How To Make Your Own 3D Needle Felted Paperclips

I'm excited about this post because it's more complex than the tutorials that I've shared with my readers. One of my tutorials was on how to make your own tassel paperclips, and while that one is fun, it's really simple to make. I had another tutorial in which you could add a ribbon page marker to any book with a spine, which is also relatively simple and didn't require more than a few minutes and basic materials.

This one, however, takes some time and effort, and a lot of swearing as you stab yourself in the fingers. At least a hundred times in my case. I was lucky no one was at home or else they would be hearing expletives coming from my bedroom every minute or so. What can I say? I'm clumsy, even if I'm quite nimble with my fingers. I think impatience may have a lot to do with the multiple puncture wounds in my fingertips...

I've made a few of these to date, two of which were for my friend Cat, and the clips that I made for her bear almost uncanny resemblance to her two pups.

I decided to go with a hedgehog this time, as I found this little packet at Daiso the other week. These little kits are amazing for first timers as they include all of the necessities that you need for needle felting, including a special needle with notches in it to help push the wool down and lock it in there. They usually include the exact amount of wool that you need for the item you want to recreate, plus a little ball chain, eye parts, a round jump ring and an instructional booklet. I didn't use the eyes supplied in the kit because I was making a smaller hedgehog, and the eyes would look disproportionate to the body.

I'm making the hedgehog for my paperclip half the size of the one pictured on the little package from Daiso, or else it'll be a bit too big for the paperclip.

I used all of the wool supplied in the kit and ended up with a hedgehog that was almost two inches tall. The reason why there's a difference in sizes between my hedgehog and the one shown on the kit is that I needle it to the point where it is firm when squeezed. This helps to prevent it from being torn apart or damaged easily. The one on the kit is lightly felted to make it appear fluffy and softer, which makes it weaker to use as an accessory.

Always pull the needle at the same angle that you inserted it in, because shifting the angle tends to break the needle easily. It is for this reason why having spare needles on hand is a good idea. I really like Daiso for this reason because replacement needles are so cheap compared to buying them from Spotlight. Daiso also stocks coloured bundles of wool which gives you more variety to choose from. 

Wool felt
Felting needle
Paperclip (5 - 6cm paperclips are the ideal size for the hedgehog I'm making)
Sponge or foam
Sharp scissors

1. Prepare the workspace and equipment. It is really handy to have everything within reach so you don't have to put down your work to find what you need. One, wool tends to get a bit messy and scatter little fibres all over the place, so working quickly and efficiently reduces that to a minimum. Two, for some reason, my cats really like playing with the piece that I'm working on when I'm not around.

2. Separate the wool into portions. The instructional booklet gives you an idea of how much you would need for each part. I used half the white for the body, 3/8ths for the head, and a scant 1/8 for the ears. One-quarter of the beige was set aside for the limbs, and the rest used for the back. A small portion of the dark brown was used to mark the nose and mouth, and the rest was for the back as well. I used some black wool I had on hand to make the eyes.

3. Separate the wool intended for the body of the hedgehog into four sections. Tie one around the paperclip so that the paperclip is firmly wedged in the finished piece and cannot come off on its own unless forcibly removed. With the needle, and foam in place below the wool, poke holes into the knot, carefully avoiding the paperclip itself so as to not break the needle. However, do go as closely as possible to the paperclip to make it nice and tight so that it doesn't make the finished piece flop around on the clip.

4. Once you've done the initial step of securing the body, or the core, to the clip, it's time to start wrapping the rest of the length around the knot and the paperclip, so that it takes shape and secures the clip some more. Keep stabbing as you go along. Loosen and straighten the next section of wool, and wrap it around the body, poking frequently to keep it in place. Repeat for the third and fourth sections. Keep on stabbing until the body forms an oval shape and becomes dense.

6. To make the head, roll 2/3 of the wool so that it ends up looking like a swiss roll. Using the needle, poke it from all directions, although you want to try and maintain a triangular shape for the snout. Loosen and straighten the 1/3 you've set aside, and coat the head with it. I like to apply the length in the direction of real fur on animals, so I've gone from under the head, to the front and over the snout before securing it on the back of the head and then doing the sides in the same direction. Make sure to keep the head a little softer than the body for the next step.

7. To secure the head to the body, attach it by pushing the needle into the head as far as it can go to join head and body together, and go at it from the sides, the back, and upwards from the body as well. To make the ears, separate the final white portion into two. Fold one on in on itself, and fold again. Stab with the needle, flipping the wool over to the other side and stabbing it until it forms a flat rounded paddle. Repeat for the other ear, and then attach to the top of the head.

