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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Plain Jane

Ulta3 Neutral

Sometimes it's fun being Plain Jane rather than Lady Gaga =P


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Soap Making

I love trying new things. How original right? Hahah but it's true! I wasn't always like this - and I guess in some aspects I still am a bit of a creature of comfort. But I just came to a point in my relatively short life where I just sort of got bored with how I spent my time. Yes partying and going out all the time was extremely fun, but It can get a bit repetitive really. I'm always looking for new and exciting things to do on my days off, you know, mix it up a bit. I also LOVE learning new things (hence im still studying =P). So when my dad asked me if I wanted to go to a soap making class with him, I was like "Meh, why not!"

God knows why he wanted to learn how to make soap. Don't ask.

Anyways, he had booked us into a class at City East Community College in Bondi. They actually have heaps of classes such as cake decorating, cooking, various languages and so on. But book fast if you see an open spot because the classes are small and may not always be offered! So on a rainy Sunday morning we made the trek to Bondi.

The class was really small, about 10-12 people which was perfect. Our instructor (The beautiful and oh-so-French Marlene) started off by explaining the chemical side of things (I'm not gonna bore you with all that...and plus I've sorta forgotten it all =P) - does the word Saponification ring any bells? Unfortunately for us, soap making is supposed to be done in dry conditions with the humidity really low. But with all the rain it was really damp in the air, but we soldiered on.

Soapconscious is Marlene's Soap Making Business! ANd of course the rest is just all the science behind soap making....

It was actually really interesting the way she explained it all. She also went through common problems with soap making and troubleshooting so to speak. For instance, if your soap is covered in a sort of white powdery substance (which i see too often in a certain soap shop!), it means too much Lye has been used to make the soap. This makes it very corrosive and very harsh on the skin. Scarily, she went on to explain how very thin, sensitive skin (commonly on the elderly) can easily be damaged with continued use of these corrosive soaps, resulting in skin ACTUALLY TEARING. I freaked out with the mental image *shudder*.

On to the fun part!! Making soap!! We made 3 types of soaps - Bar, Liquid and Glycerin. The bar and liquid soaps actually take a couple of days to make and need a month or more to actually mature. So she had some mixtures pre-prepared and we just finished off the process. The glycerin soaps are those fancy little transparent soaps, which are the easiest to make - they are simply melt and pour. You melt the soap, add whatever scents and decorative items to the liquid form, then pour the soap into moulds. EASY! And they smell and look gorgeous.

 The bar soaps turned out great!! They are really luxurious and rich, however Marlene explained that soap is pretty much a transient thing. Most of the effects from soap don't last very long, however they are a delightful indulgence =). She had awesome ideas for speciality soaps (she owns a soap making business and has been doing it for many many years!), like pouring the soap mixture into a loofah so you can lather and exfoliate at the same time! And using powdered clays that are supposed to be really good for the skin, as well as adding gorgeous colours to the soaps.

The liquid soap was a bit disappointing. Even though we made it the proper way it is actually sorta hard to get soap to the same consistency as commercial soaps, which have things added to it to get that texture. It still works, but i wish you could get that same feel without having to add so much unnecessary artificial stuff...

I loved the glycerin soaps! They are so adorable! We each got to make our own soap concoction with various scents, clays, colourings and other "add-in" items such as glitter and tine flowers. Marlene also demonstrated how to suspend one soap into another! Everyone chose a mould and poured there soap mixture into it, left it in the fridge to set. We all swapped or miniature soaps so we could take different ones home.

My little purple glitter sandalwood hearts!!

Mine is the purple heart! It has glitter in it but it's sorta hard to see with the intense purple colour I made it...smells divine! Sandalwood mmmmm....

Some people made some gorgeous soaps, while others (like daddy dearest) made some weird lookin things =P. All the clay he added actually made the soap solidify before he could pour it hahaha. So we had to re-melt it and pour it again. However, all that clay feels gorgeous on the skin!

Hahah dad's failed soap making attempt. But it's a really good shape,
makes it easier to use in the shower with the rounded side

All in all it was a fun day!
I didn't expect soap making to be so much fun but I really did enjoy my self. The class was pretty much a full day (about 10:30am-3pm) with break in the middle) and it was really easy to get to with parking right out the front. There are HEAPS of community colleges like City East that have classes just like this, just look up your local community notice board or just get on the net and get searching. And if soap making isn't your thing then I'm sure you'll find something in their extensive course listings =). And, like me, try something new!! You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it =D. 

=D xx

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Macadamia Brittle

This year when the time came around to book tickets for the Sydney Good Food and Wine Show, I passed up the temptation to buy tickets, mainly because I was in dire straights financially and I had no idea if id even be in the country. Since I was bitterly disappointed I didn't get to go, I was surfing through my pics from last years show, not exactly a constructive way to let go =P. Anyways, I came across a picture of the macadamia brittle I picked up from the Treat Factory stall last year. I remember vaguely that it tasted like caramel popcorn, and suddenly I had a craving for the sweet and salty treat.

