Friday, October 28, 2011

MsSparkleArkle website has moved!

Hi Everyone,

Wow!  What a learning experience!  You may have heard me talk about this already, but now it is official.

I've moved my blog to a self hosted setup, and have moved all of my content to the new location.  I've redirected my domain to the new website, so when you click on you will reach the most current information.

Thanks for your patience while I update everything.  All new posts will be on the new site.  There are links to RSS feeds, Twitter and Bloglovin on the new site too.

If you follow me through BLOGLOVIN, please re-subscribe by searching for under the add blog function, or follow the link on my updated site.

If you were one of the 90+ people following me through Google Friend Connect / Google reader, please re-connect on my new site to ensure you receive the new posts.

I am still working on Feedburner, but hope to have it all up and running in the next week or so.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beauty Confessions #1 - Frazzled Nails

You are in the car and called to an emergency meeting with an important client.  Your nails are absolutely atrocious.  Polish is beyond chipped, cuticles are dry and hangnail-ly.  You need a manicure - STAT!  What do you do?

The evidence.
If you are anything like me, you'll attend the meeting and hide your nails the best you can!   I did have a bottle of varnish in the car (true beauty enthusiast), but was concerned that if I slapped on a thin coat I would smell like a paint factory during the meeting.

When I arrived home that evening I removed the remnants of polish from my nails, and vowed to never let my nails be so unkempt ever again.

Have you committed a beauty crime this week?  We'd love to hear your confessions...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alpha-H - Better skin in just 90 days?

Well here I am, naked.

Oh fine.  I'm not 'naked' 'naked', but I feel exposed without my usual modesty covering of foundation.
I suffer from pigmentation, and took some BEFORE photos on the 1st of October 2011 in preparation to unleash the Alpha-H Liquid Gold Skin Perfecting System on my blotchy skin. The pigmentation and broken capillaries on my face really stand out against my fair skin, which is why I prefer to wear a least a light smattering of foundation everyday.

To quote from the Alpha-H website, the brand has created 'a system of therapeutic cosmeceuticals which target the key factors of ageing as they manifest in the different layers of the skin'.  During the Australian Beauty Bloggers weekend, I was privileged to learn more about glycolic acid, and I also had the opportunity to take a kit home with me to try.  Lucky duck.

I'm not going to go into the finer details of the products just yet, as I'll include some comparison shots and lots of details of my experience with the Alpha-H line in a future post.  I am still in the first of three stages in my course of treatments, being 30 days using the Alpha-H Prep & Prime each morning. 

My teenage son is also using this product to help his skin through an acne breakout, but I won't comment further on that until he has used the line for another week.

What I would like to achieve during this program of treatments is a reduction in the obvious pigmentation on my forehead and under my right eye.  I'm not so worried about my freckles, but the larger blobs of colour are free to move on, no questions asked!  Any improvement in redness would be a bonus.

The Alpha-H Liquid Gold Skin Perfecting System including all three stages retails for AUD $99.50 and can be purchased directly from Alpha-H here, or if you have Foxtel you could watch the products being demonstrated on TVSN.

So here are the before shots...

 Stay tuned for an update!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

'Blogger' it is then... for now

Tonight, my lack of Napoleon Dynamite type 'skills' in the web / HTML / and all things Internet department got the better of me.  I cracked it.

Blogging is supposed to be fun!  I've wasted hours and hours of my limited personal time trying to create something spectacular - but now I've chucked a full blown tantrum and decided give it a rest.

My skin looks terrible, I haven't worn makeup all week, and my friends and family have all commented that I look 'like shit'!  So back to Blogger I go, head hung in shame...

I have so many beauty posts to edit, new things to talk about, and videos to upload to YouTube, and that is really what it is all about for me.

In a last ditch attempt to have a more interactive blog, I've installed a new tool, and hope that it allows me to respond to peoples comments.  Feel free to post a comment below so we can test it out!

Thanks for your patience!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We are moving... or thinking about it!

I’ve toyed with the idea of moving from Blogger to Wordpress for a while now, purely on the basis of improved interaction with the wonderful people that take the time to read my posts. 