8. To make the face, separate the little portion of the dark brown wool into two equal pieces. Twist one tightly to make a thread, and fold it in half. Needle the fold into the place where the nose would be, and then work your way down slightly before separating the wool and twisting the ends outwards, stabbing it into two curves for the mouth. Cut off the ends once you've gotten the mouth that you want. Roll the other half of the dark brown piece into a ball and stab it until it forms a round shape. Attach it to the face right on top of where you marked the nose. Take two very thin pieces of black wool and roll each one into a ball. Poke until two tiny balls have formed, and trim off any hanging pieces of wool. Attach to the face, and keep stabbing until the eyes become smaller and sit in the eye sockets, rather than sitting on the face.

9. The quarter of the beige wool needs to be divided into four equal pieces, and each one rolled into a ball and stabbed until a short, fat log is formed. Attach one on either side of the body, just below the head, and the rest on either side at the bottom to represent hind legs.

10. Combine the rest of the beige and dark brown wool to make a mottled mix for the back of the hedgehog. I do this by placing one colour on top of the other, and pulling them apart and layering them several times to get an even distribution of the two colours. I started attaching some to the hedgehog from the top of the head, twisting/curling it down the sides of the face, stabbing as I go along. Keep on applying small sections to the head and body, twisting or bending the wool to create texture, until you've used it all up and have rounded out the back and the head so that it looks like a shell around the hedgehog, rather than a secondary colour to their coat.

11. Use the scissors to give the hedgehog a trim of all its loose threads. It'd take a really long time otherwise to push all of the fibres into the piece, so trimming them really cuts them down to a minimum. Pun intended.

If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to leave it in a comment. I'll help as best as I can, but please keep in mind that I'm still new to the art of needle felting. It's relatively simple to pick it up and learn how to do it, especially with the help of a few videos on YouTube. It's amazing what one can create with a lump of wool. However, using real wool is a bit of an ethical problem for me so I'm hoping I could figure out a way to needle felt with acrylic or even cotton.

I really wanted to post this yesterday, but I didn't get the time or the opportunity to do it as soon as I got home from work. I was also really tired as soon as I went to bed I could barely wash my face of makeup. I've come out with a new posting and blogging schedule, one that works better with my work schedule and should get things back on track. I find that I can't post on Wednesdays as the day is short and often taken up by my loved ones or by running errands. As such, my new posting schedule is on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday nights.

Here's hoping that this new schedule works out for the best!

What kind of tutorials are you guys looking for on the blog?


Harry Potter | Ravenclaw Inspired Makeup

It is no secret that I'm a huge fan of Harry Potter. What's not to love, though? You've got friendship, love, important life lessons, magic and a whole world that you can get lost in. I'm a Hufflepuff, through and through, and it is a very accurate sorting. I possess qualities from the other houses, but I'm also too loyal for my own good.

I'm going to do makeup inspired by each of the houses. I've seen lots of looks online, and while most of them are creative and fun, they don't quite represent the houses and their traits accurately. I wanted to save Hufflepuff for last, so I'm doing Ravenclaw first before making my way through the other houses.

Ravenclaw, to me, is a House that does not put so much of an emphasis on their appearance. Not just because they're the most studious house, but also because you rarely hear of anyone from Ravenclaw primping and preening themselves. If anything, they liked to accessorise and wear nice clothing. Cho Chang was said to look very pretty at the Yule Ball, but she was already very pretty otherwise, and so that leads me to think she didn't wear so much makeup. Luna Lovegood loved to wear her curious jewellery more than dressing up.

So, when I think of Ravenclaws, I think of students from prestigious schools like Yale or Princeton. In fact, I would say that Rory, from Gilmore Girls, embodies the average Ravenclaw perfectly. Fresh-faced, minimal makeup with flushed cheeks and a gloss to the lips. I don't imagine a lot of Ravenclaws to be very tan either, as they most likely would prefer to sit in the comfort of their Common Room or the library as they study.

So, today, I'm going to go with the Natio BB Cream as the base, because that's as natural as you can get while hiding most of the imperfections on the face. I went with the RCMA KA Series palette to conceal acne scarring, redness and discolouration under my eyes. I also employed a bit of the LA Girl HD Pro Conceal in Green to correct the redness on some areas on my face. I set my face with the Australis Ready Set Go Pressed Finishing Powder and added some illumination to my chin and forehead with the Makeup Revolution Radiant Highlighter in Breathe. I added a bit more of a glow to the tops of my cheeks with the Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlight in Radiant Lights.

I applied the Milani Rose Blush in Tea Rose to my cheeks, and a tiny bit of the Pixi bronzer in Summertime to the hollows of my cheeks to define it slightly. I used the Freedom Brow Pomade in Ash Brown to lightly fill in sparse areas in my brows and then prepped my eyes with the Wet n Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer. I used the Champers shade in the I Heart Makeup Pink Fizz palette all over my eyes and Drink on my brow bone. I applied Party to the lid and blended it out, and then Flute to the inner corners. Pop went along the top lid, and then I deepened that using the Triple Fudge shade from Too Faced Chocolate Bar. I blended it out with a dense pointed brush and then I went along the bottom lid using the same brush, picking up a touch of Party and Pop.