Surprisingly when I Googled it I couldn't find many reliable recipes I was happy with. I sorta had to mix n' match some steps and ingredients before I was completely happy with the final recipe. It turned out quite good, though not exactly how I remember it, but still really really yummy.

Macadamia Brittle

1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/3 cup water
180g salted (normal) butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


1. Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) degrees. Spread the nuts on a baking tray and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, turning the nuts after 5 minutes. Cool and then coarsely chop (or smash with a rolling pin, but not to much haha). Set aside.

2. Place the sugar in a medium deep saucepan. Add the golden syrup and water, and over medium heat, bring to a boil. Boil until a layer of bubbles forms on top, 3 to 4 minutes. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and continue to boil 5 minutes longer.

3. Remove the foil, add the butter, and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer registers 150C (300F), about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Immediately stir in the baking soda.

4. Meanwhile, put baking paper on a baking pan. Spread the nut mixture over the prepared pan, spreading it as thin as possible with a long, metal spatula. When cool, run a clean, dry towel over the top to absorb some of the oil.

5. Cut or break the brittle into desired pieces

Enjoy! =D xx

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Island Paradise

I did this manicure just before going to Sri Lanka. I wasn't thinking of my holiday destination at the time, but now I look at the photos and it reminds me of the beaches of Sri Lanka with their warm waters and cool breezes. It ACTUALLY looks like the below =P. It brings back memories of beach outings with the family, occurring so often that each memory melds into the other. It makes me miss the Island Paradise =(. This manicure goes on record as having received the most compliments (so far =P) haha.

I was inspired by a picture on Pinterest that has been floating around. I altered the colours a bit to make it look a bit more realistic. Sorry if it looks a bit messy, but i used alot of polish and it was sorta hard to clean my fingers properly =P.

I started by doing gradient sunset nails - I painted a thick layer of NYX My Sunshine on each nail. Then I sponged on OPI On Collins Ave half way up the nail, the sponged on a bit of Ulta3 Sizzling Red, following up with a bit of Essie Mesmerize. On my right hand you'll see I also put a tiny dark strip of Essie Midnight Cami just on the tips.

It takes a bit of time, waiting for the layers to dry and all. Sponging also takes a bit of practice, just to get the gradient you want. I used a regular make up sponge for mine. Beware, it could start to wear away and leave bit of sponge all over your nails! So get some good quality sponges. Id imagine a regular kitchen sponge would work too.

And after I did the gradient I applied a layer of top coat, then followed with the palm tree design and finally another layer of topcoat =).

Left Hand

Right Hand

I'd love to do gradient nails more often! The effect is so pretty and it really is easy once you practice a couple of times.

=D xx

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Hey guys!!! I'm back!! I actually touched down a week ago but of course it's taken some time to settle back down into my boring old life =(. I had the most wonderful time in Sri Lanka, my cousin's wedding was absolutely amazing. I have to admit, it's rare that I ever leave Sri Lanka not actually wanting to come back home...

I've been very fortunate in that I get to travel there often to see my extended family, and I normally am whole-heartedly ready to come back home after each trip. I love my family, which is extremely large and I have heaps of fun with them over there, but having a large family means endless travelling to relatives' houses and vists etc etc....and living in Sri Lanka is not the easiest thing =P. And so by the end of each trip I've had my fill of the motherland and am ready to go home.

But this time, since there was a wedding, it sorta brought the whole family together in the one place, and it reminded me so much of my childhood where dad's brothers and sisters all lived in close proximity, and hence the family was essentially together. I had so much fun, it was great to catch up with my cousins and every day was filled with things to do. And the excitement around the wedding was just phenomenal, and the wedding itself was incredible.

My cousin and his beautiful bride

Yummiest cake!!

Leaving my mark around the world hahaha

The one thing I will never get tired of in Sri Lanka is the food! Omg it is always amazingly tasty.

Making hoppers in grandma's ancient kitchen

My staples of the trip - mangosteen and rambutan

My little cousin (Bubbi) crashing the photo =P

It's great to be home, I missed my friends and my creature comforts. God knows I probably missed my soft pillow more than anything =P. My best friend has a lot of family over here in Oz and they always have large family reunions. I always tell her how envious I am that so many of her cousins and aunties and uncles live so close by. She tells me I'm lucky my extended family all live overseas hahaha. But you always miss those who are a 1000 miles away, who you can't just call up to grab a bite to eat or catch the latest Batman movie with. I'd give anything to have my whole family over for dinner every so often. I miss my family like crazy.

=D xx
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