Sunday, 31 May 2015

Bath Time with The Beauty Vine | Sanctuary Spa

There is nothing I enjoy more as the weather turns cold than a good ol' soak in the bath. I have very clear memories of loving baths as a child, and as a teenager I can distinctly recall my family's frustration at my lengthly soaking soirées...

I do all my thinking in the shower, but the bath is where I do my 'switching off' . On most occasions it will be in the evening, after my children are in bed, and my husband is firmly attached to the lounge cradling the remote control. I try for at least once a week, twice if I can.

This is a little bit of time for me...

I will always have a bath by candlelight, because the low light helps me to relax. I also make sure I have clean, fresh pyjamas and a fresh towel. I know that might sound a little retentive, but these small things all contribute to making it more of an occasion. You would always have a clean robe and soft, clean towels at a day spa would you not? You deserve them at home too.

Now, I must confess to having rather an extensive variety of bath products, and I have decided to make this a little series, aptly named "Bath Time with The Beauty Vine". Each post will aim to bring  thoughts and reviews of the plethora of bathing products in my possession, with a 'one-brand' focus.

Today, it is all about some lovely products from Sanctuary Spa, a well known brand from the UK that has been available for quite some time in Priceline Pharmacies in Australia. I have been using two of these products for around 18 months, and have repurchased both of them in that time. The other is a more recent purchase, one of their newly released products. I adore the scent of these Sanctuary Spa products. They smell clean and soapy, warm and sweet, with a hint of spice and musk, somewhat reminiscent of men's cologne. Love.

The range is affordable, and they offer a nice variety of products. I have also noticed some newly released scents and formulas on the shelves of my local Priceline... so far I have resisted!

So, grab your PJ's and your fluffy towel, light your candle, and start running the bath...

Bath Time with The Beauty Vine - Sanctuary Spa

Sanctuary Spa Foaming Bath Soak

As the bath is filling I add a generous squeeze or two of the Foaming Bath Soak. The signature Sanctuary Spa scent fills my bathroom. As the name suggest, it produces a nice amount of bubbles, softens the water, and feels moisturising on the skin. As I write this, I am unable to find this specific product on the Priceline website. I am not sure if it has been discontinued, however I can warmly recommend the 2 Day Moisture Shower Oil as an alternative. I have gone through a bottle of it already, and find it works equally well in both the shower and the bath. There are a few less bubbles when used in the bath, however the formula of the shower oil is slightly more moisturising. They are both lovely products.

Sanctuary Spa 4 Day Moisture Oil Scrub RRP $17.99 AUD

The 4 Day Moisture Oil Scrub is my most recent purchase, and is part of the Long-Lasting Moisture line of products that have been released in the last few months. This is a very fine salt scrub in a  thick oil/balm base. A little goes a long way with this product. After soaking for about 5-10 minutes, I warm a good dollop of the scrub in my palms first, just to help soften and melt the oils a little. There is a good amount of finely milled salt, so you definitely get a really effective scrub without feeling like you are scratching your skin. Be gone those barnacles on my bottom! 
Being a thick balm, it definitely leaves an oily residue on the skin. I am a fan of oil based scrubs, and love the feeling of the oils on my skin. If you do not, this may not be the scrub for you. Whilst I cannot be sure of the claim of 4 days of moisture, I certainly find that it helps to keep my skin feeling moisturised and soft until I have my shower the next evening. Winter brings with it extremely dry, and often itchy skin for me, so a daily slathering of lotion/oils/butters is a must. This scrub leaves my skin soft, smooth and plump. Love.

Sanctuary Spa Body Butter  RRP $14.99 AUD

After a little more time soaking, ( my bath time is often accompanied by a glass of red wine ), I'll hop out,  dry off, and slather on some  Body Butter. Whilst my skin already feels soft and lovely after the soak and the scrub, I like to add another layer of moisture to lock it all in. 
Rich in Cocoa and Shea butters, Sweet Almond oil and Macadamia oil, this award winning body butter has a surprisingly lightweight formula, and smooths over the skin quickly and easily. When I'm having my 'bath night', I make sure to moisturise my whole body. No being lazy now... you are normally nice and warm from the bath, and it only takes a couple of minutes to massage in some cream/lotion, no excuses! I try not to rush too much, because I have to rush so many things in my life! The whole idea of this time, is to actually not be aware of the time for once, and just slow down. 

