Saturday, August 25, 2012

Table of Plenty NoNo's Bars Review

I received a couple of boxes of the new NoNo's Bars for my four and a half year old to trial; one box of Cocoa Crush and one of Berry Blast. This product is made by Table of Plenty and is aimed squarely at kids, particularly as an addition to the school lunch box. It says on the front of the box "Better Bars for Kids" and "Take Me To School".

Product Information:
- Under 100 calories per bar
- No preservatives
- All Natural
- contains wholegrain oats and wholegrain rice
- 100% GM free
- Australian Made and Owned
- problematic ingredients such as dairy, wheat, nuts, soy & sulphites are avoided.

The Taste Test

Unfortunately, my notoriously fussy son refused to try either of the NoNo's bars varieties! He loves fruit and bread, but is fussy with vegetables, cheese, meat and dinner options in general, but of course, will eat lollies, chips and chocolate. I thought he might be swayed by the 'chocolatey' bar, but it wasn't plain enough for him. Hubby quite liked both bars, giving me positive feedback. I didn't really like the Cocoa Crush, but did enjoy the taste of the Berry Blast. I appreciate the low calorie count and that they are nutritious. Also, easy to chuck in the handbag for when I'm on the go!

Are They Allergy Safe?

Here's where it can get quite serious if you have a child with allergies. So I'll get detailed.

The back of the box says - 
"Most children don't have allergies, but still need to be careful what they take to school. NoNo's are made with this in mind. They taste great, are wholegrain and we avoid problematic ingredients like DAIRY, WHEAT, NUTS, SOY and SULPHITES (see allergen declaration for details), so you can send them to school"

Allergen Declaration (from side of the box) -
"Contains Gluten. May contain traces of tree nuts, peanuts, dairy and soy due to shared equipment".

The plastic wrap of each individual bar has the above Allergen Declaration printed on the back.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
So although the product is marketed as dairy, wheat, nuts, soy and sulphites free, it is still made on shared equipment, meaning it can contain trace amounts of these ingredients. My son isn't allergic to any foods, but that's something that may make a significant difference to a family dealing with severe allergies.

I sent an LCM's Split Stix bar to Kindy in my sons lunchbox one day, thinking it was nut-free and allowed, and it got sent home with a stern notice about it being banned due to allergies. Split Stix are puffed rice and yoghurt bars that don't list nuts as an ingredient, but on closer inspection, the wrapper did say it may contain traces of peanuts/tree nuts. So in (at least) some Kindergartens, the words "may contain traces of nuts" is enough to get a product sent home unopened with a notice to parents. Therefore, had I sent a NoNo's Bar to Kindy for my son, it would have been rejected. 

Schools, on the other hand, seem to not be as strict (depending on the school obviously - I am only going by the Primary School we are sending our son to and what the Principal had to say on the issue). Depending on the school, this might be quite an acceptable snack to pack in your child's lunchbox, as long as you're aware of the allergen declaration.

Disclaimer: These products were provided for consideration. Opinions are my own and are not biased.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

BIRTHDAY Movie Review

Cast: Natalie Eleftheriadis, Kestie Morassi, Richard Wilson, Chantal Contouri
Genre: Drama

"M is the highest paid professional of the many girls at Scarlet's, but even on her 25th Birthday, it's business as usual. M's trade is sex, but sex doesn't sell the way it used to; what clients are searching for, paying for .... is love". M is expert at giving clients what they wish for, but this year will her secret Birthday wish come true?

This is a surprisingly beautiful Australian drama that moved me to tears. Although the subject matter is prostitution and the majority of the film is set in a brothel, this movie is more about love than sex. Natalie Eleftheriadis gives a brilliant and emotionally-charged performance as the main character, M.

This was written and directed skillfully by James Harkness, and actually started out as a stage production. Actor Travis McMahon, who plays Father Phillip in Birthday, was at the play and apparently said to James Harkness "Mate, I reckon this would make a great film". I was surprised I had empathy for these sex workers, where normally they would disgust me, so that's a credit to both the script-writer and the acting talent. Yes, this has sex, nudity and a poem featuring the C word, but it's well worth being open-minded with this one; I found it to be quite a rewarding experience.

Fun Facts
* Birthday is set (and was filmed) in my hometown, Adelaide! Elizabeth Centrelink is featured and The University of Adelaide is mentioned. J. Harkness is a South Australian film-maker.

