Saturday, 23 March 2013

A sunscreen for summer sea sirens: Ocean Potion Suncare: Broad Spectrum Sunblock SPF 50 Anti-Aging


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:

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

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!

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.

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!

Oz: The Great and Powerful

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!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Johnson’s Body Care – Oxygen Fresh Gel Lotion


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…

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.

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!

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.

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!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Life of Pi (Novel) [SPOILERS]

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.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Olive Oil Body Wash (Nature Series)

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.

Soltan Face Moisturising Suncare Cream 50+

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.


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.


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!


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


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!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

POND’S magic powder BB

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:


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.


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!


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


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!



Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser

I first heard about Cetaphil when I was flicking through a celebrity magazine…one of my excessive habits back in the day, and saw that model Lily Cole was a loyal and dedicated connoisseur of the cleanser.

If you have skin anything like mine, which can be oily, unpredictable and problematic, finding a cleanser that truly works for you can turn into the search for the Holy Grail. There’s a labyrinth of products all promising results with an ingredients list longer than Jodie Marsh’s conquests book…

I came across the product cheaply priced in a cosmetics store in Krabi, Thailand and decided to purchase it.


The packaging lacks the WOW factor but that might just mean that the product doesn’t need the faux glitz and glamour to do its job and do it well. The white, blue and green colour scheme evokes a sense of simplicity, health and efficiency. This is a no frills product. It’s simple and effective and it doesn’t need to dress up to sell itself, or so it screams. The bottle is also stout with a middle aged spread, meaning you can get a surprising amount out of this product!


I purchased this in Thailand for a relatively cheap price but in the UK where I am originally from I think it is priced between £10 and £17.

Bang for your buck:

I purchased the 500ml bottle and as I stated before, there is a lot in this bottle making it worth the money. You only need to use a little product as it goes a long way. This cleanser could easily last you a long, long time with daily two time’s usage.


The texture of Cetaphil is translucent and doesn’t foam when you cleanse. This indicates that it isn’t full of certain chemicals that cause products (particularly cleansers) to foam, giving the illusion of a deep cleanse. I remember hearing (but please don’t quote me as I am not a dermatologist or scientist so please do your own research here!) that foaming creates the illusion of a satisfying, deep clean, but that ingredients cleanse just as well without having foam effect. The product glides on and it’s hard to tell exactly where you’ve covered on your face but it doesn’t itch or aggravate. It doesn’t give the feel of a really deep cleanse, but it does brighten and freshen up the face in a very light way which I believe is good for oil production as abrasive scrubbing promotes the skin to produce more!

Did it clean the skin?

My skin felt refreshed and light after use. As I said, this didn’t provide me with a sense of having a really invasive or thorough cleanse in the way of a facial or a more rigorous product and the lack of foaming and the translucency can make you think the product has no real magic, but it definitely keeps my skin looking more balanced and less oily. I haven’t had any extreme break outs but it hasn’t helped to shift deeper skin blockages in the form of blackheads.


This product wasn’t designed to be the sweet smelling skunk in the cosmetics case. It has a barely there, herbal scent making it feel natural and light. This hasn’t been heavily perfumed. In fact, it smells a little like baby oil.

Would I repurchase?

I’ve been using this product for about one month and I like the way it makes my skin feel and look. It’s not ‘tough love’ for the skin. It simply gently removes oil and build up and makes me feel fresh as a baby! It’s also non-comodogenic which is a blessing for oily skins unwelcome cousin, acne and blackheads! I would repurchase this product in a heartbeat. Hey, if it’s good enough for Lily Cole’s fresh cream complexion it’s good enough for me!

Treasure Yourself by Miranda Kerr

Miranda Kerr is many things; mum, mega model, muse but…author? Miranda’s foray into the world of the written word ‘Treasure Yourself’ was met with some tittering from avid readers. She is always adnorned with a mega watt smile though, so she must be doing something right!

Generally, models are stereotypically pigeon holed to be rather vacuous, superficial and clueless when it comes to deeper matters. Some found it hard to stomach that Miranda had turned out her  own version of a ‘help yourself’ guide for girls wondering what Miranda could possibly comprehend about the struggles of the average girl not ensconced in angel wings and million dollar lingerie.

Secondly, the title ‘Treasure Yourself’ caused yet more to double up in hysterics. Wasn’t it pretty easy for Miranda to advocate treasuring yourself when she has the face of an angel, the body of a goddess and a seamlessly perfect life, from her stellar career which is only broadening from modeling into cosmetics and beauty, an internationally renowned husband in the form of Orlando Bloom and a beautiful, healthy baby boy?

Miranda’s introduction soon puts to rest that her life has simply been a step by step process to success. Instead, she shares professional setbacks from her earlier modeling days and a personal tragedy that reinforced her desire to live for each day.

Miranda’s advice and perceptions are earnest, if unoriginal. She shares a little of her history before outlining what she feels are the essential processes to lead a happy life. Amongst them include a healthy, organic (where possible) diet, regular exercise (Miranda is a particular advocate of yoga), smiling, recognizing and acknowledging your own beauty and the regular use of mantras and affirmations. She then ends the book with some mantras and affirmations of her own, and those from others who have inspired her, including Deepak Chopra.

A kind quirk to Miranda’s short read is that she requested friends and family draw pictures of their favourite flowers to adorn the pages of the book and she also shares some childhood snaps that reveal she has always been a genetically blessed beauty.

Miranda has been accused of inventing a slightly pompous, pretentious mother earth persona, cut from the same ilk as Gwyneth Paltrow, but as she shares her embarrassments and her own personal crutches, it’s hard to dislike her.

I came away with two distinct impressions.

One was that Miranda could have put more into this book. It’s relatively short and reiterates ideology and advice that has become well worn by now, though perhaps that’s because, just like clichés, they echo with truth and require repetition. Miranda doesn’t introduce anything truly unique or miraculous and in a way it could be argued that Miranda was after a quick sell: some pretty pictures of flowers and a few pleasant messages. Her gorgeous face could probably sell used bog roll after all…

HOWEVER, Miranda didn’t have to write this book at all and there is something engaging about her easy, basic prose. Miranda isn’t pretending to be something she isn’t. She’s just sharing what has helped her through her cataclysmic rise and the inevitable pitfalls along the way.

This isn’t a self-help book and shouldn’t be read as such. I think the ideal audience for this book are Miranda fans and young girls who can take a few inspirational messages from a superstar. It’s helpful for young girls on the cusp of adolescence to realize that even the superbly stunning Miranda had bouts of inferiority and insecurity as a child and in her early years as a model.

Miranda has been accused of being a pseudo good girl with a shallow message of peace and love good old fashioned hippy style, but whether the image is a concocted façade or the real deal, promoting a message of treasuring yourself through the food you eat, the water you drink, the energy you exude and the way you should value yourself as a girl and woman can only be beneficial.

This is advice girls need now more than ever, in an entertainment culture that berates women physically and emotionally on a consistent basis, comparing them to impossible, idealized standards and running them through the grinder of the music industries misogynistic music videos and lyrics that reduce women into sexual commodities for the often uninteresting rapper fronting the song. This is a message girls need and so I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from supporting Mirandas’s first book!