Ok...fresh, clean pyjamas on, I ceremoniously throw back any remaining vino, and head downstairs to make myself a cup of tea. Without a doubt, I always feel so much better after a bath ( and shower too! ). There is something about feeling clean, being warm, smelling delightful, and mentally giving yourself that little bit of time out. Self care is very important, and putting aside time to do something for yourself to help to fill up your tank is invaluable.  It is something that I have  learnt  to  prioritise, particularly after the birth of my children and suffering post-natal depression and anxiety.  

It is something I warmly encourage all of you to do too, regardless of your own personal circumstances. 

Do share with me what you like to do to help you to relax and de-stress! Do you have any favourite bath products that I might need to know about? Do leave a comment below, or feel free to email me with any questions, or if you feel like a chat.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Lou xo

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Colour Theory Autumn/Winter Collection 2015 "Nautical but Nice"

Hello loves!

I have some lovely, affordable colour cosmetics from Colour Theory to share with you today! Their recently launched Autumn/Winter Collection, "Nautical but Nice" takes inspiration from both this season's catwalks, and the bold colours and metallic finishes characteristic of the 90's. Having been in my late teens/early 20's in that formidable decade, I can most certainly see that inspiration come to life in this collection...not only that, but the Nautical theme was also extremely on trend in 90's fashion and accessories!

Colour Theory offer over 100 products in their range, with all products starting from $4.00 AUD, and nothing over $10.00 AUD. This collection was kindly gifted to me, and I have some swatches and first impressions to share with you today.

Colour Theory Autumn/Winter Collection 2015 "Nautical But Nice".

Colour Theory 5 Step Eye Shadow Palette - Calm Before the Storm RRP $10.00 AUD
Eye Pencil - Midnight RRP $6.00 AUD  Mascara Lengthen - Black  RRP $8.00.

Colour Theory Eye Shadow Palette - Calm Before The Storm
Swatched in natural light, shades clockwise from top left.

The 5-Step Eye Shadow Palette in Calm Before The Storm, is predominantly cool toned, with all but one shade having some degree of shimmer. The formula is soft, and the pigmentation is quite good, though varies between the shades. The swatches above are on clean bare skin with no primer. I have used these on my eyes with a primer, and it certainly boosts the colour pay-off. I have swatched the matte black eye shadow from the centre of the palette with a wet brush ( shown second from the right in the photograph above ). I have found it to work really nicely pressed into the top lash line. For $10.00 AUD this is a really nice little eye shadow palette, and it certainly performs just as well as some of it's more expensive drugstore counterparts.
The Eyeliner in Midnight is a lovely dusty, mid-toned blue, and glides onto the eye really nicely. It adds just a hint of colour, without being to bright or too daring, and still giving a nice amount of definition. I have not yet tried the mascara, only because I currently have too many already open, but I will keep you updated!

Colour Theory Lipsticks RRP $6.00 AUD.

Colour Theory Lipsticks L-R - Coral Reef,  Love Boat,  Abandon Ship,  Ahoy Sailor!

These four shades of the Colour Theory lipsticks are predominantly sheer, but certainly buildable. I love this type of formula, because it allows you to custom the opacity to suit you. They are also perfect for someone who might just be starting to experiment with red lipstick. Coral Reef is a very pretty light coral shade, that has a satin/matte finish. Love Boat looks warmer in the bullet, but swatches with more of a berry/red tone. It has a fine gold glitter throughout, that you can feel slightly on your lips. Abandon Ship is what I would describe as a coral/red, with a very subtle metallic sheen, that does not look at all frosty on the lips. Ahoy Sailor! is definitely my personal favourite, and is one of the more pigmented shades. It is a rich, creamy cool-toned red that is right up my alley, and performs just as well as some of my more expensive lipsticks.

Colour Theory Nail Polish  L-R - She Sells Seashells,  Isle of Red,  Deep Blue Sea.
RRP $4.00 AUD

Colour Theory - She Sells Seashells.

Whilst this isn't the most flattering shade on my skin tone, 
it is a really pretty, creamy peach shade, that would look gorgeous on tanned or olive skin. 
I used three coats in the swatch above, as the coverage was a little patchy and uneven.

Colour Theory - Isle of Red.

Isle of Red is a lovely warm plum/burgandy shade that is very seasonally 
appropriate. Opaque in two coats. Love this one.

Colour Theory - Deep Blue Sea.

Deep Blue Sea is my personal favourite... a beautiful deep blue, 
with a slightly transparent/jelly formula that just looks stunning on the nail. 
Two coats for the above swatch, and no top coat. Love.

