I know the days of glorious sunshine are pretty much over (for rainy, rainy Britain), but how about getting one last fling at summer with these adorable water gel tints from Etude House? These were released months ago when I was still in the UK, miles away from affordable Korean beauty brands.

dear darling water gel tint shark red watermelon red

Shark Red (L), Watermelon Red (R)

Today I’ll be reviewing the Dear Darling Water Gel Tint from Etude House– their Dear Darling tints have a huge range, but for these adorable popsicles, there are just six: 샤크레드 (Shark Red) , 통팥레드 (Red Bean Red), 수박레드 (Watermelon Red), 오피치레드 (Oh Peachy Red), 보석레드 (Jewel Red), and 살구레드(Apricot Red).

I found the tints very pigmented, like the rest of the Dear Darling range, and some of the shades ended up looking pretty similar when I swatched them instore! I decided to get the reddish tints since I look better in those hues (compared to pink).

dear darling water gel tint shark red watermelon red

I bought two tints (Shark Red, Watermelon Red) during a 1+1 event, from a store called Beauti Topping on a local Singapore shopping site, Qoo10 (SG). There is an alternate site called Qoo10 Global, for international shoppers- the tints are shipped direct from Korea, and are often marginally cheaper than getting them in brick and mortar stores.

I got it with the sale price of $8.70 (U.P. $10.99) with shipping $1.90 (total roughly £6) which was a steal considering it costs $9.90 in stores. I keep harping on the price but as a Singaporean, there’s nothing I love more than a good deal! Qoo10 does sales regularly so keep an eye out- the price will surely drop soon.

dear darling water gel tint shark red watermelon red

Watermelon Red (L), Shark Red (R)

dear darling water gel tint shark red watermelon red

 

You can apply several coats for a buildable look or apply in the center and blend outwards for a softer, ulzaang look. Bitten lips, right on trend!

I usually bring Shark Red with me- I just pop it into my purse and carry it around, it’s small and fits perfectly. It might be less convenient to pop into a pocket due to its thickness (my common gripe with the EOS lip balms) though.

dear darling water gel tint shark red watermelon red

I also purchased the normal Dear Darling tints in two shades- RD305 (L) and BR401 (R).

dear darling water gel tint

I got BR401 purely by accident- I placed the order assuming it was a deeper red, but this was from the soda pop range- also named BR401. Ach, online shopping is convenient, but it’s so much easier to mess up/ click something you didn’t mean to/ order something you didn’t intend to. Oh well.

BR401 has a matte formula and smells strongly of sweet soda. I profess to not being a fan of the colour- it is a very peachy pink and applies thickly. The chemical-y sweet smell irritates my nose (and lips! they burned)- I’m not overly sensitive to fragrances and don’t mind them, but this was overwhelming. I’ll probably sell it off on Depop or Carousell (both links will take you to my shop page).

RD305 is now my new everyday shade- despite how dark it looks on the official promotional pictures, it blends out to a very wearable shade! It is a lovely brick red shade with no orange undertones.

I use it with the NYX soft matte lip cream in Abu Dhabi and it looks gorgeous! I’ve never been a fan of full-on matte shades, since I’m often snacking throughout the day- matte lipsticks tend to wear off fastest in the center, giving that dreaded patchy look.

Lip tints are a lot more lightweight and easy to reapply- and you don’t have to take them off at all- they just wear off over the course of the day or come off easily during your regular face cleansing routine without any hassle or stain! I think it’s a great shame lip tints haven’t been brought to western countries like UK/ USA or publicised more.

It was only early this year that I’ve seen beauty sites like Beautybay start stocking Korean brands like Tonymoly (a favourite with such sites, since the packaging is adorable), and I’ve spotted a few Etude House products sold in T.K.Maxx (mostly older ranges).

Do any of you guys use makeup from Korean brands? I would recommend giving them a try- they are often comparable to huge, established beauty brands for a fraction of the price! I use a sheet mask from Innisfree to save my skin after a bad breakout- it is honestly such a lifesaver. While I’m still in Singapore, I’ll try to review more Asian beauty brands- it’s been too long since I’ve done a full review!

After reviewing the Gousto food box, I’ve partnered with Tornado to bring you yet another food box review from Everdine!

everdine review, everdine, food, food box

Everdine touts itself as “clean eating made simple”, with delicious meals delivered to your home or office that you can take from freezer to plate in usually just 10 minutes. You simply select a plan with 8 or 12 clean, wholesome gourmet meals in each delivery, with options for vegetarians too.

To be honest, I’ve always thought of “clean eating” as another dietary fad, a buzzword thrown around by fitness accounts on Instagram by smiling perfect women with “Live Laugh Love” tattoos in a minimalist font on their wrists or “Eat Pray Love” on their walls; a lifestyle that requires a lot of effort and money to sustain and upkeep (maybe that was a tad bit bitter, but I’m so envious of this lifestyle!).

I’d like to think I’m pretty good with making sure I eat healthily, since I dislike having too much fried food or things that just get chucked in the oven. However, I’m a pretty lazy person when it comes to cooking- especially after getting home after a long day, all I want is for food to be sorted in a flash!

