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Monthly Archives: March 2013

ocean

I mentioned in a previous post my strict adherence to a skin care regime for the sun. Perhaps the single most dangerous destroyer of skin aside from nutrition and the quality of our air intake, marred by smoking and pollution, is the sun and its ability to speed up free radicals.

I always enjoy scouring the shelves for new sun screens and blocks. This is a review of my most recent sunscreen:

Packaging:
A long, thick, squidgy purple bottle, smothered in primary colours, it has a childlike, bold image.

Pricing:
360 baht which translates to roughly eight British pounds.

Bang for your buck:
The longevity of this product is astounding. It really lasts a long time easily allowing you twice a day full body application. It doesn’t specify that it can be used on the face but I encountered no problems using the product in this way. SPF 50 gives you strong protection and the product claims to be vitamin D3 fortified and paraben free. There is a lot of discussion around parabens in products you might want to read up on. The product also claims to be water and sweat resistant. In my opinion, no product truly can be and even if it was I’m not so sure that such persistent pore cloggage would truly be a good thing but there is real staying power here! The product also includes anti-oxidant vitamins and sea plant botanicals. With its vibrant colour scheme and squeezy bottle, it’s also, quite simply, fun to use!

Texture:
A thick, soft cream that literally rubs in in seconds. No need to harshly, aggressively tug at the skin to get the product inside of the skin.

Scent:
This is probably my favourite thing about the product…it smells heavenly! It’s so hard for me to describe the scent of this product because it also encapsulates that sun cream smell of summers and oceans. It’s got such a strong, zesty, vibrant, fruity smell like zest for life in a bottle. It’s almost like something you could eat! The scent stays with you as well rather than wears away.

Does it last?
Yes…for a long, long time.

Would I repurchase?
I already have. This is the first I’d heard of the range but I adore and will definitely be reusing. This is up there as one of my favourite sunscreens!

Strap yourselves in dudes and dudettes, this is a pure popcorn flick! The storyline had the potential to be big. It’s already made a few transitions since L Baum wrote his novel about a wicked Witch but the story gained gravitas with the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and the recent theatrical adaptation ‘Wicked’. It’s a story with a lot of ‘meat’ as it were. Quirky characters, a lush fantasy world, a manic, unrelenting evil both comedic and horrifying (the flying monkeys have always been a bit ‘Planet of the Apes’ for me). The elements of the story mean that it can be rendered something jovial and jokey, or something darker and far more sinister depending on the interpreters slant.

This adaptation goes for the lighter aspects of the story. Part of what makes this film lackluster is the cast, none of whom I personally dislike as actors, but many of whom I don’t feel ‘fit’ their roles entirely. Some films elevate B ranked stars into superstardom…Heath Ledger really gravitated a level with his performance as the Joker, when previously he was just a pretty love interest in ‘10 things I hate about you’, but none of the stars seem to fill out the gravitas of their roles.

James Franco is Oz. For me, Franco is a fine actor and he certainly adds a buffoonery and a roguishness to Oz’s character. The whole concept of Oz is the double identity: someone perceived as powerful and magnificent who is secretly nothing more than a showman of questionable morals. Franco is very good at personifying the magician, but not so much the terror and power evoked by Oz as a deterrent to the witches. He does have good stage presence and a saucy wink though.

Zach Braff is Frank, Oz’s assistant who also features in Oz as a monkey in debt to the wizard for saving his life. Zach’s unique voice and sense of comedic timing evoke laughs and his animated form is eye poppingly magnified in terms of its colour and grandeur (as is the entire movie…the graphics are equisite, particularly the little China girl looking a little like Toy Story’s Bo Peep only cuter).