I finished my eyes using the e.l.f Studio Mascara Primer before applying the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. I find that the Too Faced Mascara doesn't quite stand up to a life behind glasses, so that's why I need to use the primer. Finally, I used the Freedom Makeup Lipstick in Whispers from the Bare Collection.

As you can tell, this look was quite minimal, but it still had that fresh-faced, youthful look without being too overpowering. There was no blue in this look, as I can't imagine Ravenclaws sporting blue eyeshadow unless it was to support their team in a game of Quidditch. I went with some bronze, as that is one of two Ravenclaw colours. I had fun putting myself in the mindset of a Ravenclaw and coming up with a look that truly reflected the house. I can't wait to do either Slytherin or Gryffindor next, as they will be a bit more dramatic, especially Slytherin.

Since when are Slytherins not dramatic, anyways?

Which house are you most looking forward to seeing in this series?


How To Make Your Own Tassel Paperclips

Here's my second post for the week, and I think I'm actually getting things back on track. Sure, I only published two posts last week, but it was a bit full on then with work. This week, however, looks like it'll be a lot better. I'm trying quickly to make sure I can have this published tonight. I have work tomorrow, so I need to be in bed by 10. I went to the city today because a Japanese woman visited my work yesterday as she wanted to see what deaf schools were like in Australia. Being deaf herself, she's taught children Japanese sign language for a number of years.

She was interested in learning Auslan, and I was also interested in learning JSL. She was only in Melbourne for a few days before heading to Sydney, so I suggested that we meet today for lunch and coffee. It turned out to be a great idea, as we both learned a lot and it was fun. I took Misato to a Korean restaurant, as she wasn't interested in Japanese or Chinese cuisine, and then we went for macarons at La Belle Miette, before moving over to the cafe next door for some coffee.

I'm so surprised that I didn't stop by Daiso or someplace else to buy more stationery, considering how crazy I've been lately. For some of you that may not have read my previous post, I've been planner-obsessed and so my willpower is rather weak when I look at washi, stickers, and printables.

However, because I'm on a tight budget, I need to make do with DIY projects instead of buying everything on my wishlist. A couple of months ago, I showed my readers how to make a ribbon page marker, and now I want to show everyone how to make their own tassel paper clips. It is really straightforward and simple to make, requiring no more than a few minutes for each paperclip. I love that something so cheap, and so simple, could turn out so cute. I've made a number of these already, and I plan (pun intended) on making more once I figure out where I put the rest of my yarn.

You can use any type of yarn that you have on hand or prefer. I like using acrylic so that I don't support the wool industry so much. Try to stick with yarn from a skein, not loose threads that have been scrunched up into a ball, or coiled into a tiny ball. The thread of yarn won't be as straight otherwise, and so will stick out at awkward angles on the paperclip. You can hold the clip over a steamy kettle so that the vapours make it easier to manipulate the strings but to be honest, that's more work than it's worth and can result in burns.

Materials required:
5cm (2") paperclips
A blunt pointy implement of some kind, like a hairpin.

1. Cut two lengths of yarn, each about 15-20cm long (6-12"), and set aside. Wind yarn around two of your fingers, close to your knuckles, as this results in a straighter hem on the tassel. Regular yarn should be wound about 12 times, whereas thinner ones like the multi-coloured skein in the picture should be wound about 24 times, otherwise it would look quite sparse.
2. Remove the yarn from your fingers carefully, and take one of the lengths you set aside. Wrap the length around the ring of yarn twice, before tying it tightly on the underside with a double knot. Leave the lengths hanging loose.
3. Thread the ring onto the paperclip, and make sure that the knot is hidden underneath the yarn. Pinch the yarn in one hand while wrapping the second length around it near the top, just below the clip. Wrap it firmly (but not too tightly) five or six times, and tie both ends tightly with a double knot.
4. Tuck the knot into the coil with a blunt and pointy object so that the ends lay flat along the rest of the yarn and blends in seamlessly.
5. Slide the scissors into the loops and cut through them. Afterwards, give the ends a trim so that the edge is straight. Turn it this way and that, pinching it between your fingers to inspect and cut off excess thread.

You can skip step 2 if you want, but I find that it looks nicer and more rounded when the yarn is tied at the top of the tassel. Below is a reference picture of one with the top tied, and one without.

I plan to post a few more tutorials over the course of this month, and perhaps the next, for planning. One will be on how to make your own 3D felted paperclips, and another on how to make a ribbon tassel, which is similar to this one but needs a bit more effort. I might also have a tutorial on how to modify a basic printable on Photoshop so you can create your own themed monthly or weekly layout.

