Sunday, 11 October 2015

Review: The Face Shop Calendula Eden Essential Moisture Toner

Today I'm here with a review of a toner I've just ran out of, it's The Face Shop Calendula Eden Essential Moisture Toner. I got it in a small Koreadepart order - my Korean cosmetics orders have been cut back so much since saving for my Japan trip, I can only get the essentials now haha... ^^;; I can't wait to buy cosmetics in Japan though! I really want to see the cute Etude House stores~!

Brand: The Face Shop
Name: Calendula Eden Essential Moisture Toner
Price: $7-$12
Where to buy: Sasa, Pretty and Cute

The Face Shop's official website recommends this toner for dry to normal skin in need of nourishment and moisture. It contains hyaluronic acid, which was a big selling point for me, and calendula flower extract to keep skin moisturised for a long time.
The toner comes in a large glass bottle with plastic packaging on it. It is frosted and opaque so you can't see inside the bottle. It has a small opening protected by a small rubber inner lid when you first open it. You get 150ml of toner so it's a good sized bottle and quite heavy, which you might want to keep in mind for shipping costs.

The bottle size compared to my hand.

The back of the bottle.

When you first use the toner, not a lot of product comes out. It eventually eases up and can be easy to pour a little too much into your hand.
The toner has a consistency like water and spreads really easily. It absorbs super quickly in my skin and feels cooling, hydrating and soothing. I love that it has hyaluronic acid in it so that my other products are held into the skin better (hopefully). The toner is very light and I would recommend this for many skin types.
The scent of the toner is floral. I'd wager that it smells like calendula flowers, hence the name, but I don't know what they smell like so I can't comment. It's not an artificial, chemical floral scent though, I like it.
This toner is a lovely moisture toner perfect for prepping my skin for the other skincare products. It lasted me a long time, was a great price and I never had a problem with it. I'm so sad it's discontinued from Koreadepart though! I give this toner 5 stars out of 5 and recommend to anyone!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

How to Insert the Clinique 3 Step Skincare System into a Korean Skincare Regime

I used Clinique's 3 Step Skincare System a while back and when I first got the items, I wanted to try inserting them into my pre-existing Korean skincare regime. I found it a bit confusing at first, and it was a bit trial and error with some unfortunately breakouts as a result. However, I'm pretty confident I know what goes where now so if you're looking to insert Clinique's 3 Step into your own multi-layered skincare routine, look no further!

Please note I'm not sponsored by Clinique to do this (I kinda wish haha). I don't actually use the 3 Step any more but I wished there was a post like this when I first started using the products, so I figured I may as well go ahead and write it.

Also note that all skin types and regimes are different - we all use different products, probably in a different order so read on and see what information you can use for your own skincare regime. You might want to try inserting one product into your skincare regime at a time, for a week or so, so you don 't overwhelm your skin with lots of new products and layers.

Reviews for the Extra MildMild and Foaming versions

Step 1 - the Clinique Liquid Facial Soap can be used in place of your foaming cleanser in a Korean skincare regime. Clinique's soaps were neither here nor there for me so I went back to Korean foaming cleansers after using up mine. These Clinique soaps don't replace the first step of double-cleansing though, which is makeup removal/oil cleansing.

Reviews for Type 1 and Type 2

Clinique's Clarifying Lotion is an acid/BHA toner (also called a peeling toner in Korean skincare). In a Korean skincare regime, it would be used after double cleansing and before using an AHA serum or moisture toner. Unlike using a moisture toner, I recommend using cotton pads or balls to apply this since the sweeping motion helps get rid of dead skin cells.

Review of DDML

Depending on your skin type and preference, you might want to use DDML as a light lotion/emulsion, or if your skin is more on the normal-combination, or even oily side, you could use it as your last face cream or consider using the oil-free gel version instead. I use this in place of an emulsion such as The Face Shop Calendula Essential Moisture Emulsion. I then follow up with a more emollient cream like Secret Key Snail & EGF Repairing Cream.

Although I've used up all of my Clinique 3 Step items now, my Korean skincare regime would look like this with the items inserted:

Oil cleanse > Clinique Liquid Facial Soap > Clinique Clarifying Lotion > AHA serum > Moisture toner > Eye cream > Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion > Facial oil (at night) > Face cream

That might seem like a lot of products but I have dry skin and they're all quite light, highly absorbed layers. In the morning after my skincare routine my face doesn't feel greasy or oily. My skin feels a little oily after my night routine but only because of the facial oil which is more intensive for night time. It has alllllll night to soak in and get to work, baby.

