes from sporting greats (see pic for their subtle ode to Arnie). Admittedly it wasn’t quite what I was expecting! But they certainly are aiming for their clientele; this seems like the place to go once you’ve finished a hardcore session in the gym and are after a ‘healthier’ treat.

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Feeling a bit out of place, we made our order: salted peanut butter and choc chip cookie (with a scoop of their protein ice-cream), peanut butter chocolate lava cake (also featuring a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream) and a vegan berry cashew cheesecake. We didn’t travel all that way to order something measly!

Oh my gooey-ness, the lava cake was INSANE! However, after two bites, it became a bit of a struggle as the dish is incredibly rich! The cookie was okay; with the ice-cream on top it was a dream, but the cookie on its own really wasn’t that great – you could really taste the protein-y-ness (what do you mean that’s not a word? Lies).

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Then there was the vegan cheesecake… oh boy. I have to say, I really didn’t enjoy this one at all! There was hardly any flavour, and the texture wasn’t pleasant. It was basically all mush! The base of the cheesecake seemed to essentially be ground up flaxseed, and the top layer with the berries tasted watery. I know vegan food tends to have a reputation for being fairly flavourless, but I have tried some truly tasty dishes in my time. What a shame this one was a disappointment! We ended up leaving it pretty much untouched.

The highlight from our entire spread was the ice-cream. Ooooh it was yum! And the peanut butter of course, although I really wish there was more of it!

For all of our goodies, it was a total of $41.95. Not the cheapest, yet not the most expensive either.

Unfortunately I left feeling heavy, the food sitting stagnant in my belly, thirsty and with the desire to brush the furries off my teeth. Ah, well! Perhaps if we tried different items off the menu, we would’ve had a better experience, who knows! Alas, I can now say I’ve been there, done that.

Have any of you popped to the Peanut Butter Bar before? If so, what did you think?

Alix x

SPICED KALE WITH PINE NUTS

Ahh, the classic side dish. It may not be the main event on your plate, but that doesn’t mean it has to be uneventful and boring! Let me tell you, I have come across one heck of a side dish that I actually ended up eating as my main *guilty*, and holy YUMBALLS it packed a punch! No joke, it was like my tastebuds were singing. This may seem like an exaggeration, but give this recipe a whirl and I promise you’ll see what I mean!

Just look at it. That green! I feel like the real life heart eye emoji.

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INGREDIENTS:
– 1 bunch of kale (de-stemmed & torn into bits)
– 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
– 100g pine nuts
– 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1 tsp ground fennel seed
– 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed

METHOD:
– Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat
– Add your pine nuts and toast them until golden, stirring frequently
– Throw in your chilli flakes, cumin, fennel seed, coriander and garlic
– Cook for a few more mins until the garlic becomes golden and the pine nuts are nicely toasted
– Add in your kale leaves, a bit at a time. Stir them all around until all the leaves have wilted
– Season to taste!

Simple. Tasty. Good for you. It doesn’t get much better than this!

If you make this at home, let me know how you go by commenting below or tagging me on social media! Enjoy!

Alix xx

ASPARAGUS, GOATS CHEESE AND SWEET POTATO FRITTATA

When I think of a frittata, my mind automatically takes me back to my living-in-a-dorm University days. On a Sunday night, the canteen would present to us leftovers from the week… in frittata form. Think stodgy, misshapen and strangely brown lumps (drooling yet?). Needless to say, this skewed my opinion on the classic frittata and turned my previous “ooh yum” into a “get it away from me!!”. This was unfortunate as my dad used to make mind-bogglingly delish frittatas at home growing up!

Well, I am pleased to report that my opinion on frittatas has now officially turned back into a “hell yes!”. What restored my faith is this little guy here:

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Asparagus, goats cheese and sweet potato frittata. Asparagus? Yum. Sweet potato? Yummo. Goats cheese? OH SWEET LORD GET IN MY MOUTH. This combination is a dream, and I paired it up with a nice tangy, peppery radish and rocket salad.