I'm eagerly awaiting for the arrival of my new planner, and the other planning goodies that Cat is sending. It's time to get my arse back on track, and what better way to do so than with an activity that's creative and therapeutic?

What kind of tutorials would you like to see?


My Newest Obsession | My Planning Wishlist

So, here's the deal, my friend Cat and I had our first friendiversary earlier this year, and the theme for first anniversaries is paper. We thought we'd incorporate the theme into our next care package swap. That means we have to send each other something paper-based. She let on that she bought me the MAMBI Classic Happy Planner. I initially had no idea what it was, so I looked it up and that unleashed a monster. A hobby that incorporates scrapbooking elements and organisation?! How could I resist the temptation?

This is the stock photo of the planner she bought for me. Marble?! Rose Gold?! Oh, my...

Funnily enough, this swap is pretty much paper-based save for a couple of things, a stark contrast to our previous care packages. Our first swap was laden with lots of snacks from our country as well as a handful of skincare and beauty products. The second swap was chock-a-block full of makeup I had to make some space in my drawers. Finally, the latest care package, in January, was for Christmas and our birthdays, so we went a bit overboard in buying each other really nice makeup alongside a few small things.

I suppose, after the dent that the Christmas and birthday gifts made to our bank balances and annoyed our significant others, it's probably a good idea we went with planner supplies this time. I had fun curating a bunch of goodies for Cat's planner, as well as making a few matching clips and charms to go with it as well. I also included a bunch of washi samples. I'm also in the process of finishing her surprise cover, I just need to work out the sizing and then get it laminated at Officeworks. I'm loving the matching gold key charms that I made for Cat and myself, with the teal and violet rose charms.

My latest obsession is stationery, and that's a very dangerous obsession because I pretty much want everything I find online. I've been making my own themed sticker kits because I can't justify spending a few bucks on printables or more for printed sticker kits on Etsy, when I'd only use them once or twice. It adds up. Making my own means I can simply take the files and sticker papers to Officeworks and have them printed for a fraction of the price. However, I would love to buy some functional stickers from Etsy because I'd get a lot of use out of them.

I have so many things I want to get from Aliexpress! It's so hard to resist the offerings of washi tape because there's such a diverse variety and they are so cheap. My cart is as long as my arm, if not longer, and I don't think I'll stop anytime soon. I just add them to the cart and let them sit for ages while I mull over them. To date, I've bought only two tapes from Aliexpress, if anyone can believe that!

The last one is perfect for when I need to mark days that I work, as I can colour in the cups to match the layout I choose for the week.

I don't have many things on my wishlist for Wish, but the select few that I have on there are the ones I haven't been able to find elsewhere yet.

Etsy is such a weakness of mine, yet I haven't bought anything from there. I don't know if I'm able to justify paying the amount for stickers when the exchange rate and shipping costs is a bit too steep for the product itself.

I cannot wait to begin decorating my new planner as soon as it arrives. I'm looking forward to playing play around with new layouts and themes, and I've already got ideas for a couple of weeks in July. My washi collection is increasing steadily, and I imagine it won't be long before it gets to the point where I'll need to dedicate a desk drawer to them. According to Cat, I'm to expect the addition of quite a few more tapes to my collection. I went to Daiso the other day, the one on Swanston Street just next to Telstra, and found that they had a bigger range of washi than they used to. I hope their collection grows to properly reflect those at the Daiso stores found in Japan. 

I want to thank Naomi for bringing home a bunch of tapes while she was in Japan, they're unlike most I've found here, and I just love having a unique variety to choose from. I'm particularly fond of the gold foil mushroom tape, as it just looks so earthy yet classy! I've got more tapes than what is displayed in this post but I'm going to do a separate one later this month showcasing my collection. My next post is a tutorial on how to make your own tassel paper clips, and later on, I'll also show everyone how to make their own ribbon tassel key charm.

Does anyone use a planner that they decorate? What's your favourite part of planning?


The Mission To Improve My Skin #8

Life has been really busy lately, and I've completely neglected this blog in favour for more important matters, such as helping organise my nephew's first birthday party. I also made and decorated his cake, four dozen sugar cookies and as many cupcakes. It was themed after Giggle and Hoot, so I had to work with an orange and blue theme, which was super cute. I made Swiss meringue buttercream for the cake and cupcakes, and it produced the silkiest and lightest buttercream that I've ever tried. I used Buttery Nuttlex for the butter component because of Jasper, my nephew,  who is allergic to dairy. It tasted exactly like the real thing, if not better.

I had to take yesterday off from work because I woke up with a really sore back that made it so difficult to walk or sit. I was in so much pain that lasted through the night, and it's still really difficult to sit down for a long period of time. It's a lot more bearable than it was yesterday or the day before, so I should be able to power through at work tomorrow, hopefully.

