Skinfood exfoliating cleanser


On the face of it, pretty good value (being a full sized tube of the stuff rather than a sample). However, my problematic, sensitive skin comes into play here: I don’t use an exfoliant. If I do, I end up looking like I’ve taken a belt sander to my face.

Yes, it says on the info card with this month’s Goodiebox (this was part of the February GoodieBox package) that this stuff is “gorgeously natural” and that it “will get your skin ready”.

Ready for what, you may ask? I don’t know: it didn’t say. Just “ready”. For action? For war? For shredding? I vote for the latter.

Exfoliating prevents breakouts, it says, and it “promotes youthful skin, win win!” In my case it also leaves the skin looking like some raw and scratchy. It also left it dry and (contrary to the promised breakout prevention) I ended up with spots! Was it purely a co-incidence? I don’t know for sure, but I won’t be trying it again to find out.

For those of you who can scrub your skin with an exfoliant, this may well be a good one. I don’t know, I just ended up with that freshly sanded look.




One for the haters

The sad death of Charlotte Dawson at the weekend has reignited the whole debate over online assholes being, well, assholes.

Not that it’s much of a debate: “if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, then keep your trap shut” is probably a good code to live by. Unfortunately, there are plenty of trolls out there who get their kicks from aggravating and annoying.

If you’ve spent any time on a message board or chat room, or if your name is in the media for any reason, you are likely to become a target at some point. For most of us, we can shrug off their bullshit. But some people are a little more fragile, and sometimes the bullying and bullshit becomes a lot more persistent.

A few years back, there were a couple of quite public suicides in a relatively short space of time, one of them actively encouraged by chat room participants who egged on the victim as he put in place the rope he planned to use to hang himself.

Since then, online bullying seems to have become more and more common. As wrong as that is, I’m sick of seeing the blame being laid with Twitter, or (a stupid fecking site, certainly, but participants are there by choice) or any other site. The blame belongs to none other than the person doing the bullying.

Although, I’m seeing several young people I know personally getting themselves worked up into a lather lately over questions and comments on their accounts and am starting to think that sometimes the “victim” needs to take some of the blame. Not a lot, and not all the time, but sometimes. If you are being abused on Twitter or Facebook, you can block the person but you can’t really stop them saying what they want. However, the sole purpose of seems to be to set yourself up to be asked dodgy/sexual/nasty/leading questions. Really people: don’t go there if you don’t want the negativity!

Sure, I’ve had some thoughts that I’ve shared online about the like of Justin Beiber being a douche, but he brings that on himself by doing stupid and uncool shit like spitting on his fans, driving like an idiot and generally behaving like a spoiled brat.

Anyhoo, the little ditty in the video is both catchy and timely.


Wise up about smartphone security

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

I it’s safe to say we are all a lot more clued-up when it comes to online security than we were a few years ago, but what about when it comes to our favourite little mini gadgets?

Kiwis are keen on smartphones, tablets and the like, but according to the security gurus at Symantec, we aren’t so quick to keep them safe.

Net nasties are out there so take care.This year’s annual Norton Report on the world of online nasties was released yesterday and shows that there is “a general lack of security awareness when it comes to using mobile devices”.

The number of us who became cybercrime victims increased to one million, but while the global cost is up, the cost in New Zealand is down from $462 million last year to $152m this year.

Symantec New Zealand country manager Michelle Amery says this is because the crims have changed their methods, most likely as Kiwis become more aware of the scams.

The company believes online scammers are also working on the theory that it is better to take smaller amounts of money from a larger group of people because they have more chance of flying under the radar.

Whatever the explanation behind the numbers, the fact that these online parasites are still making money is a worry:

The report also says 27 per cent of New Zealand survey respondents had experienced mobile cybercrime during the past year, up from 16 per cent in 2012, and about one in five of us have managed to lose our mobile device. Ouch.

Add to that the fact that the cybercrims are embracing mobile devices every bit as enthusiastically as the rest of us – developing mobile-specific malware and scams and taking advantage of all those lost and stolen phones – and users who are either unaware or unwilling to protect themselves and you have what Symantec calls a “perfect storm for cybercriminals”.

Security is every bit as important for your smartphone or tablet as it is for your computer, especially if you are using that smartphone or tablet as it was intended: to do your banking, check your emails and generally live your online life.

Another worrying trend for Kiwis in the report is that we are taking major risks online when it comes to social media and “blurring the lines between their work and personal devices”.

Great, now I’ve got that damned song stuck in my brain and a vision of Miley Cyrus waggling her foam finger and other things.

But I digress. The Norton Report says 39 per cent of us are using our personal devices (desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets) for work-related activities and nearly half of those surveyed say their company does not have policies in place for using personal devices for work.