Then there are the witches. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and and Michelle Williams have been crowned with the three pivotal roles on which the events of the film hinge. Weisz offers her bountiful presence, that powerful authorative voice, regal Shakespearean manner and story book look to play the despicable Evanora and Michelle Williams, with her delicate, baby faced beauty, is Gilda, exiled and accused of poisoning her father, waiting for the prophesised wizard to come and return her to her palace and people. The most interesting of the three, beyond Evanora’s one dimensional ambition and thirst for rule and Gilda’s glowing goodness is Mila’s character Theodora…the fairy tale princess who appears cookie cutter. She’s beautiful, innocent and falls in love, but her prince (the Wizard) deceives her and plunges her into a wicked transformation into a hideous engorgement of her former self, consumed by bitterness, hatred and victimhood. No doubt Mila was chosen for that distinguished voice which fans will be familiar with, husky and full of cackle. She is terribly unconvincing as the goody two shoes but comes a little more into her own as the witch. Nonetheless, I couldn’t lose myself in her character. She undergoes the transformation and does a lot of impressive screaming, but she’s not quite big enough to fit the broomstick.

Bill Cobbs, Joey King (you might recall her as the ‘child from the pit’ in the Dark Knight Rises) , Tony Cox, Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi also make brief appearances.

Directed by Sam Raimi, this feels nothing like his work. It feels like a more recent Burton film (think Alice). It’s not that it’s a bad movie. It’s perfectly enjoyable, heartwarming and watchable, with familiar much loved characters and the potential of magic and redemption, but it’s still a popcorn flick, and if you can enjoy it as that you won’t be disappointed!

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Most households will be familiar with Johnson’s products. Although you’ll find the majority of the companies powders, lotions and gels lavished upon babies, so many celebrities swear by Johnson’s (including Gwen Stefani who looks like she’s been supping from the fountain of youth) that the products are also a staple in the beauty regimes of a plethora of women. You can’t really go wrong with products sensitive enough for the delicate skin of newborn babies.
Johnson’s recently released a new range of tantalizing little bottles. I picked up their Oxygen Fresh Gel Lotion…

Packaging:
Johnson’s packaging has always been simple as its staple. The bottle is little, curvaceous and an eye catching aquatic blue. In fact what seduced me into buying it aside from the reliable Johnson’s name was the colour which conjured images of oceans and sea breezes in bottled form.

Pricing:
A small bottle cost me less than two quid! Perfect as a ‘tester’.

Bang for your buck:
I love to lavish myself with products so I finished this product very quickly (intentionally) however as with all products, if you use them sparingly, you can make them last. You can also but the bigger bottles of this if you really want to make it a regular part of your moisturizing routine. It’s so cheap and the brand is so well established that you lose nothing in trying it out! It mentions that it contains ‘ocean minerals, coraline extracts and aqua moisture essences’. Almost makes me feel I’ll turn into a mermaid!

Texture:
Marketed as a ‘gel lotion’, the product is both watery and creamy. It has a consistency similar to Aloe Vera Gels. It feels like it evaporates onto the skin and it gives a cooling sensation as it does so.

Scent:
This product really has a mild, pleasant, ocean scent. It’s very natural, wholesome and makes you feel like you’ve been kissed by a breeze. It’s not overpowering or perfumed, just delicately there.


Does it last?

As mentioned above, you can definitely make this product last but I love pampering myself to much to make them survive too long in my clutches!

Would I repurchase?
Personally…I think I prefer the traditional Johnson’s baby oil…you know the one with the pink lid? This is a great product and well worth trying but I think I’ll stick to my first favourite!

When Pi finds himself the sole survivor of a sunken ship, he is tasked with assisting two Japanese reporters comprehension of how the ship came to sink. The first story he tells includes a Royal Bengal Tiger mistakenly named Richard Parker after his captor, who Pi, initially fearful of, manages to tame. Also inhabiting the sanctuary of the lifeboat are a cowardly, crafty hyena, a graceful Grants Zebra and a peaceful, civilised Orangutan.

The first story, unique fabulous as it is, is unable to placate the reporters incessant questioning, particularly as Pi explains his discovery of a carnivorous floating island the lures prey in by day and devours it by night. Unable to suspend their disbelief sufficiently to accept story 1, Pi tells story number 2, in which the animals from the initial story come to represent human counterparts.

In this story, Pi is the tiger, the hyena is the ships brutal cook, the zebra the gracious sailor isolated by a language barrier and the orangutan is Pi’s mother. This story, brutal, bleak and nihilistic and with no sense of wonder is barbaric, cannibalistic and dismal, contrasting sharply and jarringly with the vivacity and escapism of his previous tale.