Now that life is no longer as busy, I should be able to get everything back on track and have things going more smoothly for the month of June. Cat and I are sending each other our care packages sometime in the coming weeks, and I can't wait for her to receive her new goodies. The funny thing is that this time it's more stationery-based rather than beauty, as she's gotten me into the world of planning.

Why? Because she bought me a Happy Planner and I'm a creative person, that's why. In the span of two weeks, I've gone from owning 3 washi tapes to having over 20. Mostly thanks to Naomi after she bought them for me in Japan.

Anyhoo, it's the end of May and it's about damn time I posted this after missing out on last month.

Sunday 2 April
Today was my cousin's son's Christening, and even though I don't agree with the idea, I attended the event. My face was a bit too greasy for my liking because I had just exfoliated my skin with the Nip+Fab Glycolic Acid Fix.

Sunday 9 April
I find that neglecting my skincare really makes a huge difference to how my skin reacts. One, when I skip my skincare routine, I find myself picking at my skin, and everyone knows that's a recipe for pimples. Two, my skin dries out quite a bit, yet becomes super oily, and it results in a lot of texture. I'll be honest with you here - I have not been keeping consistent with my skincare routine. It is very sporadic and there are often a day or two where I just go without a lick of moisturiser. I'm starting to be more diligent again with my skincare, and on day two I'm noticing a reduction in texture. I'm also using half as much moisturiser on top of the Hylamide Hyaluronic Acid Serum, and that's helped a lot with the stinging while keeping my skin hydrated.

Friday 14 April
I really need to kick this horrible habit of picking at my skin, it's not doing me any favours and just makes my foundation look awful because of all the scabs and craters I keep causing. I also have to drink more water - I barely drink more than one bottle a day, and that's shameful. I'm down to just three or four products when I do my skincare routine, and I find that the condition of my skin hasn't gotten any worse. I'd go so far as to say that my skin prefers it this way. I wonder if I should ease up on how often I use the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid toner, because I use it twice a day. I apply it before I apply the Hyaluronic Acid Serum, which I use in the mornings. 

Tuesday 18 April
I pretty much let my skincare slide on Sunday due to being busy and lazy to find the time to do my skincare routine in the morning and the evening, respectively. I've got this massive under-the-skin pimple that isn't visible, except for a very faint purplish mark, on my cheek, and it's sore when I apply pressure to it. I had a similar one on the left of my chin, which I mercilessly attacked, causing the skin to become flaky and scab over, even though there's no blood.

Monday 1 May
I've been dreadfully busy the past week or so, packing up my stuff to move back to my mum's. As a result, not only have I neglected my blog, I've also neglected my skincare. I've gone days without a lick of cleanser, though I made some effort to use moisturiser twice a day. At least this way my skin wouldn't go dry and I wouldn't give into the habit of picking at my face. I switched back to my old Natio favourite, the Age Restore Cleansing Milk, as I find that to work better with my skin. I'm limiting the use of the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid toner to just once or less than that per day, to see if it makes a long term difference. The lack of cleansing has caused some of my pores to become really clogged.

Sunday 14 May
I ordered The Ordinary's Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA moisturiser and it arrived just a few days ago. I've been using it ever since, and it is great. It's non-greasy, doesn't leave a residue and sinks in quickly. My skin hasn't broken out, nor has it developed dry patches. I'm actually closer to a better routine for my skin, and I'm even finding fewer pimples these days. I had one above my lip, but that was hormonal, as it was approaching that time of the month.

Sunday 21 May
I'm actually on the right path for once when it comes to my skincare, and I could not be more happy. I'm experiencing fewer pimples overall, and my complexion is evening out more and more as the days go on. I no longer use Sukin in my skincare routine, as I found out people were reporting breakouts with their skincare range. Not only that, they're also packed full of oils and other ingredients that don't serve any particular purpose. Since I've stopped using them, I see a huge improvement. I'm looking forward to using up the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner so I can replace it with The Ordinary's one that has a higher Glycolic Acid content. They've also got a chemical exfoliating mask that looks powerful enough to get right into my blackheads and clogged pores.

Wednesday 31 May
The Ordinary's Natural Moisturizing Factors moisturiser has become my favourite moisturiser to date. I love that it doesn't leave a greasy residue, and it deeply hydrates my skin without feeling so heavy. My skin doesn't get as oily as it used to get, but it feels much smoother and softer. I've not used the Mario Badescu toner much in the past couple of weeks due to laziness, but I think that's why I've still been getting small pimples in the most random places where I don't normally get them. My skin feels a little dry at times, but that is when I've become too lazy or too tired do my routine.

