Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dusty Girls Natural Mineral Blush

In amongst a parcel of milky goodness I was sent from MooGoo was this very pretty Natural Mineral Blush by Dusty Girls.  I was so pleased when MooGoo brought out their makeup range and was immediate hooked on the name and the packaging.  It has that lovely honest country feel about it!

As well as posting my review I thought I'd have a frolic about the countryside and make a little video.  It was lots of fun, I entertained some cows and sustained three injuries in the process (!)...why is barbed wire so nasty!?!

The colour that was sent to me was "Pink Ladies", a very pretty pink that has the tiniest hint of sparkle to it.  Now I'm not big on makeup but this blush was perfect for me because it gives you a lovely natural pink flush to your cheeks, just like you would get if you've gone out for a horse ride, chased a cow around the yards or even had a good old romp in the hay!

What's even better about it is that MooGoo are big on using natural ingredients and leaving out all the horrible ones...so you won't find any chemical preservatives, talc's or Bismuth (which whatever that is, it sounds terrible and I certainly don't want it on my face!)...instead they use the healthiest natural oils, oxides and micas.  They also make it in a gorgeous golden shade called "Golden Delicious", which would be perfect for those with a darker skin tone. 

Like all MooGoo and Dusty Girls products I love this blush and would certainly recommend it.  Below is my little video...I hope you enjoy it!
Dusty Girl products worn include:
Dusty Girls Natural Mineral Blush in "Pink Ladies"
Dusty Girls Natural Mineral Foundation SPF 15 "Fair Minerals with Pink Sunrise Tones"
Dusty Girls Natural Mineral Mascara "Night Fall"
Dusty Girls Natural Mineral Lip Shine "Argyle Pink"

Monday, June 29, 2015

Basia Mille - A Taste of Tuscany

Earlier this year I was really lucky to pay a visit to Basia Mille, a small winery and olive grove overlooking Waratah Bay in South Gippsland, my visit being due to an article I had to write for the magazine.  It turned out to be quite bizarre really, because the name of the owners was Tony and Geraldine Conabere.....and it just so happened that my old Headmaster from school was called Tony Conabere.  In the way of weirdness it DID turn out to be my old Headmaster from school....so I wasn't sure whether to shake his hand or kiss it when I turned up.  He was always so stern and scary!  He'd greet you with a low "Miss Miller" (my maiden name when I was a wee young thing), and this would make me scuttle off even faster to whatever class I was running late for.
The name of their vineyard, Basia Mille, comes from a property of the same name in Italy that the couple fell in love with...as well as the timeless love story that went along with it.  It affected them both so much that they wanted to recreate their own piece of Tuscany on their eleven acre property back home.  It took them three years to build, but in the end they have created a gorgeous weekender where they host the occasional wedding and have many visitors to their cellar door to sample their wine and olive oil. 
Their bright cellar doors....
...hide all that lovely wine and really nice olive oil...which I was lucky enough to be given a bottle to take home!  Just one of the perks of my job!!  And thinking about doors...check out these beautiful front doors to their home...
..they are 350 years old and have come all the way from France.  Yes.  France.  Cool, I know.  Their attention to detail around the whole property matched these doors.  If you decide to visit make sure you stay in what they call their Luscious Apartment.  It looks like this...
...and this...
...it was just too nice.  It's a little pricey, but not too bad if you are planning on spoiling yourself, and would be just gorgeous if you were staying there after having just got married in the courtyard below.
I love these gates.  There were too nice not to photograph and this shot made it into the magazine.  This is what I am talking about when I say 'details'.  It was beautifully peaceful too, and despite feeling like I was at school again (!), I could have stayed there all day.
Check out those views across Waratah Bay and over to Wilson's Prom (which is those mountains in the distance).  That's their own small nine hole golf course below too!  Yep.  You can have a whack of golf while you're there.  Preferably with a glass of wine in hand!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Country Life

I live in a beautiful part of Victoria called Gippsland, which is quite a vast area and covers a large portion of the south east corner.  The landscape varies from paddocks and farm land, to snow topped mountains, wetlands and rivers, beaches and lakes and lots of lovely regional towns, some large, some small.  I'm lucky that I get to scoot around a fair bit with my job when I go out doing interviews for my articles that I write for Gippsland The Lifestyle magazine, so I get to see lots of different parts of it and meet a whole array of different people. 