* Main star Natalie Eleftheriadis was also a producer on the film.

* Chantal Contouri once joked to writer/director James Harkness about playing a sixty year old prostitute being the only thing that would entice her back to the screen. He offered her the role of Scarlet, the Madame, three months later.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Party Time Manicure: Purple & Aqua Contrast!

It's bright, colourful, exciting, and as close to a Party as I'm going to get (except for my sons upcoming 5th Birthday Party, but I'm not sure a bunch of hyperactive kiddies counts).  I have a disturbing number of Ulta3 polishes, so picking one out was a challenge. I then used another cheapie, BYS, as contrast on the ring finger. As you can see I forgot to put a ring on it; Beyonce would be pissed. I also did 2 coats of aqua over the top of the purple instead of by itself. I guess that's just me and my hardcore rebellious nature, always breaking the rules. LOL!

Products used......
Ulta3 in Purple Pumps
BYS in Hocus Pocus
Max Factor Nailfinity Glossy Top Coat

Friday, August 10, 2012

Epic Empties: Powering Through the Products!

This is an Epic Empties in the sense that I finished a massive 12 products! Quite a few were nearly empty, so I guess I has a head start. There's a lot to get through, so I'll try not to ramble on. Let the emptiness begin .....

Rexona Women Crystal Anti-Perspirant Deodorant
Nothing mind-blowing, but at least the fumes don't choke you like the Nivea sprays!

Toni & Guy Cleanse Dry Shampoo
I'm a massive fan of Toni & Guy dry shampoo, so when I saw they had come out with a new range, in spiffy white cans instead of silver, I was pretty excited. I actually really love this 'Cleanse' dry shampoo. It's a super-fine gentle mist that disperses brilliantly, soaking up grease and oils, leaving my hair clean, refreshed and full of volume. Also, the can is bigger; great for if you power through the stuff like I do. It costs a little more, but I've been able to get this on special at PriceLine for $12 instead of the usual $17.

The Body Shop Pear & Lemongrass Shower Gel
I got this and another fragrance from the Earth Lovers range half price at The Body Shop while in Singapore. I'm going to have a break before I start the next one as I've got a few other shower gels on the go that need to be finished first (and frankly, I'm enjoying them more). I've reviewed the Pear & Lemongrass gel here.

Sunsilk Keratinology Detoxifying Shampoo
I can't even remember if this was any good. It can't have been terrible, because I'd definitely recall that. No re-purchase, I think this just happened to be in the cupboard. Now it's not. Adios!

Clinique Chubby Stick in Whole Lotta Honey
Devastated this is gone! It was such a creamy, gorgeous consistency with a flattering shade of balm that really moisturised my lips. I'm not enjoying its replacement, the Super Strawberry Chubby Stick, nearly as much. I actually got a cotton bud and started digging the product out, you can see the concave hole in the photo above! I've blogged about this product here.

L'Oreal Preference High Shine Colour Conditioner
This is the conditioner that comes in the box of hair dye and it's seriously the best conditioner ever. I only colour my hair twice a year, but the conditioner is a highlight in the procedure. It gives me smooth, soft, silky, detangled hair. Love it.

St Ives Moisturizing Olive Scrub
Yeah, I've really gone off this now. No re-purchase. I've talked about it here.

Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant
I'm getting into all the rosehip oils and tissue oils again, so I thought I'd start with this tiny sample. Trilogy makes a great rosehip oil. It leaves my skin soft, smooth and nourished.

Maybelline Masterliner in Black
I adore this product. If you have a problem with eyeliner smudging, smearing, running or wearing off during the day, you must check this out. This little beauty stays put all day long and it looks fantastic on. It's retractable, so only wind it up a little bit when using, to minimise breakage.

Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Black
This is basically exactly the same product as the Masterliner, except it's a bit crappier. It tends to break more frequently. Utilise the above tip and proceed with caution.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Pink In The Afternoon
Really missing this. It was the perfect pink shade for daytime wear, when I was looking for something subtle yet more colourful than a nude. Versatile, felt great on and the colour suited my skin tone.

Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in 07
Love this! Already purchased my back-up when they were on special, WAY before this one was getting low. It's probably the most flattering nude I have, it's super-creamy and wears well. Great value for money.

Disclaimer - All products were bought by me with the exception of the teeny tiny Trilogy Rosehip Oil, which was a free sample.

Have you tried any of these products? What are you thoughts on them?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

SkinCare Routine: Back to Basics!