I'm really excited about getting my planner from Cat, because I'll actually be able to start organising things better, including this blog. I'll have a checklist for my skincare, to remind me to take my supplements and to keep track of my water intake. I love that I can customise the pages to just the way I want it, and if I wanted to, I could have a themed weekly layout. I know that I'm definitely creating a Game of Thrones layout for when the new season begins in July. Because I've been confined to my desk chair or my bed, I whiled away the time making stickers on Photoshop for Game of Thrones week.

Does anyone use and decorate a planner? Let's chat below, I need more planner friends!

My Favourite Beauty Products for Autumn

It is almost the very end of Autumn with just over a week left till we hit the wintry months. The leaves have just turned into various shades of red, orange and yellows, and I'm particularly fond of the red foliage of Japanese maples that I find in the streets. I'm a little sad to see the end of the season and I feel like it's gone by too quickly for it to be unnatural. No doubt the result of global warming, as the seasons shift and end sooner than expected. Bilbo Baggins would angrily shake his fist at all of us for neglecting our planet.

Since we're so close to the official end of Fall, what better time is there to show everyone a collection of my favourite products of the season?

When one thinks of Autumn, one thinks of warm hues, such as rust, chocolate, scarlet and even mustards. In fact, I recently ordered a couple of pressed eyeshadows from Colourpop during their free international shipping sale, and one of them was Paper Tiger, a mustard yellow, which is perfect for this season. It arrived last Tuesday, and I tried it out on Thursday. It's not as mustard as I would have liked, but more of a golden yellow, much like Winnie the Pooh's fur. Nonetheless, it's still a great shade and a wonderful addition to my collection, as I do not have a yellow like this one.

I finally tried out the Milani Amore Matte Lip Creme in Covet last week, a dark brown matte lipstick. I didn't fancy it that much, as it was more of a cool brown and I was after something more chocolatey. Nonetheless, I stepped out of my comfort zone and finally tried a deep brown shade. No one complimented me on it though, so I know it didn't suit me at all. It ended up looking almost black on me.

I alternated between quite a few palettes over the course of this season, and it was hard to narrow it down to just one or two. Especially when I'm trying to make use out of all of them all at the same time. Not an easy task, let me tell you that. I chose the I Heart Makeup Salted Caramel palette for its caramel and chocolate tones (duh), the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance because it just screams Fall, and the Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye Palette, because it's so easy to create smoky looks with it.

My two ultimate lipstick picks of the season were the Shanghai Suzy Tanielle Desert Rose and the Lime Crime Velvetine in Pumpkin. Pumpkin is my favourite lipsticks of all time, it's such an amazing shade and I love the texture as well as the coverage. It is a true brick red that fits in with the season so perfectly. Whenever I wear bold, matte shades such as the Pumpkin, I love having a decent bit of highlight, and aside from my all-round favourite Mary-Lou, the Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Radiant Lights is perfect for more of an intense glow to the tops of the cheeks.

I'm also really fond of the Australis Ready, Set, Go Pressed Finishing Powder, as it helps to control shine and set my makeup in place without altering the colour of my base. I'm also liking the e.l.f. Studio Blush in Tickled Pink as it's a warm muted peach that works with a lot of my fall lipsticks.

I recently ordered my first product from The Ordinary, the Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA Moisturiser, to replace the SugarBaby Daily Moisture Creme. I love it so much, though I've only used it for over a week. It doesn't leave much of a residue on the skin, yet it is so hydrating I've yet to find a single dry patch on my face. And, it doesn't make my face tingle when I use it in conjunction with the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, unlike the SugarBaby moisturiser. I recently went back to using the Natio Restore Cleansing Milk and there's such a huge improvement in my skin. I've had fewer breakouts since then!

I'm really excited about trying more of The Ordinary's skincare, and hopefully, their foundations as everyone and their aunt seems to be going nuts over them. I'm just so pleased with the results from the moisturiser, especially because it was so cheap. I love that the brand has no bells or whistles, that their products are formulated to deliver on our skincare needs and nothing else - no fancy ingredients, no scents, no "benefits" and on top of all that, it's all vegan and cruelty-free. Excuse me while I go and intentionally waste my other skincare products so that I can replace them with The Ordinary.

I had this post completely written and edited to go live on Thursday night after I finished work. But, despite having saved this at least six times before pressing publish, the wi-fi decided to shit all over my effort and I lost all of my progress that I made that night. I was going to write the rest again on Friday, but I had such a long day at work being left on my own to supervise five students while the manager had to leave due to the flu. Long story short, I was chewed out by a customer that specifically ordered a dish in the morning to have for lunch, but the students ran out of them before thinking to set one aside for her. I feel absolutely awful about it, and wish I'd had the foresight to save one for the customer.