I hope this post has been helpful to anyone looking at using the Clinique 3 Step in a Korean skincare regime and if you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Review: Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator

Today I'll be reviewing Clinique Moisture Surge Intense cream. It's recommended for people with dry to very dry skin but can be used by all skin types as it is oil free.

Brand: Clinique
Name: Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator
Price: £34 for 50ml or £5 for 15ml (which doesn't really make financial sense?!)
Where to buy: Clinique counters worldwide,,, Boots, Amazon

This product is a mix between a gel and a cream, and is oil free so any skin type can use it. It claims to give your skin hydration for up to 24 hours, and helps fortify and repair the skin's moisture barrier as you use it daily.

The 15ml/50ml thing doesn't really make sense - if you bought 4 15ml tubes, it'd give you 60ml of product for only £20, whilst a full size tub is £34? However, the 15ml tubes are out of stock at the moment so they might have cottoned on...
The packaging is a frosted pink jar with a silver lid and white writing. Compared to Clinique's other product packaging, I prefer this as it's prettier and looks more chic in my opinion haha. I think their green packaging looks outdated and their silver/white packaging (like on the Even Better line and Smart Serum packaging) looks like it's trying too hard to look clinical and 'effective'.

The packaging has a bit of weight to it so it feels high quality. It comes in a standard green Clinique box but I threw that away right away haha. The tub also has an inner lid to protect the contents.

The cream is very much a light, airy gel-cream hybrid like the product describes. It has a very pale, milky pink colour which I find pretty. It doesn't smell of anything because Clinique is fragrance free.
The cream spreads really easily and absorbs fast. It has an amazingly addicted powder soft feel, but whenever I saw the two Moisture Surge products compared (Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief and Intense), people preferred the feel of the regular type and said this one felt too sticky or greasy. My skin drinks it up though, and it feels great after using it. It feels hydrated, smooth and plump but I wouldn't say the effect lasts anywhere near 24 hours like the product claims.

I think you can apply this a bit thicker than usual, like a sleeping mask like the regular Moisture Surge.
This cream is really nice and one of my favourite items from Clinique, but it's pricier than what I'd pay for unfortunately. However, I would consider buying the 15ml £5 tubes haha... I give this product 4 stars out of 5, with one taken off for the price.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Event: J-Con 2015

I've been a little ill recently so apologies on the blogging delay. Last week I went to J-Con, the largest anime/manga/sci fi convention in the East Midlands. As always, I trade there and as always, I have lots of fun! This year really outdid itself because for the Friday band/chill out night, we were able to book FUCKING SAVLONIC.

They're an electro-pop trio from the UK who are technically ran on MrWeebls YouTube page along with his other stuff. Although Weebl usually does funny songs and jokes, Savlonic songs are far more legit in terms of real music. They have an album out funded by Kickstarter and another album on the way. Me and Rob adore them so late last year we thought it'd be amazing to at least try to get them to perform at J-Con, only hoping that they'd actually say yes!

Here they are on the Friday night - I think it's so so cool that they had their videos playing behind them, and then they're actually there in the front!

I got a selfie with friend Angie/Johnny Reaper.

Unfortunately my bestie Jayde couldn't come down to J-Con so I didn't really take any photos, or even use the free purikura booth we have! ;w; Johnny did take a photo of me, Suzy and Adele at the Lolita tea party though.

I'm on the case you can't tell...

And my lovely friend Lauren also took a photo with me. My outfit was a bit 'blegh' that day...I was supposed to wear a chain belt that I was supposed to fix that morning but I felt a bit ill and was unable to fix it. I also totally dipshitted out and forgot to put something on my head! >_> Urgh fail Lolita...although I wanted to wear a hairbow Jayde is giving me, and another friend was supposed to be giving me a hairbow at J-Con, so I ended up with neither...

Outfit rundown:
JSK: Innocent World
Lace bolero: eBay
Belt: eBay
Choker: Atelier Pierrot
Accessories (not pictured): 8th Sin

J-Con was really fun and I had a good time with friends I haven't seen in a while. My next event is Belfast Film and Comic Con on October 31st so I'll try to post more between then!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Mixi's 62 Mori Girl Rules - How Many Do You Follow?