I was SO lucky to be plucked from the masses to win a box of fresh veggies from Matt Moran and his restaurant Chiswick here in Sydney. Included were the asparagus spears and radishes, which is what inspired this whole ensemble!

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To recreate this at home (and I highly recommend you do!), you will need:

INGREDIENTS:
– 6 eggs
– 4 spears of fresh asparagus
– 1/2 a sweet potato
– 1/2 tsp salt
– Cracked black pepper (to taste)
– 20g unsalted butter
– Good quality goats cheese or curd
– Fresh parsley

METHOD:
– Preheat grill in the oven to 180°C
– Boil sweet potato in its skin. Once it’s cooked through, drain and put aside to cool
– Once the sweet potato is cool enough to handle, peel the skin off and dice into cubes
– Slice the asparagus spears on an angle (into ~4-5 segments each spear. Remember to chuck the woody bottoms!)
– Place the asparagus in a small saucepan and pour boiling water over the top
– Lightly whisk the eggs with the salt and pepper and chopped parsley (a good pinch)
– Melt the butter in a non-stick pan (be sure not to let the butter brown)
– Pour your egg mixture in, drain your asparagus and then scatter them in the pan along with the sweet potato
– Turn the heat down, and let it cook for a few minutes until the sides set (approx 2-3 mins)
– Place the pan under the grill and allow to cook until the top is nice and golden, and the edges have slightly puffed up
– Ease the frittata out of the pan with a spatula and pop onto a plate – top with goats cheese, extra parsley and cracked black pepper

Et voilà! It’s so incredibly light and simple, but don’t be fooled – it’s mightily delicious.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know if you whip it up at home!

Alix xx

FENTY BEAUTY: WORTH THE HYPE?

I am very picky when it comes to foundation. To put this in perspective, I’ve rotated the same 2 brands for the last 9 years (yep, you read that right). What can I say? I’m a creature of habit! I have tried and tested a few others, but I stuck with what I loved. However, one of my absolute faves is in need of replacement due to the brand deciding to test on animals. WHY NARS, WHY?!

Cue the looming release date of Fenty Beauty. Boy, was there a hype! And, ladies and gents, I bought the hype. The buzz around this line was absolutely unbelievable, and possibly to do with the fact that it’s curated by Rihanna. Just maybe. How could I resist? I sashayed my booty to the nearest Sephora and got my mitts on the Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear foundation and one Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick. One of the greatest things about this foundation line is the range of shades available – I’m so pleased a broader range of skin tones is being catered for! Good going, Rihanna.

I was matched with the shade 180 (Light Warm) and picked up the Shimmer Skinstick in Yacht Lyfe, because it looked like a fabulous dupe for NARS’ Orgasm blush which is also another favourite that will have to go… <insert crying fit here>.

Maybe it’s because I went in with such high standards, but I have to say, my two purchases have been a bit of a let down. The worst of all being the foundation.

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I am so sad about this one! I don’t know what it is – some people absolutely love it, but for me it doesn’t work at all. I’ve tried it with different primers, without primer, applying with a makeup brush, applying with a damp sponge… no matter what I did, it would look terrible. Firstly, it dries at the speed of light so you have to work in sections on your face, and it’s not an easy one to blend out evenly. It’s a very matte foundation, which I had mentally prepared for and was set to highlight the sweet nibblits out of my face, but here’s the thing – it cakes and clings to my dry skin, which is phenomenal as I don’t have dry skin. Each pore was accentuated, and it almost looked as though I had weird little hairs there, like a little patch of fuzz had sprouted. I know, it sounds crazy! And it is. The product would cake around my chin, nose and in-between my eyebrows. I’ve never experienced anything like it before in my life. I will attest to its staying power, however, as it would stay put all damn day. This would be a fantastic thing if it actually looked good on me! In saying this though, I have two friends who are very happy with their Fenty foundation, one with dry skin and the other oily combination – so it’s hard to nail what it is about my normal to oily skin that this stuff just doesn’t agree with.