Sadly, it wasn't the only dish that was oversold, as we also ran out of another dish. I had to approach at least six customers asking if we could change their order. I almost had a meltdown at the end of the day because it was so difficult and I didn't have experience with this kind of situation. According to a colleague and a couple of customers, I did really well for someone faced with such a difficult challenge. These types of days are exactly why I wrote a post on how I relax after a long day, which is right here if you would like to give it a peruse.

Hopefully, next Friday will be much easier now that I have an accurate idea of how busy Fridays are at the café.

How's everyone going this past week? 
Do you have an ultimate favourite lipstick shade for fall?


How I Relax After A Particularly Long Day

Lately, I've been having more than my fair share of long days, and to be honest, I'm so tired of it. There was the move, and then the return to work after a two-week break, and there's the issue of having a stubborn and overconfident co-work that think they know how to cook anything and everything. It is a very frustrating feeling to have had the person work there for over four months and show very little improvement in all areas of business, and blaming everyone else for their mistakes. It's very frustrating when everyone else is delayed in finishing on time because we have to correct their mistakes.

Last Thursday was a bit explosive because the rest of the staff had a short meeting on how to improve things. When told about the fact that we were making a visual guide for her, she started arguing and then complaining that no one else ever gets told what or how to do anything. I had to bite my tongue when she made a complaint as to how I was there as long as her, yet never got told off. Uh, maybe because I'm qualified AND experienced? I didn't have to say anything because the manager said what I was thinking in a much nicer way.

Luckily, when I get home, I have a few things that help me relax and unwind before I go to bed. Aside from my usual ministrations of sinking my teeth into some comforting carb-loaded food such as pasta or mi goreng, I also like to do the following...

Hot Beverages
A cup of tea is always much appreciated after a long day. I find tea to be rather therapeutic, and there's something comforting about a hot, sweet fluid running through your body as it warms you from inside out. I personally love drinking it from my Bed Bath 'n' Table tea cup, because it's a little bigger than a conventional tea cup and so it contains more tea for me to enjoy. I don't like hot chocolate, and coffee is a rare occurrence for me as I'm not a big fan of it.

Hot Showers
I love hot showers, and that's no secret. I keep the fan off while the shower is running so that the bathroom gets all steamy and warm. I like to have my pyjamas on standby, as well as clean fluffy towels for when I get out of the shower. While in the shower, most of my time is spent simply standing in the water as the stresses of the day melt away one by one. Sometimes I think about the stuff that bothered me that day, but as soon as I turn the knob to close the water, these thoughts are flushed down the drain and I start afresh.

I've never gone out for a massage if anyone can believe that? I've never really had the funds for them, and personally, I like to spend my money on other things such as new highlighters. However, whenever I've had a very long day, I like to ease the tension in my face by rubbing circles firmly into my forehead and temples. I can feel the tension melting away, and it just makes me feel lighter. It's even better when I do this after a long, hot shower. I also massage my scalp and run my nails through my hair.

Foot Rubs
Sean can tell when I've had an awful day, and he does what he can to make me feel better. So, aside from making me my tea in my favourite cup, he'll also rub my feet for me, knowing that they're killing me after standing all day in the kitchen at work. He's some kind of miracle worker because as soon as he puts his hands on my feet, the pain starts disappearing and they don't hurt as much anymore.

Couch Potatoing
I like snuggling on the couch, either with my laptop on my lap or up to Sean while catching up on our shows. I wish I could blog after a long day, but my motivation is usually drained at the end of the day. If possible, I like to catch up on series that don't require too much focus, such as Riverdale, Agents of Shield or even The Big Bang Theory. I rarely ever binge-watch a new series because I can't be bothered looking for something new to watch, let alone spend an entire day watching TV.

Organising My Makeup
I know this probably comes across as really weird to some people, but I do like putting things in order after a long day. I like compartmentalising things, and doing my makeup is small enough of an activity to not drain the last of my energy. It's therapeutic putting everything back in the right order in the drawer compartments. As if I'm putting the pieces of my brain back together until everything makes sense.

Now, most times, when I've had a long day, I'm either extremely irritable or too sleepy to even bother participating in socialisation. I'm said to be scary when the wrong buttons are pushed and my patience runs thin. When I'm trying to read and I keep getting interrupted by Sean or my family, I get really catty. Solitude is important for me in general, but I definitely need it on those days when I am so done with everything. Especially if I don't want to upset everyone that I hold most dear.

Many people have different ways of ending a long day that helps them to recuperate. Some take baths, some chow down through a block of chocolate, and some even take naps. I don't fancy naps, it makes my day feel even longer because it feels like I've experienced two days in one and it makes me too confused for my liking. I don't take baths either because if I do, I like my water blisteringly hot and I don't want to refill the water every five minutes just to heat it up. It's wasteful.