As this is essentially a lifestyle blog, and a country lifestyle one at that, it's about time that this is what you will see here.  I will put together little videos, such as the one below, to take you on trips around this gorgeous part of Australia.  I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

MooGoo Evening Primrose & Starflower Oil

I recently received a lovely milk pail of products from MooGoo...my favourite skincare company, and in and amongst the goodies was the Evening Primrose & Starflower Oil.  The directions state that you can use just a small amount to massage into dry, red or scaly skin, or you can use it as an all over serum.

Evening Primrose Oil is high in something called Gamma Linoleic Acid, an ingredient which helps restore the skin's epidermal barrier.  Starflower oil is fantastic for restoring oil to dry skin and the Natural Vitamin E helps keep the natural oils in your skin working as they should. 

I have included a short video clip of how I use the Evening Primrose & Starflower Oil, along with the help of my bovine friends!  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Writing and Photography Services Available!

I am a writer and photographer for a magazine called 'Gippsland the Lifestyle', which covers the greater region of a vast area of Victoria called Gippsland, naturally!  My job entails writing feature articles and taking the photographs to accompanying them.  It's a fabulous job, one I enjoy very much and I am very proud to have.  As a writer there is nothing better than seeing your work in print, along with your name.  The above photo was one that featured in the recent Winter edition of the magazine along with an article on Bass Phillip Winery.  I dropped off a copy of the magazine to the owner and was so pleased that he was delighted with it, and that he said, and I quote (!), "it was the best article ever written on the winery".  This was a big statement, considering this winery produces WORLD renowned Pinot Noir and I was exceedingly flattered.  This comment made up for so much.
I am very pleased to announce that I am extending my writing and photography services to include copywriting, of which I have done a lot of already.  Work includes writing the content for websites and selling photographs for commercial purposes.  I also used to work for a company called Web Profits where I wrote articles for SEO purposes.  If you are interested in my services please do not hesitate to contact me at amber.freelance@gmail.com and we can discuss your needs.
An example of websites I have provided the copy for can be found here at Sheridon Dixon Makeup Artist and Flawless Hair and Makeup.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

MooGoo Brightening Cream

Our lovely friends from the herd at MooGoo have kindly sent me some gorgeous products to try, with this delicious Brightening Cream being one of them.  I am a long time big fan of all things MooGoo with my cupboards being stocked with their Shampoo (great for kids...no tears!!), their Cream Conditioner, their Deodorant (no nasty aluminium), the Full Cream moisturiser, the Natural Mini Moo Bubbly Wash (that the kids love in their bath!), the Nappy Balm and more recently I have been using their Anti-Ageing Face Cream...which I have very high hopes for!
Brightening Creams have come into existence to help improve the tone of the skin, working towards creating an even tone, which will improve the overall appearance.  They also address dark spots and sun spots and any pigmentation that may have occurred as you age.  A brightening cream is not something that will give you immediate results, rather something that you will need to use for a while to see the results occur over time.  I have been giving MooGoo's Brightening Cream a good go for a few weeks and already am happy with the appearance of my skin. 
MooGoo uses edible oils and I am happy knowing that there are no chemicals, bleaches or paraffin oil, particularly because I use their products on my children.  I also love their 'back to the farm' packaging and that cows feature so significantly on everything they do!!
The pump pack is really handy, as it doesn't spill and make a mess, and you can also easily control how much you use, making sure there is no wastage.  This cream is great because you only need a little bit....a tiny blob goes a long way!  The scent always gets me every time with MooGoo products, a combination of what reminds me of coconut/marshmellowy/milky goodness...and the Brightening Cream is no exception, with just a hint of a scent....fabulous that it is not overpowering...just a lovely 'barely there' fragrance.
I would definitely purchase this and am enjoying using this product and the results so far.
Below is my little video review...I hope you enjoy!