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Next up we have the Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Yacht Lyfe – I love the colour of this! It’s a beautiful golden shimmery coral colour. As aforementioned, I was stoked to find this as I thought I could replace my beloved NARS Orgasm blush. I tested it on my hand in-store, buffed it with my other hand and I was a happy gal. As it turns out, when it’s on your actual face it’s near impossible to blend out with a brush. With your hand? No problem. I’ve resorted to dotting and dabbing it around my cheek area until I’m satisfied with the colour, and then I blend it out with my hand. However, it’s a very glowy product. There’s a bucketload of golden shimmer in it which is gorgeous, but when it’s on the apple of your cheeks, it’s very easy to go overboard. It’s a tricky one!

Overall, I wish I never bought the foundation (sorry Riri), but I’m glad the Match Stix has come into my life. I’m still experimenting with the best way to apply it, and I’m keen to test out other colours too. What I love about these sticks is there’s such an array of interesting colours, you can really get creative with them!

The foundation will set you back $50AUD and the Match Stix $37AUD.

Have you tried Fenty beauty? If so, let me know down in the comments what you think!

Alix xx

MATCHA WHITE CHOC CHIP COOKIES

Cookies are the cure all, fix all for any situation. Feeling sad because you spilled your freshly brewed coffee down your favourite sweater first thing on a Monday morning? Cookie. Starving, but there’s nothing in the fridge to eat but mouldy old cheese leftover from girls night 4 weeks ago? Cookie(s). You forgot that it’s your friend’s birthday today? Shit… have a cookie! Or, give one to them (seriously, try this, it’s foolproof). And friends, do I have a cookie recipe to share with you today.

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Matcha White Choc Chip Cookies with Macadamia Nuts. Holy yumballs! Prepare your tastebuds now – these are crispy, sweet, and dare I say, good for you? Okay, that last part may be a bit of a stretch. But honestly, matcha can do some amazing things for you and your bod. If you haven’t heard of this supercharged green powder, let me give you a brief rundown: matcha is the powdered down version of green tea, so instead of just the infused water, you’re consuming the entire green tea leaf. Think of the benefits of green tea, and times it by 100. Boom! Clearer skin, boosted metabolism, increased stamina and mental clarity… the list goes on.

On its own, matcha can be quite bitter and grassy. But, infused with other sweeter things, for example in a latte or as a cookie, it’s absolutely delicious.

Here’s recipe to make these neon bikkies:

Makes: approximately 36 cookies (or 18 GIANT cookies *finger guns*)
Prep: ~15 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes

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Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Matcha Powder (less if you want a lighter matcha taste!)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
1 Cup Raw Caster Sugar
1/2 tsp of Salt
1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
2 Cups White Choc Chunks
2 1/4 Cups of Plain Flour
85g Macadamia Nuts (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Sift & mix dry ingredients together in a big bowl (flour, baking soda & matcha). Mix until well combined.

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  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light.
  4. Mix the eggs, vanilla extract and salt into your wet mixture.
  5. Pour in the flour mixture, adding a bit at a time, folding just until the flour has been properly incorporated.
  6. Time to add in your white choc chunks and macadamia nuts (permission to steal a few of your white choc bits).
  7. With a spoon, scoop out the mixture and place onto a tray lined with baking paper. Space the cookie dough blobs about an inch apart from each other, as they’ll expand in the oven!

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  8. Press lightly on each blob with a fork – don’t worry about making them look pretty! We’re going for a nice rustic look here.

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  9. Pop in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes, or until they begin to go slightly golden in colour. If you want the cookies even greener, you could sacrifice a minute or two off the overall bake time!
  10. Kitchen dance break. Time to finally lick the spoon!
  11. Once done, place your cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.
  12. Enjoy!