I've taken on the Friday shift for the next two weeks as my manager is going overseas, so I just know I'm looking forward to more long days. There's also the matter of having to help prepare mum's house for my nephew's first birthday party, and that includes baking and decorating his cake. Here's to being hella busy the next two weeks!

How do you relax and unwind after a very long day?


Is It Truly Better Than Sex?

I've been seriously inactive on my blog, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and it drives me up the wall. I've finished unpacking, more or less, but it just seems like there's no end to distractions here. Mum's going to Japan on Tuesday night for a little over two weeks to spend some time with my sister, so hopefully, I'll have a grasp on blogging again before she gets back. I like being in control, and I don't enjoy having time run away from me. I get really antsy and impatient when this happens.

Now, now, loved ones, this is not an exploration or exposition on my love life. Believe it or not, this is a review on the Too Faced mascara risquély named as Better Than Sex. I'm not sure what it is about brands naming their most popular products with rather suggestive terms (Nars Orgasm, I'm looking at you!) but I think it's all a marketing ploy to make people curious about said products. I actually prefer products with silly puns, and I have a little internal giggle every time I see theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer or the Balm Appetit palette in my collection.

I'm sorry, I just love puns.

Anyhoo, the Better Than Sex is the latest mascara in my Mascara Trials as I search for my Holy Grail. As some of you may know, my criterion for the perfect mascara is that it has to separate, lengthen, volumise if possible, and be thin enough in consistency to evenly coat each lash without clumping them together or looking dry and thick. Oh, and it must stand up to the humidity behind my glasses and not flake throughout the day. I prefer to avoid waterproof mascara because, in the long run, it has been said to make lashes fall out. I also don't require it for the most part as I rarely cry, and don't suffer from hayfever or have watery eyes.

Let's get right down to the review for this mascara. Is it truly better than sex?

I have the deluxe-sized version of Better Than Sex, which came in the Grande Hotel Cafe set that my super awesome bestie Cat bought for me for Christmas. Luckily, she bought it before they sold to Estee Lauder, so that makes it okay in my books. The packaging for the mascara is pretty basic, with a pearly pale pink, extremely sturdy plastic case with black lettering. The deluxe-sized mascara is no bigger than 10cm, which makes it suitable to pop into the handbag for touch-ups (which I never do) or when travelling. The spoolie is fat on one end, which then tapers down towards the middle before increasing in diameter to the tip. This increases chances of both curl and volume.

I actually liked the length of the applicator, because it made it so much easier to get to the outer corners without smudging the skin on the lid or on the temples.

The formula is not so thick that I have to scrape it off before application, though I have tried it that way as well as straight from the tube. I find that scraping it off takes much longer both in terms of actually scraping it and applying it to the lashes, as you have to cover a lot of ground. Not scraping it means you get an even and quick distribution of product on the lashes, without getting too much on it in one go and clumping them. Both methods separate the lashes nicely, and the volumising effect is quite stunning as my lashes were thickened while being separated, and it showed me that I had more lashes than I expected. I didn't get much length with this one, but I wasn't so hung up on it as I was really happy with the way the volumising effect looked. 

The problem is, though, is that while this lasted all day and looked great from start to finish, this flaked and spread down to my under-eyes like crazy towards the end of the day. In fact, it looked quite dusty at the end of the day, with some settling in my crease, so when I pulled my bottom lid down slightly, you could see a line of black where the crease is. This makes me look older and as if I hadn't slept in days. This aspect is a hard pass for me.

So, is this mascara truly better than sex? Sorry, no, because while I really liked the volume, I wasn't too hot about the lack of length. I can't say much about the curl because my eyelashes are naturally curly and I don't need any kind of hold when it comes to them. And, I'm definitely not pleased with the way it ended up under my eyes towards the end of the day.

Naomi sent over a couple of goodies from Japan a few weeks ago, and the seashell compact mirror was one of them. I'm in love with the mirror, it's just so cute yet classy, and not as girly. The sakura dish was a gift to her from one of her Couchsurfing friends when she went to visit her home for dinner, because Naomi bought them a nice box of fancy cakes, haha. She found theBalm products at a store in Sapporo, but before I had her buy anything, I asked for photos of the shop as well as lipstick swatches. When I saw that swatches were a different colour to what was found on websites, I knew they were total fakes.

People, do not buy fakes, it's seriously unsafe as it is packed with toxic ingredients that can damage your skin beyond repair. Do not buy from eBay/Aliexpress, market stalls, makeup flipping websites, apps and the like, unless you can prove that they're a licensed stockist or if they have the original proof of purchase. Alice wrote a great post on the dangers of buying and using fake makeup, and she also interviewed her sister on the matter. Check out her post here, and leave her a comment!

Have you found this mascara, or any other mascara, to be better than sex? Leave a comment below, my sweets!