As I was clearing up my Internet bookmarks (I know they don't take up any space and are pretty much out of site but I need to tidy them up every so often!) I stumbled upon Fashion Japan's list of 62 Mori Gir Rules, a list of rules found on the Japanese Mori Girl community Mixi. I thought it'd be fun to read them and see how many you follow! I've put a little [x] next to the ones I believe I follow!

Mori Girl by Valerie Fujita

1. You like loose fitting dresses. [x]
It depends on my mood/style? I wouldn't wear skin tight dresses with Mori Girl!
2. You always wear dresses and skirts. [x]
Jeans or trousers can suck it, in my opinion.
3. You prefer slightly quirky clothes over simple ones. [x]
(but you don’t like loud and flashy clothes)
Again, depending on my style haha~!
4. You look natural, but with your own style.
5. You are particular about fabrics. [x]
If Lolita has taught me anything...
6. You like ethnic clothes, too. [x]
7. You wear A-line clothes. [x]
8. You like wearing dresses that little girls would wear, too. [x]
9. You like smock-like dresses and blouses.
10. You don’t like super sweet fashion. [x]
11. You like deep colors like burgundy, dark green, navy blue and dark brown. [x]
12. Warm colors look good on you.
Nope nope nope...
13. Short nails feel more comfortable.
Nope nope nope nope...
14. You like fluffy hats made of knitwear or fur.
15. You like ear muffs. [x]
16. You like ponchos and boleros.
17. You want to have leather bags. [x]
18. You use pochettes for everything.
19. You prefer gold accessories over silver.
20. You feel attracted to old things.[x]
21. You like pocket watches. [x]
22. You like necklaces with magnifying glasses or large designs. [x]
23. You like designs featuring animals.
24. You like designs featuring sweets.
25. You like plaid and polka dots.
26. You like old-fashioned flower patterns.
27. You like lace. [x]
28. You like tights and leggings. [x]
29. Your shoes are basic and flat soled.
30. You like round toe shoes. [x]
31. If you wear sneakers you wear them like loosely fitting cute slip-ons.
32. Instead of regular buttons you like hand-made buttons.
33. You want to wrap your stole or muffler around yourself. [x]
34. In winter, a turtleneck design is your basis.
35. You like layering garments. [x]
36. Puff sleeves make you feel emotional. [x]
I love the way this one is worded haha! Much love for puffed sleeves haha~
37. You love fairy tales. [x]
38. Fair-skinned. [x]
39. Your hair is loosely permed.
40. Bob cut x straight bangs.
41. Straight bangs x long loose perm.
42. Girly.
43. You like FELISSIMO.
44. Of  FELISSIMO, you especially like the brands Syrup and &sloe.
45. You like the feel of Q-pot “sweets”. [x]
46. You enjoy chilling out at caf├ęs. [x]
47. You like walking with a camera in your hand.
48. You unconsciously end up at variety stores. [x]
49. You can’t help starting collections of things you like, you are a collector. [x]
50. Finding cute books at the book store makes you happy. [x]
51. You get excited when you visit a furniture store. [x]
52. You like making things by hand. [x]
53. Autumn and winter are your favorite seasons. [x]
54. You’d like to visit Scandinavia one day. [x]
I'd love to visit Iceland, Greenland and Sweden!
55. You like to have round cheeks. [x]
More like I'm forced to have them haha.
56. If you use perfume, you prefer faint flower scents best.
57. (You long to be) a girl that exudes a soft mood. [x]
58. (You long to be) an uncomplicated girl. [x]
59. You have been told you come across as laid-back. [x]
I'm a bit too laid back...
60. You consider Hagumi Hanamoto of Honey and Clover to be a Mori Girl
61. Shizuru Satonaka from Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru is also a Mori Girl
62. You have been told by a friend that it looks like you are in a forest. [x]
...Does a witch count? ;D

In all honesty, I think many of these rules can be said of Dolly Kei too. I don't dress in Mori Girl as much as Dolly Kei because of the loose fitting, flowy, sometimes sack-like silhouette, it makes me look frumpy. I like layering but have to have a defined waist so I think Dolly Kei is more my style though some of the aesthetics are similar to Mori Girl.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

I Made a New Lolita Skirt!

Recently I've been blogging a lot of beauty, mainly reviews, and mainly products I've already used up. I haven't bought any non-essential beauty products for ages since saving up for Japan, which is great for my wallet but not great for blog topics! I also haven't been going to many events recently, other than ones to trade at, which again, isn't great when it comes to thinking of what to blog about.