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Fun Fact: the first time I made these, I didn’t realise my kitchen was sans egg beaters and a cooling rack. It took hours and literal sweat and tears to whisk that butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Totally worth it. Oh, and turns out an oven rack can absolutely double as a cooling rack. Nifty.

Let me know if you give these a go!

Alix xx

MILK_SHAKE SENSORIAL MINT SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER

My hair: an ongoing, uphill battle to de-slick, de-frizz and de-tangle. The top half of my head is prone to grease, and my dyed ends are inclined to become scraggly and dry. To my delight, I have two completely different problems on one noggin! I felt compelled to write this blog post today, as I bared witness to the full power of these two bottles of magic. Upfront I just want to say, THANK YOU MILK_SHAKE. Thank you for being the best and just an all-round good reliable pal!

Okay, taking a step back, let me tell you a tale: a vibrantly red, sweaty girl (me) waddles home post-workout, 4 days into not washing her locks (cute). A shower! Yes. That’s what she needs. She proceeds to the bathroom, excited to feel so fresh and so clean (clean). She takes out her hair lacky and… her eyes widen in horror. Her jaw drops in disbelief. Her hair hasn’t budged. It stayed slick in the same pony-tail shape! Yikes.

In case I wasn’t clear enough, this story is about yours truly. And so, to kick this grease in the butt, I definitely needed something heavy duty! Enter: Milk_Shake’s Sensorial Mint Shampoo & Conditioner.

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I stumbled across this dynamic duo about 1.5 months ago, and at the time there wasn’t much online to tattle on how good (or bad) they were. However, I’m familiar with the brand and absolutely adore their Whipped Cream Leave-In Conditioner (seriously, if you haven’t heard of this stuff, I 2000% encourage you to do a swift google or give it a try. It’s pure heaven!), so I took a leap of faith and chucked them in my lil basket.

I was eager to try something new, something earth-friendly. The bottles are not only eye-catching and calming to look at, but they are also biodegradable. Win. The organic minty-ness is there not only to make your nostrils happy, but to help stimulate hair growth and revitalise your hair and scalp. Double win. Also containing sage and fruit extracts of papaya, raspberry, mango and blackberry your hair will be boosted with extra shine and vitality. Triple win?!

I think minty shampoos are divine! The only taste I’d had were from testers, but I definitely enjoyed what they were bringing to the table. Maybe it’s just me, but using this scent in the shower makes me feel invigorated and fresh and revived. Some may think that’s a bit much for a shampoo and conditioner to achieve, but I stand my ground! So I was very excited to give these a whirl.

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Made for using after an intense gym sesh or sweaty summer’s day, the shampoo comes out as a clear gel, while the conditioner comes out a smooth white cream. I shampoo twice in my hair-washing routine, and I love to really work and massage this shampoo into my hair and scalp. The first round doesn’t work up too much of a lather, but the second round is definitely nice and foamy. The mint is cooling and really very lovely! The conditioner I slather all over my ends and I leave it there for about 5 minutes before rinsing.

It’s baffling that my mane was able to change from a mouldable, greasy, wiry mess to lusciously light, lustrous, soft, and flowy hair. It actually moves in the wind!! My hair is also thicker and more easily managed. A truly heart-warming tale.

The only downside I find is that the smell isn’t pure minty goodness. Because there’s added other bits, the smell is transformed into what I pick up as freshly mowed grass. While I do enjoy this smell, I prefer it when I’m wandering around outdoors on a sweet day in spring, and not particularly when I’m rubbing it all over my head. But hey, a small price to pay for an effective result!

At around $26 per 300ml bottle, it’s not exactly the cheapest option out there, but I personally think for the finish you get, it’s worth it! I’m more than happy to keep these in my life, however I will continue my hunt for the perfect pure minty shampoo and conditioner.

Alix xx