It may just be my limited knowledge of Blogger, but I have not been able to find a way to reply directly to people’s posts.  If someone has asked me a question, I take great pride in getting back to them with an answer, and I am not confident that the message gets through with my current set up.
I don’t have access to people to help me through web design process, and I’m finding it quite frustrating.  My background is in transactional accounting and people management, so I’m very proud of my setup on Blogger.  I’ve had to learn what Widgets are, how to email posts in, how to set up an RSS feed.  Moving to Wordpress will hopefully allow me to expand on my tech knowledge in this area.
So this will be my last post for a while... until the new site is up and running.  It’s been really difficult to make progress this week as our 50GB of downloads have been used, and the speed has been shaped down to less than dial-up (a common side-effect of teenagers on school holiday!) 

I’ll be ditching the pink border, and going for a style that more represents who I am.  My son has helped me brainstorm lots of words to describe me, and we’ll try and turn that into some kind of brand.  

Fingers crossed the migration goes to plan, and I’ll let you know when everything flips over.  My domain will remain the same, and my email is
Any advice or feedback you can offer is much appreciated!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer - the bees knees?

It was only 18 months ago that I heard the 'buzz' about the Burt's Bees range.  It was by chance that I chose to order a starter pack with a voucher that was burning a hole in my wallet.  Immediately my entire family - teenage son included - were converted to cult followers of the brand.

You'll find my laundry peppered with the distinctly packaged yellow honeycomb patterned balms. They are rescued on a regular basis when plucked from pant pockets during my pre-wash pat down. Tissues? CHECK.  Burt's Bees balm? CHECK.  I'm happy to report that many a balm has made it through the wash unscathed, perhaps just with the label looking a little worse for wear.

During the Australian Beauty Blogger's Weekend in Sydney during September 2011, I was thrilled to be invited to the Maxted Thomas Blogger's Gala.  One of the attendees on the night was Burt's Bees. Yay!  I received a gorgeous pack of goodies to take home, and included was this Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in RHUBARB.

Lip Shimmer in RHUBARB
This balm has a minty aroma on application, and your lips immediately feel refreshed.  The balm is not sweet or sugary at all, lessening the chances of me consuming the balm by surreptitious licking. Ladies, I know that you know what I mean...!

I already owned a Lip Shimmer in Champagne, which is a sheer nude colour.  The rhubarb balm adds nicely to my Burt's Bees collection and will be perfect for when I need that something in between lipstick and clear balm.

In the picture below you can see the colour of Rhubarb on my lips.  It's a fantastic stain colour, and I liken the colour to that 'just been stuck into a bowl of cherries' look.  The colour lasts past a mid morning cup of tea and a biscuit, and the conditioning benefits continue well into the afternoon.

One coat
I highly recommend the Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer range, and for just AUD $12.95 each you could easily convince yourself to grab more than one colour to try.  Check out the entire Burt's Bees range, ingredients lists, and a store locater at  Place an order online or visit a Priceline or Myer store near you.

What is your favourite product from the Burt's Bees range?

Do you have a Burt's Bees lip balm survival story to share?

Please post your comments below...

Disclaimer - this product was provided to me as a gift when attending the ABBW event.  For more information on my disclosure policy, please click here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

When rollers go wrong...

As most of you will already know, I'm always up for sharing those little embarrassing moments in life.  We live for such a short time, we may as well have a good old cackle at ourselves!  My most recent beauty faux pas was a bad hair day, amplified by my own attempt at 'self improvement'.  Here's how it went down...

It all started on a Friday night, after watching one of my favourite YT Gurus, the Crazy Ms Tammy from uppiesbeads59.  Tammy has lovely long blonde hair, which always seems to have such a natural volume and bounce.  I diligently watched some of her hair tutorials, and chose whip to the shops for some largish Velcro rollers.

On the Saturday morning I washed and conditioned my hair, and then roughly dried it with my new hairdryer.  I then plonked the rollers in my hair, feeling rather confident that I had followed the instructions fairly closely.  WRONG!  Crazy Ms Tammy mentions several times how important it is to make sure the ends of your hair are nice and flat against the roller to avoid 'fish hooks'.  This is an instruction I overlooked.  I thought, 'Meh - that looks about right' as I stuffed my super wavy hair onto the roller. 