Colour Theory are available to purchase in most Amcal, Amcal Max and Guardian Pharmacies in Australia. They also have a range of hair and body accessories, and skincare. You can shop online at Amcal here.

Have you tried any Colour Theory products? What is your favourite inexpensive brand of cosmetics?
Do leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Lou xo

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour | Swatches and Chat

Laura Mercier's Caviar Stick Eye Colours are one of my favourite eye products. I have accumulated a modest four shades over the last 2 years, and have been trying to quiet the beauty lover's voice in my mind that keeps whispering " ...oh wouldn't it be lovely to try some more shades Lou?...." 

Anyone else hear that little voice? Do tell me I'm not alone here?

There are a number of reasons why I adore these cream shadows. They have a creamy, sophisticated  formula that once set, does not move. They have a beautiful range of shades, each of the four that I own can be quickly applied to the eye lid, and then blended up into the crease for a quick and easy one-shadow look... I'm all about that. Their compact, streamlined packaging makes them perfect for travel, and their mechanical, twist-up design means they do not require sharpening.

 Considering I have quite oily eyelids, I am always surprised by how long these last on me. I find applying a primer underneath does not work well for me, I prefer to apply these to clean eyelids, but you use whatever works for you. I find that the formula tends to adhere to the primer and not blend out as well. 

If you would like to see the shades that I own, along with swatches, then please read on!...


Rosegold and Orchid are both really pretty applied to the eyelid and just patted in with your fingertip.  I have always wished that Rosegold was a touch more pink ( fussy old bird I am ), but none the less, it is beautiful, and perfect for a quick and easy everyday look. I often use Orchid in the same way, it is also really pretty on the inner half of the lid, with Amethyst on the outer half, and blended into the crease. 

In the Autumn and Winter months, I love using Amethyst on its own, it is such a beautiful, deep taupe with a hint of purple. Pair it with some black winged liner and you have the perfect eye look for a night out. Cocoa is the most recent addition to my collection, and the only matte shade that I own. It has a special place in my heart, because I purchased it from Sephora in New York last year. As you can see from the swatch above, it is ridiculously pigmented. Having said that, it is still very easy to blend out. I often take an angled eyeliner brush, take some product from the tip of the pencil, and use it to line my upper lash line. It is a beautiful, rich shade, and just so creamy! Both Cocoa and Amethyst make a quick, easy and effortless smokey eye.

I love using the Real Techniques brushes with these shadows, in particular, the Base Shadow brush or the Shading Brush. Both will blend out the product perfectly... no fuss, no bother.

I purchased the shades Amethyst and Orchid from Strawberry Net last year. I know that a few people have had issues with authenticity when purchasing products from Strawberry Net, but I have not had any problems personally. They are currently listed at $44.00 AUD, which I believe is a little more expensive than what I purchased them for last year.

In Australia, Laura Mercier is sold nationally at David Jones stores , and is also available online from Adore Beauty, who currently have the Caviar Sticks for $39.00 AUD, which is a little less than Strawberry Net.

Whilst they are certainly positioned on the more expensive side, I believe that they are most definitely worth the splurge, and would not hesitate to recommend them!

Do you own any of these beautiful cream eyeshadows? Do you have any shade recommendations for me to pick up next time I am feeling weak and enabled? Do leave a comment below...I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Lou xo

Monday, 11 May 2015

Adore Beauty & Kester Black Nail Polish Collection | Swatches

Hello fellow beauty lovers!

I have a gorgeous collection of nail polishes to share with you today! This beautiful trio of pastels is the result of a collaboration between two highly regarded Australian companies, Adore Beauty and Kester Black.

Adore Beauty is one of my favourite online beauty destinations, and they have just celebrated their 15th birthday. As a part of their celebrations, Adore Beauty have launched a new-look website, featuring fresh, pretty, universally appealing shades of pastels. It was this gorgeous palette that inspired the shades that were designed and made by Australian nail polish company Kester Black.

Kester Black, like Adore Beauty, are based in Melbourne, and make their five free, vegan, cruelty free polishes in small batches to minimise waste. They are highly regarded for their high-shine, chip resistant formulas.

This trio was generously gifted to me from Adore Beauty, and I have some swatches below for you today. I am sure you will love them as much as I do!

To save me repeating myself, all photographs below are two, easy coats of polish, with a top coat. Each of the three shades were completely opaque in only two coats, and were a pleasure to apply.