Because I've been a little bored inbetween meets, I started sewing again, and sewed a few items to use up my fabric stash. I mainly sold these because they weren't my style but after I gained confidence with sewing again, I turned to some fabric I've had for years, kept for my personal use and decided to finally make something with it!

Ta-da! I have been playing around with this design in my head for a while, and because it didn't need a lot of supplies, especially specific ones that need to be ordered online, I finally went and made myself a skirt! I never buy Lolita skirts because when you're paying that money, 99% of the time you might as well spring a little extra for the JSK or OP. I have remedied that by deciding to make some skirts to use up my fabric stash and extend my wardrobe without spending lots of money before I go to Japan!

The fabric was bought from Abakhan in Manchester a few years back, and I got it very cheap because of a pricing error. It was marked down to 50% of the original price (maybe something about £5?) and the store clerk wrote '50%' on the price tag as well as the discount price, so the cashier ended up charging me 25% of the original price! I didn't notice until I checked my receipt, so I got the fabric for something ridiculously good like £2.50 a metre, especially since it was cotton.

The last time I made myself a Lolita skirt was a few years back, and it was pretty crappy. This was back when the general consensus for handmade Lolita skirts was 'Use twice your waist measurement'. However I found out that a skirt made with twice your waist circumference produces mediocre results that can barely hold a petticoat under it, so I was a bit disheartened. I have always had it in my head to use three times my waist measurement now.

In previous sewing projects I have measured and marked the basic measurements and eyeballed the rest. This produced wonky results more often than not so with this project I swore to myself that I would proceed with caution, and measure and mark everything correctly, including marking seam allowance lines. It took a bit longer but was very much worth it.

I checked eBay for silver braid first but they didn't have any styles I was visualising in my head, and the prices were going up and up and whilst in town, I happened to check some local fabric stores and one of them had just what I was looking for! Usually my local fabric stores don't have a great selection of trims so this was a pleasant surprise.

The braid in question.

I ordered some black cotton from eBay, because it is cheaper than in my local fabric stores, but when it arrived, the cotton was very thick and bulky, almost like canvas or burlap! I went ahead and started making the ruffle with it anyway, but when it came to ruffling it, I discovered two things: 1) My ruffler foot had broke and refused to ruffle on the 6 or 12 setting. 2) The cotton was way too bulky to be gathered/ruffled anyway. I tried fixing my ruffler foot but something had happened to the gear and I had to order a new one...

When it arrived, the new ruffler foot was very stiff and made the needle get caught whenever I tried to lower it down into the feed dog. I powered through the stiffness and ended up snapping a needle. I tried to Google a solution and almost gave up but found that an Amazon reviewer had the same problem, and loosened the screws in the ruffler foot slightly and it fixed it. I did this and thankfully it worked! I would have been very pissed off if I had two ruffler foots that wouldn't work... I finally managed to ruffle the second black cotton strip but my sewing mojo had waned a little. I had spent so long measuring, cutting and marking the first black cotton so that it was very straight and neat, sewing it together, turning it right side out and ironing it to produce a 5 metre strip to ruffle only to be faced with the fact the cotton was too thick, and my ruffler foot had broken as well, but I forced myself to pick the project up again. I had to repeat the same procedure with the new cotton but thankfully it was suitable for the ruffle and I was able to carry on with the project!

The fabric pattern

When I started sewing with the main fabric, I thought it was plain cotton. However, as I started to iron it, I realised the silver roses were a bit waxy/painted feeling, almost like batik fabric. It was fine when I went to overlock the edges and sew with a straight stitch, but when I went to sew the silver braid onto the ruffle (sewn onto the skirt), the thread started snapping randomly, I presume because the silver part were harder/gummier to get through and too bulky. I persevered though.

When I went to gather the waist part, my ruffler foot wouldn't ruffle it evenly because of the waxy silver parts, and I ended up trying to hand gather parts of it to match my waist measurement whilst trying to make it look as evenly gathered as possible.

Somehow I managed to make the gathering look pleated?! I have wanted to make a pleated Lolita skirt for some time but have been put off because it's more time consuming, so I'm pleasantly surprised with this happy accident.


Attaching the waistband was a pain too because of the large amounts of gathering and hand sewing producing lots of thread. It was a little bulky to sew the waistband onto the skirt, so the top thread kept snapping again due to the silver parts. Again, I persevered but I may have moaned in frustration at my sewing machine lots of times...however, because I knew I was almost finished, I was determined not to give up.