Symantec Pacific region product marketing manager David Hall says that creates new risks for businesses because “cybercriminals have the potential to access even more valuable information”.

But wait, there’s more: we aren’t even very good at protecting our own personal data. Just more than a quarter of those surveyed connect with people they do not know on social media and one in four share their social media passwords with others. Yes, really: we are sharing our passwords. Well, I’m not, but someone out there is and they need to stop. It’s a really, really, incredibly stupid thing to do, so stop it!


Goodiebox, February unboxing

Goodiebox, February 2014

I had mixed feeling about the February Goodiebox: good value in that four of the five samples were actually full-sized products, but not such good value for me because I’ll never use at least two of those products. And the lifestyle helper bonus product was a bit of a washout for me, too.

The theme for February 2014 was “Ready … Set … Enhance!” and once again, the good people at Goodiebox have taken enhance as meaning “get a fecking suntan”.

I get that it’s hard to please everyone, but I’m hoping for something better next month.

Here’s the rundown on my February goodies. Click on the links for full reviews of some products.

SKINFOOD EXFOLIATING CLEANSER  (RRP $14 for 100ml. Full size product provided)
Nice to see some skincare product for a change, it’s been all fake tan and lippies for a while now! A natural New Zealand facial scrub with aloe and sweet almond.

ST MORIZ SELF-TANNING MOUSSE (RRP $20 for 200ml. Full-sized product provided)
It’s a conspiracy: Goodiebox want everyone in New Zealand to be both hairless and sun-kissed. I suppose the self-tan stuff is a tad better than the smelly hair removal cream, or the eye-watering “rip it out by the roots” wax offerings of previous boxes. So, self-tanning mousse. In a rather dark shade, as well. What can I say? With my corpse-like colouring, I’m never going to look convincing with a dark tan. And it doesn’t smell too flash, either.

SWISSPERS ALOE EVERYTHING BALM (RRP $15 for 50ml. Full-sized product provided)
An all-purpose balm with aloe to soothe and protect. Smells pretty good!

DENTEK SCRUB BETWEENERS (RRP $10.70 for a pack of 40. Sample pack of 5 provided so value of $1.33)
These things are like the Ferrari of toothpicks for when you want to get in and have a good old poke around your gums. Gently, of course (or so the info card says). When you look closely at the end, you can see lots of tiny bristles. Thousands, apparently. Not that I counted them. Sort of like a cross between a toothpick and dental floss, they do what they say on the box but I’m not sure I see the value in them. Particularly if you already happen to the be the proud owner of toothpicks and dental floss.

MANHATTAN SOFT MAT LIP CREAM (RRP $15 for 25g. Full-sized product provided)
Yes indeedy, another lip product in this month’s Goodiebox. It’s a good one, though.

LIFESTYLE BOOSTER: Celebrity Slim (RRP $6 per sachet)
A diet approach that comes with “sass and a lifestyle plan”, according to the GoodieBox card. Would be better if it came with  a decent flavour.

Total value of the February Goodiebox: $73.33, so as always, good value for $30.

What is Goodiebox?

It’s a subscription service where you pay a monthly fee to receive a box of beauty products delivered to your door. The cost is around $30 a month (including delivery), and for that you will get a minimum of five “premium” beauty samples. These samples are generous sizes, and often there are a few full-sized products in your little box of goodies. Click here to join.


Blistex Five-Star Lip Protection

BlistexEveryone knows the Blistex name and the move to making a lip balm is a good one. This has protection from the sun (SPF30-plus) and ingredients that moisturise as they protect.

In general, this was OK-ish but I did find it seemed to disappear off my lips fairly quickly so I was constantly reapplying.

It also felt a little waxy when first applied, but that settled down. Er, probably because it disappeared so quickly! I reckon that much like Coke, the original recipe is better.



Palmers Eventone tone perfecting cream

Palmers EventoneThis was OK but nothing spectacular. Although, it was a tiny sample provided by GooodieBox this month so it’s really hard to tell just how good a product is from just one application.

Plugging this cream as “magical” on the info card, GoodieBox says it’s able to “visibly reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by sun damage, ageing, scarring and pregnancy”.

I didn’t think there was any way to reduce the appearance of something other than visibly but maybe I missed that day in school.

It didn’t irritate skin, it didn’t smell bad but it also didn’t excite me. It was just OK.

I’ll stick with my BB cream.



Party Feet Ultra Slim

Party FeetParty Feet have a new design that is made to fit into narrow shoes. Not that I have narrow feet.  In fact, most Kiwis don’t have narrow feet.

Any-hoo, I use the normal width Party Feet gel cushions and they are great: they stop the balls of your feet absorbing all the impact and seem to be pretty much indestructible: the pair I’m currently using have been in action in my shoes for close on 10 years.

