16 October 2017

The Beauty Desk: L.A. Girl, Mark & Catrice Cosmetics


I’m no beauty blogger, I could never be one since I live in Springbok, Namaqualand in a region with no big shopping malls and therefore not a big selection of the latest beauty products. However, I always keep myself informed and with the help of glossy magazines and by reading beauty blogs I always know which products I should go for. And so then when the opportunity presents itself to stock up on new products there’s definitely no hesitation between my greedy little fingers. 

During a recent trip to Cape Town, I grabbed some goodies from L.A. Girl and Catrice Cosmetics along with other great brands. Believe me, I felt like a kid in a candy shop surrounded by all the lovely products in Dichem's beauty aisles. 

My mom’s brother also treated us to an afternoon High Tea at the Table Bay Hotel at the V & A Waterfront which was amazing since I actually planned on doing this myself for some time. So the universe aligned as they would say, however, I should add that Milania threw such a tantrum, almost knocking off the expensive serving ware from the table. 

I sadly didn’t manage to take pictures of the dainty little sandwiches and french confectionary. It would’ve made such a lovely blog post. Nevertheless, it was all fun, the staff was so friendly and really, really helpful… But enough about that, here’s my review of the above-mentioned products currently on my beauty desk.

1. L.A. Girl Beauty Brick Collection in Glam

There’s been a lot of rave about this product in the Cosmopolitan and more recently the October issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. There are 2 natural shades of blush along with a beautiful bronzer and a highlighter. All of the shades are highly pigmented so I can understand what all of the hype is about. 

On first application, I almost ended up with too much pink on my cheeks and I had to do damage control with normal pressed powder, therefore like I previously stated it’s really well pigmented. Priced at just R99, 95 this is a steal. Available at Dischem and Takealot.

2. Mark Big and False Lash Volume Mascara

I have a lot of Avon products inside my makeup bag since my mom and I know a representative that we support on a monthly basis, and this Mark Big and False Lash Volume Mascara is definitely worth the buy. It promises longer lashes full of volume and definitely delivers on that. 

It’s also waterproof and I haven’t experienced panda eyes (black smudges under the eyes after a day’s wear) so altogether a great mascara that I’ll definitely repurchase. With so many great products on the market it’s often difficult to pick something that’s worth your hard earned money but with this mascara, you won’t go wrong. Available from Avon at R149.00.

3. Catrice Cosmetics Precious Copper Collection

Lately, I’ve been watching Keeping up with the Kardashians a lot for one simple reason, their makeup! I love, love the brown and coppery shades of eyeshadow and bronzer they’ve been using. It’s just so beautiful! So when I saw the Catrice Cosmetics Precious Copper Collection I knew that this was a product I needed for myself. I think it’s natural and glamorous all at the same time. The payoff is really pretty and at around R89.00 this is another steal. Available at Dischem and Takealot.

For more detailed images of these products, you can visit my Instagram timeline @VictoriaJustineCloete - come say hello.


Image - My Own

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Give Up Blogging


I’ll be honest and admit that I’m one of those bloggers that sometimes feel that I should stop spending my money on blog image backgrounds and other creative props like fake greenery, notebooks, and cute mugs. Sometimes I feel that it’s just not worth all the time and effort I put in, other times I also feel uninspired and unappreciated.

This feeling first crept up on me a few years ago, at the time I was working for a startup PR and Social Media Company based in Cape Town. It was a remote position so I was working from home, however, that didn’t make any difference to my work schedule. The hours were long, I worked overtime and on some weekends (without any overtime payment) but because I wanted to prove myself I gave it my all in the hope that this opportunity would further my career.

Long story short, it did not in fact after I came back from my maternity leave I was retrenched. So firstly, because of a hectic work schedule I didn’t write and publish a lot of content on my blog. Six months down the road I fell pregnant and so with work and a bedrest pregnancy (yes, my doctor at the time told me I was having a threatening miscarriage, so I was on bedrest until around 7 months of pregnancy) I was really not focusing on blogging at all. 