Oh hai! Just wanted to update you on my current skincare routine. I've just completed two consecutive skincare trials, which involved using four different products on my face for the last couple of months. As interesting as this was (and I do love trying new brands and blogging about my experiences!), I am determined to get Back To Basics for a while. My skin needs a break, and I want to feed it with stuff it's used to, products that I know work.

So here's my current skincare routine:

Pevonia Botanica Purifying Skin Mask
Elucent Anti-Ageing Gentle Cleanser
ASAP Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub
TN Dickinson's Witch Hazel
Clinique Anti-Fatigue Cooling Eye Gel (Skin Supplies For Men range, lol)
Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Ageing Eye Cream
Lancome Genifique Youth Activator (sample)
Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Ageing Cream (Normal) SPF15

Disclaimer: All of these products were either won or bought by me, with the exception of the Lancome sample, which was a freebie. 

What's your current skincare routine?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

KURAHITO Face Toning Lotion Review + Discount Offer

Front of bottle. For sure!

I have a product review for you today, along with a Discount Offer you can use for purchases on the Choice Essentials website.

KURAHITO is a Japanese sake-based skincare range formulated to whiten the skin. Large amounts of Junmai-Shu (pure rice sake essence) is used, along with fish collagen, Elastin and Hyaluronic Acid. Together, these ingredients work to restore moisture and clarity and bring radiance and brightness to the skin. The entire Kurahito series is paraben, fragrance, colourant and mineral oil free.

And she doesn't realise she's photographing the wrong side of bottle!

KURAHITO Face Toning Lotion

Choice Essentials say: "Smooth-textured and lightweight skin lotion brightens and balances skin tone while restoring moisture. Formulated with large amounts of Junmai-shu, it promotes skin clarity and radiance."

I've been trialling this pleasant, refreshing toner for a few weeks, and I really like it. It's a clear, water-consistency toner, that you can apply quickly and easily with a cotton ball or pad. I'm not sure how it would go as a base for makeup, because I've been applying moisturiser over the top before concealer and foundation hit my face.
The bottle is a good size and I haven't been using much with each application, so it's going a long way. It feels slightly different to other toners I've used, sort of like it's softening and moisturising my skin, instead of clarifying it. With continued use, I have noticed my skin tone is brighter and more even. This is great for me, because I get so sick of my dull skin.
I was a bit sceptical of the whole 'skin-whitening' thing, but I haven't developed a pale ghost-face like I was worried I might! I basically have an improved skin tone, so that my red blotchy bits are less noticeable, and in general, my face looks brighter. I'm really happy with this product and will continue using it.

Still snapping the wrong side. Wonder what this says?

Reader Discount Offer
Choice Essentials have provided you, my lovely readers, with a 10% discount offer by using the code Max The Unicorn. There is no minimum spend and it's valid on any products at Choice Essentials. Valid only with payments made by PayPal. Please enter the code Max The Unicorn under 'Remarks' at checkout and (optionally) during PayPal checkout too, if you wish.

Here's a link to the Choice Essentials website

Disclaimer - I received this product for consideration. The review is my own opinion and no payment was offered/accepted for this review. However, if any sales are generated with the Max The Unicorn code I'll receive a small percentage. In purchasing from Choice Essentials and using the code, you will be supporting this blog.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Banana Sherbet Smack Shrub Cocktail

Banana Sherbet Smack Cocktail, my favourite Shrub.
You won't find this baby at any old pub!
Lumia have modernised fruit and berry preservation.
Adding spirits to create drinks that need exploration!

Russian Standard Vodka is shaken, not stirred.
You'll feel like Bond as they add lemon curd.
Banana Skin Sherbet, Demerara shrub and lemon juice.
This beauty is fit for a Greek God like Zeus!

The Banana Sherbet Smack is laden with fun.
That's how I'm certain it's my favourite one.
Flavours that awaken my tastebuds. BOOM!
So elegant I almost need a fancy costume!

Party in my mouth combining sour, fizzy, sweet.
Fire up Twitter, Smack's worthy a tweet!
Suffice to say, Max won't be sipping on this.
Unicorns drink pink lemonade; not pure bliss!

*Disclaimer: This blog post is an entry for the Nuffnang 'post about your favourite Shrub Cocktail' competition. I haven't tried them (yet!), so I used my imagination, going by the flavours each cocktail contained, to come up with my favourite. Fingers crossed!