Most of my regular meals involve some sort of stir-fry with various vegetables and sometimes a bit of chicken, or something that sits in a pot like stew or pasta that I can whip up quickly. If it requires a lot of steps or ingredients, I am usually reluctant to start it unless I have time on weekends. I often indulge in junk food during the day too, which is probably not the best for someone trying to stick to a healthy diet.

I was initially a bit iffy after hearing it was frozen, as you always hear about frozen ready meals that never taste very good and how unhealthy they are. Oh boy, I was definitely proven wrong.

I received 8 meals, which were:

Speckled lentil chilli with parisienne potatoes, Cajun blackened salmon, Cherry & hoisin duck with wilted greens, Mediterranean cod, Coconut katsu chicken, Falafel shawarma, Smoky chicken fajitas, Slow cooked beef & beetroot bourguignon

everdine review, everdine, food, food box

Some general observations about these dishes:

They were so convenient, and definitely perfect to take to work and heat up in the microwave- a full balanced meal without any of the fuss or washing up! I would definitely recommend this to people with busy full-time jobs- £55.20 might be too steep a week if you’re on minimum wage and only working part-time and in university most of the time, like most of my peers.

I would probably not use this every week/ every two weeks but I can definitely see myself subscribing to this every time I run out- I would like a one-off delivery option, which Everdine does not do unfortunately. It took me awhile to go through all the boxes as I used them to supplement my regular cooked meals/ when I was too tired to cook, and I think that these boxes are perfect to have as a “just in case”, if you forgot to make a lunch to take with you, if you were too tired to cook, if you ran out of fresh food and it’s too late to get some groceries.

Luckily, these boxes coincided with the week I got back from my 3-week trip from Europe (more on that in a separate post), and I had some lovely meals before I got around to doing any grocery shopping.

A lot of these meals were a little bland for my liking, which makes sense if they tout themselves as a healthy option. It isn’t difficult to add a little salt and pepper, and I added some soy sauce and sesame oil to the noodles that came with the cherry & hoisin duck dish, since it was unseasoned. Kale featured a lot in these meals given its superfood status now- I have never been a fan but I am now a convert!

Everdine definitely pays attention to what dishes/ ingredients are trendy at the moment- cajun blackened salmon has been featured in three food boxes I’ve seen so far, and firm favourites like falafel, fajitas, pasta, and katsu all are available to choose from.

What it looks like

It comes with a film you pierce/ peel off (if you have extras you have to remove). This was the coconut katsu chicken, which I thought was pretty nice- I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the greens were: soybeans, pak choi added a refreshing balance to the chicken, and stopped it from being too dry.

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Some of my other favourites- the beef and beetroot bourguignon was a delicious treat- I am definitely not a fan of beef and other heavy red meats due to the strong smell and taste (something I have not gotten used to from my 10+ years of being vegetarian). This meal was something I put in as a last resort because I did not want to try a meal I could whip up easily on my own. And gosh, it is definitely in my top 3 among all these lovely options! The beef is not too strong and the beetroot lends a bit of sweetness + tenderness to the meat. I am a huge fan of parsnips so the sides were excellent as well.

The cajun blackened salmon was also cooked to perfection and did not go to pieces when I attempted to flip it for a more even heating. This was seasoned just right and was really fragrant! The peppers on the side were chewy and sweet.

Convinced? Curious?

If you’d like to try out this box yourself, use this handy code for £25 off your first box! Here’s to a healthier diet with no stress or mess!

Everyone wants to eat delicious and healthy food at home, right? But this pesky thing called life often gets in the way. It’s not that easy to throw together an amazing recipe every day and if you don’t cook for a huge group of people, restocking the fridge is a decision that has to be made carefully.

I can’t count the number of times I find a recipe online and proceed to raid my local Tesco for all the necessary ingredients excitedly… and end up with a lot of fresh food that can’t last more than a couple of days. Cooking for one is tough! Luckily, I don’t lead a very hectic university life most of the time but many busy working adults will face an additional struggle to find the energy to buy groceries and prep home-cooked meals after work.

Recipe boxes like Gousto resolves all these issues: ingredients delivered right to your door in the perfect quantities, easy recipes with instructions laid out on cards. Can we get a hell yeah for convenience, no food waste, with a great variety of cuisines, every week?

Presenting…. the Gousto box!

gousto box, gousto, food

ta-daaaa~!

The trial box costs £5.49, which worked out to 4 servings of two different dishes. I chose the chicken cacciatore and the blackened cod tacos.

blackened cod tacos, mexican, food, gousto

Cod tacos

chicken cacciatore, potato, italian, food, gousto

Chicken cacciatore

It honestly was such a hard decision picking just two recipes- there was so much variety and they all looked mouth-watering. The menus change every week, by the way- so don’t worry about ending up with the same dishes week after week! Although, given how amazing my experience was, I wouldn’t mind eating the same thing every couple of weeks really.

cod, tacos, herbs, food, gousto

cod, tacos, food, gousto

chicken cacciatore, food, gousto, italian

chicken cacciatore, food, gousto, italian

My iPhone camera pictures don’t do justice to how delicious they are. I’ve been a bit more experimental in the kitchen as a result, and I’ve gone out to get ingredients to replicate the chicken cacciatore again this week!