Time went by I was able to find other freelance work after the birth of my baby to stay afloat, I was also dealing with the loss of my sister so by this time I didn’t even think about blogging. After a while I decided to rather just take off the dates on my blog, I also made a choice and promised myself that I would never completely give up on my blog because:

1. I remembered why I started blogging and so should you.

When I started writing online there was no such thing as working with brands and attending big events. During the early years, I just wanted to express myself creatively. It was so nice taking lovely pictures for posts, writing about random road trips, future goals and what you wanted for Christmas. It was an awesome way to make new (blog) friends, encouraging each other and in a way, it was also nice to be part of a blog community of like-minded people.

2. Think about all the time and effort.

You should never just give up on something because life happens. Like anything in life, if you’re passionate about something you shouldn’t completely leave and abandon it. Take a break from it, put it on the back burner for a while but always return to your love project. Think back to how you played around with templates and blog buttons, how you started with a Wordpress or Blogspot URL. And how you slowly progressed until you felt really proud of yourself. All of that took a lot of time and effort.

3. Once a blogger always a blogger.

Blogging is a lifestyle, its part of your creative daily life. You can’t just one day decide that it is over and stop taking styled pictures and altogether forget about writing catchy phrases over on your social media timelines. During the time I wasn’t actively blogging anymore I was still capturing pretty pictures to post over on Instagram and Facebook. Yes, I couldn’t find myself to sit down and write a lengthy blog post, but I was microblogging and that was enough for me at the time. Enough to keep the blogging flame alive.

4. You don’t need acknowledgment to believe your worth as a blogger.

Even if you never receive an award or some kind of recognition you are still a creative content writer, deserving of your space on the blogosphere. I know that we all sometimes long for magazine features, expensive beauty products or paid blog campaigns and such. It’s fantastic if that’s what you’re currently receiving, I’m genuinely proud of you since you’ve worked really hard for this – but if these type of things are absent from your life it’s still ok. Make sure you don’t fall into that nasty comparison trap, it’s not worth it. Keep on blogging in your own style and way, stay authentic and true to yourself. Because in the end, your blog is also…

5. Your online life journal.

Everything ever posted on your blog is evidence of the work and places you’ve visited in your lifetime. This is how you’ve lived, these are the beauty products and fashion items that were loved by you during a certain timeframe of your life. Blogging shouldn’t define who you are as a human being, it’s just a part of your life, just one of your wonderful adventures. And remember if things get too hectic if you go through some sort of crisis or writer's block you can always just take off the dates on your blog while you take a break. That’s what I did. 


Image - My Own



15 October 2017

Johnson’s Baby Soft & Shiny Range


I’ve been using the Johnson’s Baby Soft & Shiny range for more than 6 months on Milania’s hair so it’s only fair that I write a proper review. All 3 products are infused with glycerine and specially formulated for tight curls and somewhat dry hair. Milania and mommy both feel a little chuffed that this range is the proud sponsor of the Doc McStuffens cartoon over on the Disney Junior channel. Almost like, see you have to let mommy comb your hair because look your hair products are on TV! Silly mommy. Ok, so here are my thoughts on the range:

1. Johnson’s Baby Soft & Shiny Shampoo

I love the soft and cuddly fragrance of this shampoo and along with the glycerine, it also contains Pro Vitamin B5, and other mineral oils that provides extra moisture for my baby’s dry hair and scalp. This product foams well and washes out easily and I also love the fact that a 190ml bottle lasts such a long time.

2. Johnson’s Baby Soft & Shiny Conditioner

Oh my, this amazing conditioner coats and lubricates Milania’s hair thereafter leaving it soft and shiny along with the same beautiful cuddly smell of the shampoo. I’m currently embracing my own naturally curly hair and admittedly I’ve been stealing little blobs of this conditioner for my own tresses, like some sort of a leave in treatment. And let me tell you, my hair always feels so amazingly soft. This is definitely my favorite product from the range.

3. Johnson’s Baby Easy Comb Spray

A little miracle worker this is. Since I’m always doing pleats on Milania’s hair I need something that adds extra moisture while acting as some kind of a detangler. If you use a lot it actually wets the hair a little but it’s never oily and over time I never see any yucky buildup of the product. It does exactly what it promises that being an easy comb spray. 

All these products are available from leading supermarkets and pharmacies in South Africa.


Image - My Own

08 October 2017

Awesome Apps: MomConnect



I love getting these little informative messages on my phone every day, it really makes me feel less alone in my motherhood journey. What am I talking about? Let me tell you more...