One wee improvement for these new ones in comparison to my old faithfuls is that they are sticky on one side so you can stick ‘em where you want ‘em and they’ll stay put.

If you have narrow shoes that need a little cushioning, these little gems will be a good investment.



NS8 heel balm

NS8 Heel Balm ComplexMy husband has the world’s worst feet: gnarly and cracked, with callouses so sharp they should be registered as lethal weapons.

I don’t go near them. Ever.

I know there are people out there who find feet quite attractive; who even get quite excited by the sight of a well proportioned foot. I’m not one of them: even the most attractive of feet is still just a foot. And feet aren’t sexy.

And they often smell.

The blurb on the info card said this stuff would “soften and smoothen” (is that even a word) and promised to restore my feet “to their former glory”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel that my feet have ever been particulary glorious.

But I digress. Back to hubby and his feet. I gave him this to try and he was pretty happy with the result: his heels were much smoother and much less like a cheese grater in texture.

Although, I’m still not going to go near the things. They are feet, after all.



Benefit They’re Real! mascara

There’s been lots of hype over this mascara, which the Goodiebox dudes tagged as a “cult classic” on the info card that came with this month’s box. According to the info, ithas “all the benefits; it lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts and separates” … and by the time I read the last part of that sentence, I was beginning to wonder if I was reading the advertising blurb for a mascara or a bra.

Anyway, I gave it a bash and it’s actually pretty good — if you wear mascara (which I don’t). It has a fancy schmancy brush that gets into all the nooks and crannies, leaving your lashes looking a lot fuller than the started.

Best of all, it didn’t irritate my eyes or go streaky.

I don’t wear mascara because it often makes my eyes itchy and I hate poking things in my eyes: yes, I know I’m a wimp, but there you go. To avoid be traumatised by marauding mascara, I go get my lashes tinted every 4 to 6 weeks but if I was the type of person to regularly think about poking myself in the eye with a mascara wand (because I do, every time I apply the stuff), then I’d probably give this stuff a spot in my dresser drawer.



Goodiebox, January unboxing

Goodiebox: January 2014
This month’s theme was “Head Over Heels”, and the first GoodieBox offering for the year didn’t really excite me too much. It seems the whole hair removal thing is an ongoing theme and there wasn’t a lot else of interest in the box.

I know lots of people were excited by the mascara sample but I don’t wear mascara often so that didn’t work out so well for me!

Here’s the rundown on my January goodies. Click on the links for full reviews of some products.

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara 30g sample  (full size 85g, RRP $43)
According to GoodieBox, this stuff is a cult classic. It lengthens, curls, volumises, lifts and separates … is it just me, or is it starting to sound like a bra? And apparently it has a magic brush. Oooh.

Veet High Precision Facial Wax full size sample (full size $15ml, RRP $22)
There’s a bit of a theme happening with Goodiebox: hair removal hell. After November’s wax strips and pongy hair removal cream, here we get more wax to play around with. This time it’s a “high precision” kit to defuzz your face.

I’m not masochist, so I don’t wax myself. I’m happy to pay someone to rips bits of my eyebrows out with hot wax but that’s as far as it goes. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who swear by this stuff, but it’s just not my thing. Ouch.

NS8 Heel Balm Complex sample tube (full size 100ml, RRP $25)
This stuff will, apparently, make your feet beautifully soft. Just the thing for summer. I’ll test it out on my husband’s feet … that should be something of a challenge for the product!

Party Feet Ultra Slim Invisible Gel Cushions (1 pair, RRP $13)
A variation on the tried and true cushioning pads, this time for narrow fitting shoes. Not that I have narrow fitting shoes … or indeed, narrow feet.

Palmers Eventone Tone Perfecting Cream 5g sachet (full size 75g, RRP $16)
Supposed to reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by sun damage and other nasties. Just a wee foil sachet so not much to try.

Blistex Five Way Lip Protection 2.8g sample (full size 4.25g, RRP $7.80)
With sun protection, moisturiser and a good level of water resistance so great for summer.

LIFESTYLE BOOSTER: Chillax (full size 90ml, RRP $5)
I really, really, really hate the name of this product.

Really hate it.

But back to the product: it’s a blend of cherry juice and lactium that is meant to help you relax and sleep. Or chillax, if you like. Which I don’t.

I haven’t tried this because I don’t have any problems getting to sleep but if you can look past the wanky name, I guess $5 a shot for something that is natural isn’t bad value.

And I hate the stupid fecking name, using that stupid fecking made-up word.

Does anyone know if this stuff works?
What is Goodiebox?
It’s a subscription service where you pay a monthly fee to receive a box of beauty products delivered to your door. The cost is around $30 a month (including delivery), and for that you will get a minimum of five “premium” beauty samples. These samples are generous sizes, and often there are a few full-sized products in your little box of goodies. Click here to join.

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