(I had to tell them, I loved it so much)

The quality of their ingredients also deserves a special mention: they put effort into sourcing ingredients from British farms and vegetables are organic if possible.

The meat was delivered in a wool insulated bag filled with ice packs to keep ingredients fresh, and the ice packs remain cold throughout so even if you get back late the food won’t spoil on your porch. It was my first time seeing a wool insulated bag and my housemate told me I could probably make a cushion or something craft-y, but I don’t think I am quite that creative. I’d imagine you could sell it by the yard if you racked up an impressive tally of weekly boxes.

Who knows what you could do with it though. Maybe Gousto could do a recycling drive- if you send the wool and reusable ice packs back/ drop it off at a local collection centre, you get a bit of money off your next order? Being sustainable and eco-friendly and all that jazz.

I hope you enjoyed my review of the Gousto box! Remember, you get a huge discount off your first box (and second, if you stay) so give it a try if you’d like some kitchen inspiration.

I’ve been eyeing facial cleansing brushes for a while now, ever since they exploded onto the beauty scene a few years back… I could scarcely afford the Clarisonic at an eye-whopping £155 (for the Clarisonic Aria)- and still can’t- I would be immensely reluctant to drop that kind of money on something I was unsure about.

I scoured Google for reviews and comparisons, hoping to find a more affordable alternative, and the Magnitone repeatedly flagged up as a good competitor- some reviews even claimed it was gentler and more effective. The price on Amazon was £50, a third of the price- which I decided was pricey, but not too pricey if it did leave me with toned, baby smooth skin!

 

Magnitone Lucid cleansing brush, mint, facial brush

Magnitone Lucid cleansing brush in mint

I recommend purchasing it on Amazon– it is £20 cheaper than the price on the Magnitone London site. The delivery person just left it outside my front door, in full view of the street. How is that even allowed though? I don’t have a concealed front porch this year and I wish we still did- it was so handy for leaving parcels out for collection and you didn’t need to arrange for redeliveries quite as often.

The facial cleansing brush arrived in a very pretty box, with all the essentials- charger, USB, ziplock bag, and a one year warranty card that you register on their site.

Unpleasant delivery aside, I tried it out that very night and it left my face feeling oddly tight and toned. I had to apply moisturiser immediately since it was almost uncomfortably tight, but I guess that’s the difference for you. I already currently use a foam cleanser to get to all the dirt in my pores, but that probably wasn’t quite enough.

The description on their site states:

“Vibra-Sonic™ Daily Cleansing Brush deep-cleanses pores, tones and beautifully conditions your skin. For skin that deserves to go BareFaced! wherever, whenever. A combination of sonic oscillations + pulsed vibrations to deep-cleanse, massage and tone your skin at the same time, just like a mini workout.”

There are two modes on the facial brush- a normal one, and a toning mode that vibrates in short bursts. There is also an automatic timer that prompts you to move when you’ve been at a spot for too long, and after a minute it switches off completely.

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First-time users may experience breakouts as the gunk is cleared out, like I did, and it cleared up a little after three days. I routinely get bad hormonal acne, and this cleansing brush did leave my face feeling smoother and softer, but didn’t entirely eliminate all my acne woes. Granted, I have only been using it for a little over a week, and I will update this post after observing for a few more weeks.

The battery has good lasting power- I did not charge it at all when I got it, and it is still going strong! I just leave it in my bathroom and take it in the shower with me, and use it with my makeup remover and facial cleanser to take off makeup (it is entirely waterproof, so no fear of water damage!).

I like to use this with the innisfree green tea cleansing foam, as it is a thick paste that foams up beautifully with the brush and doesn’t leave the brush dragging over your bare skin (which might be too much for people with sensitive skin). It targets acne-prone skin as well, which is perfect! If your skin feels sensitive after using the brush regularly, make sure to apply lots of moisturiser, ensure there is enough cleanser and water, and reduce usage to 2-3 times a week or once daily until your skin gets used to it.

Be warned that you should avoid the sensitive eye area- I accidentally dragged it over my eyes once and lost about four eyelashes (laughs), and you don’t want it tugging at your delicate eye tissue either.

Overall, I am pretty satisfied with the results for the price I paid for it- and it is worth scouring eBay to see if anyone is looking to sell theirs for cheap. My friend got a secondhand one that was pretty much brand new at only £25! She paid an additional £14 to get two backup brush heads (for sanitary reasons, but you can well disinfect it yourself). There are other brush options like a larger brushhead for body use, and changing between them is very easy.

I hope this review was helpful- especially when you are dropping £50 on something, you want to do as much research as possible before purchasing it. Do let me know your experiences with this product- has it helped you just like mine did? 🙂