I managed to finish the skirt today and I'm actually very proud of it. When I usually make clothes, I always find something I did wrong with it, or something has messed up and given it that 'homemade' amateur feel, and it puts me off wearing it. However, with this skirt, all the seams are finished, the ruffle and braid all line up, nothing is misaligned or puckered unexpectedly and the waistband is not bulky. The invisible zip at the side is sewn in pretty well, and the top of the zip aligns with the top of the waistband.

This is the outfit I had in mind when I started making the skirt! I would really love a little black hat with silver roses at a jaunty angle to wear with it but I also realised my black and silver rose crown from Taobao would look perfect with it too. As I was ironing the waistband I realised the skirt would look cute with a high waistband so I might make a detachable one!

Every time I finish a sewing project, I think back to the process and mentally make note of any 'lessons' I've learned from it. From this project, I've learned that if my sewing machine sounds grumpy, I should probably check it out rather than trying to power through it and end up snapping a needle or thread. Measuring and marking everything thoroughly really pays off, as well as pressing seams and generally ironing before, during and after sewing even though it's a pain. I worked on this skirt on and off for a couple of days, excluding the time I was waiting for new cotton and a ruffler foot. It was such a bitch to make, much more so than I expected but it was so worth it in the end.

I hope you enjoyed a change from beauty reviews! My next project is a red tartan Lolita skirt for myself, with black lace and hints of old-school-ness. Do you have any sewing projects you're undertaking at the moment? Sorry this blog post got a little long, I get excited when I talk about sewing and it's good to document your experiences.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Korean Skincare Products For Dry Skin

Are you part of any Facebook groups? I'm on a few for general makeup and beauty discussion, and the other day a few people were talking about Korean beauty. One person asked if it's good for oily skin, and someone said 'Yes, it's good for combination-oily skin, even the products for dry skin are quite drying.' I think such a blanket statement is untrue - to suggest that every single Korean skincare brand, line and product is not suitable for dry skin is a very bold and unfair thing to say. In fact, I found Korean skincare better for my dry skin than Western skincare.

Before I started learning about skincare routines, it was very dry, with lots of dry patches and flakes around my nose, forehead and cheeks. Once I started learning about skincare regimes and products for dry skin, my skin became a lot better. I learned about Korean skincare regimes and products and have been using them for years now, so here are a few Korean skincare product recommendations for dry skin.

The Face Shop Seed Fermentation Cleansing Oil Balm
Cleansing balms transform from a creamy balm to a smooth oil, and dissolve all makeup, including waterproof and long lasting makeup. They are really soothing for dry skin, and can be used on their own or followed up with a foaming cleanser. I have used this product and it's a great cleansing balm. It smells nice and it's a big tub so it lasts a long time. You can buy it directly from The Face Shop's website or eBay.

Enesti Yuzu Foaming Cleanser
This foaming cleanser is suitable for dry skin. I have it at home but I haven't used it yet. You could get it in a Memebox but you can also buy it on eBay.

Etude House Moistfull Super Collagen Ampoule Essence
One of Etude House's bestselling product lines is the 'Moistfull Collagen' line. However, they made an even more hydrating line in the form of 'Moistfull Super Collagen'. Don't read too much into the collagen aspect as it has been proven that skin cannot absorb molecules as large as collagen to 'inject' into the skin, but it is still a very hydrating line with other good ingredients.

Tony Moly Red Appletox Honey Cream
This cream has lots of honey in it, and even has a slightly elastic, honey feel but once you rub it into the skin, it melts amazingly and absorbs right in, with absolutely no sticky or greasy film. It also smells amazing, like fresh apples and is a great hydrating cream for dry skin. It also comes in a larger than usual tub, making it great value for money.

Secret Key Snail & EGF Repairing Cream
Another cream I highly recommend for dry skin is Secret Key Snail & EGF Repairing Cream. I recommend the entire line actually, it was one of the first lines I used in my Korean skincare journey. Snail mucin evens, brightens and hydrates skin whilst EGF repairs it. The line also has a toner, serum and emulsion that I know of, and a Gel Cream formulation for combination-oily skin types too,

So there are a couple of Korean skincare recommendations for dry skin - Korean skincare can be for everyone and is very fun to get into and learn about! I haven't done a product recommendation for every single skincare step, these are just products that I would particularly recommend and are easy to insert into your pre-existing skincare routine. Are there any products you would like to recommend?