True Blue Beauty is just the prettiest blue polish! In daylight she leans a little 
lavender, and in the evening she throws a touch of grey. 

Absolutely beautiful.


Award Winning Pink is a soft, dusty, peachy pink that I think will look 
beautiful on a wide variety of skin tones. 

Very ladylike, chic, and modern. Love.


Mint Condition is a gorgeous, fresh mint green that really glows! 
You might notice my rather pedestrian attempt at some gradient accent nails... 
I thought it was a perfect opportunity to use the three shades in some nail art, as they 
complement each other so beautifully. Let's just say that I 
certainly need to keep practicing...but don't they look lovely together?

You can find this gorgeous trio here, and it retails for $50.00 AUD. Kester Black polishes normally retail for $20.00AUD, so you are saving $10.00 when you order this trio!

Adore Beauty have always, and continue to offer free shipping Australia wide on all orders.

Are you a Kester Black fan? Do let me know your favourite shades below!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Lou xo

Disclaimer: As mentioned in the body of this post, these polishes were gifted to me. I did not receive sponsorship for this editorial feature. All opinions are my own, and are always honest! Cheers xo

Thursday, 7 May 2015

New In! Shanghai Suzy Winter Collection

It is indeed an exciting time at The Beauty Vine HQ when a new Shanghai Suzy lipstick collection is released! I have the new Winter Collection to share with you today! All 8 shades are in my hot little hands. You may be correct in guessing that I have no self control!

I snapped up the collection the evening it was released online, and I have some lip swatches to help you decide which shades you might like to pick up.

Shanghai Suzy Lipsticks are an Australian brand, based in the city of Melbourne. Two collections are released each year, featuring on-trend shades to accompany the current season. On a side note, the stunningly gorgeous woman behind the brand, Joanna, looks absolutely beautiful in every single shade! Along with the Nourish, and Matte formulas we have seen in past collections, a newcomer, the Shimmer formula joins the ranks for the Winter Collection.

The first thing I noticed on application of the new matte shades, was how smooth and comfortable they felt on my lips. There was definitely an increase in slip and sheen with this formula. On visiting the website, I discovered that Jo has added some lovely Jojoba oil to the matte formula, to make it a little more nourishing for the Winter months. Our lips say thank you Jo! If you are familiar with Shanghai Suzy matte lipsticks, you will notice a difference with the shades in this collection.



" A re-run of one of the most-loved from the very first Shanghai Suzy collection " 
A beautiful, vibrant fuchsia which makes a statement! I find this type of shade personally more daring to wear than many shades of red, but it is beautiful!

" A striking and chic classic red in a rich, creamy formula " 
I absolutely adore this shade, I have quite a few favourites, and this is a must-have in my opinion!

" Reminiscent of a delicious Shiraz wine, Mrs French is a bold and rich deep maroon "  
Joanna designed this shade specifically to wear at her wedding reception... It is another gorgeous shade, and another must-have in my book! 

" Perfect pinky-plum for Winter which deepens in colour when layered "  
This is a sheer, buildable shade with a really beautiful, unique finish. The glitter/shimmer in the formula is very fine, and I cannot feel it on my lips. The tone of this shade reminds me of Miss Georgina from the first collection, which is still one of my favourites today. Absolutely beautiful. Put it on your list!


" This ultra flattering soft peony hue is super moisturising, the perfect 'everyday' go-to this Winter"
As described, the perfect everyday pink, which looks equally beautiful patted lightly on the lips or built up to a more opaque finish. Love.

" a yellowy brown based nude to flatter teeth and most skin tones"
The swatch above unfortunately shows my skin tone to look a little deeper than it is, my apologies. In real life this shade makes my skin take on a greyish hue, and drains it of colour. If you have a warmer, or more olive skin tone this shade will look beautiful on you, however in all honesty I don't feel that it is very flattering on me.

" Taupey-rose in our beautiful matte formula...slightly edgy and a deeper take on pink "
Like many of these shades this was love a first application. Another very wearable, everyday shade that I think will look good on everybody. Love! Joanna wore this shade during her wedding ceremony! 

" We love Miss Nina to bring a pop of bright coral to dreary winter days and nights! "
Oh I would love to be brave enough to rock this shade! I see this type of gorgeous coral on beautifully tanned, and deeper skin tones and I think it looks just stunning! I'll have to wear it around the house for a few days and get used to it! I found Miss Nina to be slightly less forgiving on any texture on my lips, and found that she did not feel as smooth as her sister shimmer shade Miss Veronica. I'd recommend a good lip scrub prior to application of Miss Nina.