Neither story illuminates how the ship came to sink nor sooths or eases Pi’s lengthy, inhumane suffering so Pi asks them which of the two stories they prefer. The reporters conclude that the first of the stories is more appealing, despite its implausibility.

The lure of this book is its inherent mystery and the questions it generates. Which story is true? Did Pi concoct the first story in order to psychologically defend himself and gain an acceptance of the horrific occurrences on the life boat? Or did he fabricate the second story in order to craft a succession of events more in line with the realism demanded of Pi by the reporters?

The author invites readers to decide for themselves which story they personally believe, or want, to be true. There is a difference here, between the prettier and the uglier story, and the story that speaks to your inner sense of the understanding of the world. The first story has a clear connection to religious perspectives and leaps of faith required and the second story correlates to reason and atheism.

Simplistically but stylistically written, Pi’s suffering sharply contrasts the innocence of a young shipwrecked orphaned boy at sea ‘coming of age’ with the merciless assimilation into an animalism necessary for survival.

Vibrant, vivid and memorable, Pi’s misery and wonder slosh and spill from the pages. Life of Pi seems reminiscent of the shipwreck genre (Castaway, Lord of the Flies) and regenerates it with a fresh perspective.

 

I was browsing the shelves in a cosmetics store when I stumbled across the Nature Series Olive Oil Body Wash. I was drawn in by the words ‘Contains ORGANIC olive oil’ and ‘Contains 7 herb extracts’. I realise there is a huge different between organic and certified organic, but I thought this would be a more natural, healthy option when washing my skin and the benefits of olives and their oil is frequently touted as being perfect for the hair and skin as both a topical application and to eat of course!

Packaging:

As an organic product, the bottle is translucent with a green sheen and has a large picture of a juicy, green olive on the front. The bottle is tall and lean and contains 250 ml of product. It certainly looks like a natural option embracing the colour scheme and flaunting its beneficial qualities.

Pricing:

Unfortunately I cannot recall the price for this product, nor can I locate it on the internet; however I do remember that it was certainly within my budget!

Bang for your buck:

The pump dispenser means that it’s easy to squirt out a small amount of product meaning that this product really can last a long time. How long it lasts depends how heavy handed you are in the shower. If you really like to lather yourself up, you might get through it fast, as it takes a little bit of product to get a mass lathering effect.

Texture:

A soft oily gel, this really glides and eases onto the body. It’s not a heavy, sticky product and is easy to wash off.

Scent:

This is where the product might lose some points. The scent is very authentically herbal and natural. This is perfect if you like subtle, inoffensive smells but part of what many women seem to enjoy about body washes is their explosive, powerful aromas. You’ll kind of smell like you came out of an Italian’s kitchen or a vineyard.

Does it last?

As I said, if you’re a serial latherer, you might really exhaust this one, but a few squirts is enough for full body application. I also doubled this as hand wash.

Would I repurchase?

It lasted me a long time, it looked and felt like a natural product and it left my skin silky and soft HOWEVER I prefer a more powerful scent for my body washes, so although I wouldn’t be adverse to repurchasing, it wouldn’t be my first choice.

I’m a bit of a sun Nazi. Nazi is possibly not the best choice of words, but what I mean is I am not a sun worshipper. I don’t do the bathing, oiling, tanning thing. I find nothing more unbearable than sitting out in the sun on a hot, crowded beach but put me under an umbrella with a book and I’ll be just jazzy. When I see slick oiled bodies writhing on the beach for hours on end I instantaneously think wrinkles! My neighbor, in her seventies, has never been abroad and never tanned, she has flawless skin for her age with no wrinkles in sight apart from a few very subtle laughter lines! She is a huge inspiration for me protecting my fair skin in the extreme sun exposure I put it through on my travels!

Part of my sun care routine is using a body lotion with SPF 50 which I usually apply to my face but as I tend to suffer with problematic skin, I decided to purchase a facial sun cream which is beneficial because it claims not to block pores and can be applied under makeup. Sun creams designed for the body can occasionally be a little ‘robust’ for the delicate facial area.

Packaging:

The Soltan package is pretty simplistic. It’s a vibrant yellow, triangular container. Eye catching on the stand but with a very basic design. It’s noteworthy that this is one of the budget skin care products.