After waiting the required time, I gently removed the rollers from my hair, and was greeted with the following image in the mirror.  YIKES!

All I could do from that point was to shove my massive bundle of hair into a pony tail, and let the boofy-ness settle throughout the day.  My husband happened to think that my hair do was 'beautiful' which my teenage son found hilarious.  Even my Mum snickered when she visited later in the day to check out my pageant hair.

It was a great bit of fun for a Saturday.  While this attempt was a fail, I'm not giving up.  I'll have another crack at the bouncy hair look in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. 

Do you have any tips for using rollers to control super wavy whacky hair like mine?  Larger rollers?  No rollers on the top?  It takes an enormous amount of time to straighten my hair with irons, and the look I am aiming for is straighter, but not flat. 

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ulta3 Nail Colour - Mojito

This nail colour is a long way from a nail colour I would normally wear, so when I was unpacking my IMATS / ABBW goodies, I immediately applied two coats.  I could have improved the final look with one more coat to cover my very white nail tips.

I have several Ulta3 polishes in my collection already, as I had received several as giveaways when ordering from an Australian online store.   They last quite well for a budget brand, and I would recommend them for their range of fun colours.  I recently saw a big display of this brand of polish for sale at La Manna supermarket in Essendon Fields for just $2.95.  Baaaargain!

After two days of wear, I decided to remove the polish before an executive meeting.  Not sure my Kermit fingers would have been appropriate given the topic of the day!

ABC's of MsSparkleArkle

I recently saw these questions on the be-yewdy-full Molly Maquillage's blog, and thought it would be a good opportunity to learn a little more about me.  Feel free to do these questions yourselves!

A. Age: 37 eek!
B. Bed size: King
C. Chore you hate: Cleaning the slimy soap goop that collects under my attached sink plug things
D. Day: My favourite? Friday, 5pm
E. Essential start to your day: The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup, I say a little prayer for you.....
F. Favourite colour: Indigo
G. Gold or Silver: White Gold
H. Height: Once I was 175cm, then from age 20 I was 173cm but my scoliosis is shortening me - 171cm at last measure but I refuse to accept it! (Shrieks) I'm shrinking........
I. Instruments: Piano, Saxophone, Clarinet, and I can rock 'Three Blind Mice' on the recorder!
J. Job title: Consultant
K. Kids: What the fudge have they done now?  Oh, you mean do I have any?  Two boys, aged 15 & 3
L. Lives: Melbourne
M. Mum’s name: Creena, but is most often called Pat.  I call her Patsy.
N. Nicknames: Kaz, Kez, Boss
O. Overnight hospital stays: Gallbladder surgery, one night.  Giving birth? - no stay - just plopped them out and went home.  My hyperactive nature has me struggling to stand, sit, lie still for any length of time
P. Pet peeve: Line cutters, just have some patience people!  I can SEE YOU side stepping into my line!
Q. Quote from a movie:  This is from a TV Show "Allow me to ladle you a piping hot bowl of This Is How It Is" - Sue Sylvester, Glee 
R. Right or left handed: A bit of both, but now I write with my right, but kick, throw, and high jump from the left - awkward!
S. Siblings: One brother, 15 months older than me
T. Time you wake up: 6:15am, but 8.00am in the weekends - can't waste the day!
U. Underwear: Granny Panties, tucked right up under my boobies.
V. Vegetables you dislike: No veges come to mind, but bananas should be outlawed.  Blurk!
W. What makes you run late: Nothing.  My military training has me super punctual.  20 PUSH UPS!
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth (before braces), Skull (broke my face & nose in Primary school), lots and lots of spinal scans (scoliosis & osteo arthritis)
Y. Yummy food you make: Gluten free, fructose friendly, Spagetti Bolognese
Z. Zoo: Not sure what this question is, but apart from the fact that I live in a zoo-like household, I'll just tell you my favourite zoo animals are the giraffes and meerkats.