As I mentioned earlier, I purchased the entire Winter collection online, for $65.00AUD. Each lipstick retails for $12.95AUD, or you can purchase 3 lipsticks for $38.95AUD and receive 1 free! 

To date, there are sadly no options for international shipping that I am aware of. Hopefully that will change soon!

Do visit Shanghai Suzy here to shop online and check out over 450 stockists Australia wide.

Do any of these shades tickle your fancy? Are you a Shanghai Suzy fan like me? I have built up quite a collection to date!!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Lou xo

Friday, 1 May 2015

Straight Talkin'! | Hair health and straightening tips with Tracey Bazzano Lauretta

I am excited to share some hair straightening tips with you today my loves!

I am honoured to have Tracey Bazzano Lauretta, Global Straightening Educator, and creator of EVY Professional Hair Tools as my special guest on The Beauty Vine.

Tracey has some wonderful information to help you achieve the best results, not only when using a straightening iron, but also protecting and maintaining the health of your hair.

I don't know about you, but I love picking the brains of people who are experts in their field. Whether it be makeup, skincare, or haircare, I'm ready to soak it up like a sponge. There is always something new to learn in life...every day!!

Read on to discover Tracey's valuable tips!...

Tracey Bazzano Lauretta, Global Straightening Educator and creator of
EVY Professional Tools.

* When straightening hair, always make sure hair is 100% dry. 

* Use an iron that has a temperature dial that can be adjusted to suit your hair type and condition.

* Irons that emit high levels of ionic energy are best - more minerals mean more hydrating power!!

* Never use a "wet to dry" straightener... these are very damaging to the hair ( Yuk! ).

* When straightening hair, it is best to use a comb or brush in front of the iron to guide/glide the hair and allow the hair to be smoothed as you style.

* Take small sections of hair that are not too thick. If you have thick hair, no more than 1" sections. Finer hair can have thicker sections if you are only smoothing.

* When using a high ionic energy emitting iron, glide the iron at a slower speed to "lock in" the moisture and hydrate the hair.

*  I always like to use a light spray leave-in conditioner with heat protecting qualities, and/or a non-coating oil, such as Agave Healing Oil, before and after styling to give extra protection and sealing.

* Hair that is hydrated internally will sit better for longer, and repel moisture and humidity. The EVY iQ-One Glide will give the most internal hydration because of its 33 mineral blend.

* Treat hair regularly with a good quality moisturising mask.

* If you always wear your hair smooth and straight, invest in a non-formaldehyde smoothing treatment ( Agave has a great one ). This will make styling and straightening last longer and assist you to achieve the best result.

* Regular trims will keep split ends away.

* Remember that you also need to be healthy internally, as your hair and nails will be the first to go when you are not well, or not eating correctly.

*Healthy body, Healthy skin, Healthy hair!!

I have recently reviewed the EVY iQ-One Glide Professional Hair Straightener... if you would like to read my review, follow the link here.

Thank you very much Tracey for taking the time to share your hair health and straightening tips, it is much appreciated! I shall be looking out for that lovely sounding Agave Healing Oil!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Lou xo

OPI Hawaii Collection

 I have two shades from the OPI Hawaii Collection for Spring/Summer 2015 to share with you today! The collection consists of 12 shades, inspired by the beautiful landscapes, scenery and wildlife in picturesque Hawaii.

The two shades I have to show you are 'This Color's Making Waves" and "Just Lanai-ing Around".
I was kindly gifted these polishes for consideration, and wanted to share my swatches and thoughts with you.

These two shades are very different, but both are very beautiful, and unique to my collection.

This Color's Making Waves is a beautiful, shimmering, deep turquoise metallic polish with a blue/green shift and subtle pink micro-glitters. I used two coats of polish and a top coat in the photograph above. Application is a little sheer with the first coat, but evens out nicely with the second. Being a metallic finish, it can sometimes show brush marks, but it is such a beautiful, vibrant shade, I love it. I will have to try a fishtail mani with this one!

Just Lanai-ing Around is a beautiful dusty plum shade with a delicate silver shimmer running through it. It has a lovely smooth formula, two easy coats plus a top coat. I think this type of shade is so flattering on pale skin tones, and is perfect for anytime of the year. It is one of those shades that you just want to keep wearing. Perfect.

Do you have a favourite shade from the OPI Hawaii collection?
Let me know in the comments below if I need to pick up more shades!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Lou xo

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