Pricing:

I purchased mine for about  £7.00 in Boots. Great value for money when it comes to sun care products which are often horrendously over priced in my opinion.

Bang for your buck:

This product comes in a small triangular squeezable pouch and a little goes a long way. I’ve been using it for three months and only now am I running low. If you follow expert advice, lotion is best applied 30 minutes before sun exposure and is best topped up every two hours thereafter, or more frequently if you are sweating profusely or frolicking in the sea. Despite this, the product lasts and lasts and lasts. It also does not blog or clog pores which I have found an issue in the past with heavier creams that really coat the skin which is great for moisturising the body but a bad choice for moisturising the volatile, impressionable skin of the face!

Texture:

This is a thick cream that glides onto skin and is perfectly soft. It really feels like you are wearing a sun shield!

Scent:

I never know quite how to describe the scent of sun lotions. They always conjure memories of intangible things like holidays and ocean water and distant crushes.  It’s got that distinctive sun cream smell; kind of heavy and memorable and very, very summery!

Does it last?

Sun lotion needs constant reapplication when the face is exposed to prolonged, powerful sunlight or if/when the product is sweated off or comes into contact with water. Despite this, I find the product has real staying power. If I am lax with application, I tend to burn around my hair line and on the tip of my nose but this didn’t occur with this product.

Would I repurchase?

It’s small, it lasts, it doesn’t aggravate the skin or clog pores and it offers perfect protection. It’s also a bank friendly option. YES!

I had never heard of POND’S before coming to Thailand but they seem to love the products over here! Southeast Asian women generally have beautiful complexions so I was certainly eager to try out the products located on their shelves. I bought this from the local 7/11 (you can find them everywhere!) under the advice of a male Thai companion of mine and if men are recommending it, it has to be something pretty special.

The product is also available in blue as an oil control option, but I opted for the traditionally girly pink. Although the bottle is smothered in Thai which I can’t decipher, I really adore this product and have already repurchased it. Here is my review:

Packaging:

This is a tiny, elegantly shaped pink bottle with a twist and pour lid. It reminds me slightly of a Johnson’s baby product. It’s baby pink and very girly and petite. Something about it caught my eye! It’s also perfectly pocket sized so you can career it around with you on your jaunts.

Pricing:

Ridiculously cheap, I purchased this for the equivalent of about £2.50. A really convenient option if you are penny pinching.

Bang for your buck:

If you aren’t familiar with the premise of the whole ‘BB’ wave, I think it started somewhere in South Korea, or at least that’s how I first became aware of it. These powders and creams aim to provide a flawless finish to the complexion whilst nourishing the skin. They basically proclaim to do everything whilst making you look beautiful of course.

The colour of this product is ideal for white skin. It’s difficult to say if it would suit all shades of ivory. I am naturally fair with yellow undertones and I go faintly golden in the sun. This product melted onto my skin flawlessly and blended perfectly with my skin tone.

You have to be careful to not be heavy handed with this product as a lot can fall lose and then you’ll feel obliged to rub it all in!

It goes very cakey and watery (an odd combination) if you apply it onto wet or recently moisturized skin, so let any previously used products sink in before application.

It’s the kind of product you can pat rather than rub on, although at times I had to rub quite vigorously to get the product truly ‘into’ my skin (this was mainly if I over-used the amount of product).

It gives flawless coverage to any pigmentation issues and it also serves as sun protection containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, notorious skin savers in the sun, so it can be applied over sun screen as you are out and about in the day for added skin saving!

It also lasts a very long time. I’ve been sharing the product with a friend and we use it a lot. In three months, we still have not run out!

Texture:

As a powder, the texture is soft like grains of very smooth sand. It melts onto the face.

Scent:

This has a really pleasant perfumed scent. Again, it reminds me of Johnson’s product in that it has a slightly ‘baby’ aroma. I’ve read a few POND’S products reviews and some people complain about this particular smell so it might not be to everyone’s tastes, but I found it a very light, pleasant and feminine scent.

Does it last?

I often apply this product over my sun tan lotion before going out in the Thai sun and it stays on pretty well even through my vigorous sweating and sojourns into the sea. When it meets water it can go a bit cakey, but it really does fight to stay on.

Would I repurchase?

I already have. I’m in love!