What is MomConnect

MomConnect is a South African National Department of Health initiative which aims to support maternal health through the use of cell phone-based technologies integrated into maternal and child health services. The services are free to the user, and messages are also available in all our 11 official languages. MomConnect is voluntary and the pregnant woman can opt out at any time.


The overall objectives of this initiative are: 


• To introduce a mechanism for registering electronically all pregnancies in the public health system as early as possible,

• To send targeted health promotion messages to pregnant women and moms to improve their health and that of their infants,

• To provide pregnant women and mothers with an interactive mechanism to feedback on the service they have received.


Why MomConnect


• A large number of maternal and child deaths could be avoided if some basic interventions are implemented.

• Some factors like breastfeeding are linked to the patient (demand side) and need change in behavior.

• Other factors are linked to facilities and need improvement in the supply side and linked to health service improvement.

• MomConnect is well-placed to address some of these demand and supply side problems.



How To Register:


1. Dial *134*550# from your cell phone to register.

2. Answer a few simple questions about your pregnancy.

3. You will then be registered – welcome to the family!

In short, I'm impressed with the fact that they send you age-appropriate messages that encourage you to interact and play with your baby, like little reminders to keep you in check. I'm also chuffed with the fact that they've recently personalised these messages with your baby's first name, how cute! Occasionally they also send you free airtime to the value of R10.00 when you interact and answer certain questions around the app and the development of your child. View more info on MomConnect.


Image - MomConnect

Life Lately


Life is difficult. Author M. Scott Peck from the book “The Road Less Traveled” states that life is a series of problems and once we truly accept and understand this life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

Wise words from a wise man. Inspiring words for when you’re in a clear state of mind but definitely not so easy to make sense of when you’re in the midst of your problems. However, with all this being said I find myself amazed at the human ability to fight and have resilience even when bad, tragic things happen.

About 2 years ago I received a phone call from my sister at around 6 pm on a Friday night. It was 3 weeks before her 19th birthday so we were discussing that and a future visit from her. I was at a social gathering with friends, the line was breaking up the whole time so when her airtime ran out or the connection was lost - I’m not sure, I didn’t bother to call her back. The next morning I received a horrible message. She was dead, my sister that I spoke to just a few hours before was not alive anymore and the worst part? She committed suicide. Now, this obviously came as a massive shock to me because…

She never seemed depressed.

My sister was a strong-willed, full of energy type of person. This girl was always groomed, had swag and never moped or moaned around the house when we were growing up. She could tackle a messy room in no time and could prepare delicious family meals just like that. My beloved baby sister was just so able, give her wood and some meat and she was sure to handle the braai like any other man around the block. 

She was beautiful.

With piercing blue-greenish eyes, a full pout and high cheekbones against fair freckly skin she was a beauty. I always encouraged her to try a bit of part-time modeling (while she was studying, she was a first-year journalism student) since she was also blessed with a pair of killer legs. 

She was popular.

Venessa knew and hanged around all the cool guys and had a group of close girlfriends too. The times we went out together I’d feel popular and part of the in-crowd too. She had that it girl aura, but she was kind and compassioned as well, maybe too compassioned and sensitive at times. I think she was highly sensitive although she tried to hide it.

She was only 19.

Nineteen-year-olds are supposed to have fun, they are basically allowed to get into trouble and get away with it. When I was with her I also felt young and it was awesome to have a younger, beautiful and popular sister. But now she’s gone…

I will always regret not calling her back on that damn Friday night. It feels as if we didn’t conclude and ended our discussion properly, then again some would say that at least she said goodbye to me. I received a phone call from her, I should be thankful. I should be thankful for the times we laughed and shared together. 

Our time in Cape Town, sitting on a bench opposite the Sea Point promenade eating Big Jack pies and coke. The long beers in Spur, the hikes up the mountain in our hometown. The way I used to push her on the swing when she was still a child around 5 years old, telling her not grow up. 

Also the cheer and then later tears on her face when I used to tell her the story of “Toepak Ja Oeri en sy lama” from the Afrikaans, “Kinders van die Wereld” book. I can tell you about a whole list of beautiful memories, but that would take all day.

So life is difficult, yes indeed but we have to keep moving forward. We all have to deal with what life presents to us, it's not always what you expect and sometimes it can be very cruel but like the saying goes, you have to take the good with the bad.


Image - My Own
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