Thanks to the lovely people at MooGoo for sending me a gorgeous pail of products to review!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Use Shutter Speed to Get the Photos You Want

Cameras and photography can be quite confusing.  I mean there is a lot to think about all at once; adjusting your settings to suit the light, thinking about your depth of field, getting the shot in focus (der!), not to mention all the artistic things you need to worry about, like framing, the rule of thirds, backgrounds, composition, colour, scale, the use of props...... the list goes on. 
You can, of course, make it as confusing, or as simple as you like.  A simple 'point and shoot' camera will take care of a lot of this for you, at least the technical details, so all you need worry about is creating pretty pictures.  A smartphone will do a similar job.  But sometimes you want to have just a bit more control over your camera because there is a specific photo that you want to capture.  Whether it be for a blog post, for work or just to capture you kids soccer match, sometimes you want to be able to get the shot you want when you want it.  Shutter speed is one of those things, if you break it down, you can simplify it to cause yourself WAY less of a headache and still get the end result you were after.

The first thing is to not be scared of your DSLR camera.  While it is very easy to take photos with the automatic settings switched on, and there is no problem with that of course, try giving the other settings a go.  Have a play with it!  To change your shutter speed the setting you are looking for is the one marked 'TV'.  This is the shutter priority setting and the 'TV' stands for Time Value.  By using this you can control the shutter speed, but don't need to worry about anything else...your camera will choose the correct aperture to suit the brightness of the subject. 
Now, you can adjust your shutter speed by using the full manual settings on your camera, which is where you have to adjust everything, so the aperture and ISO as well, but to keep it simple, and to just concentrate on your shutter speed for the moment, lets just work with the 'TV' setting.
Now in the photo above the shutter speed was set to a faster time; therefore a higher number.  The higher the number the faster the shutter opens and closes, therefore you are able to freeze the action.  This is seen with the horse above that I photographed at the local harness racing.  As the shutter was set to a very high speed the horse has been captured in this photo in such a way that he has all feet off the ground and he effectively looks like he is frozen in mid-air.  When taking photos of sporting events particularly, people want to see the action, not a blur, so having a faster shutter speed is highly desirable. 
This photo of my husband, clinging for dear life to his horse (this was the very first time he had ridden Sabre after buying him that morning....and the saddle was WAY too small....so forgive the slightly terrified expression....), is another good example of motion frozen in time.  What's great about the use of a faster shutter speed here is it really has captured the tension of the moment.  My husband is a very good rider, but here he actually was a bit apprehensive and unsure because this was the first time he had ridden this particular horse.
Often when you read anything about shutter speed it is illustrated by the use of waterfall photos.  I'm sure you know what I mean.  If you don't I will explain.  There will be two photos; one with a photo of a waterfall with the water perfectly frozen, so you can see the water drops clearly, then the other shot will show one where all the water is just one big blur.  The first is taken using a fast shutter speed, the second a slow shutter speed.  Simple.  By slowing down the speed of your shutter, therefore having it set to a lower number, you are leaving the shutter open longer when you click it.....so.....whatever moving object you are taking a photo of will appear blurred.  But wait...Why would you want something in your photo to be blurry?  Surely we want to have nice, in focus photos.  Not necessarily, and not always.  Having blurred objects in our photos, and by this I mean a moving objects (not just a whoopsie and something that is accidently out of focus...!), will give the feeling of movement within you photo.  I could have showed you a typical waterfall shot...but instead I have chosen another farmy type photo and used this shot (above) of the rouseabout throwing the fleece in the shearing shed.  You do see fantastic shots of wool being thrown, and they are perfectly frozen in the air, the shot taken with a fast shutter speed, but I quite like this photo.  The fleece really is moving in this shot.  To me the photo has life, it has movement and I was happy with it.
Another shearing shot, and this is my husband featuring again (minus the horse but plus a hand piece), but it is also another shot where the shutter speed has been set at a slower speed.  Why you might ask?  Why, when I'm taking photos of people moving at a fairly fast rate?  Shouldn't I have set it to a faster speed so that he was frozen, the perfect action shot?  If you look closely you can see that his hand and arms are blurred, which does give this photo the feeling of movement.  In this case, it wasn't actually planned.  This photo was taken using a tripod and the shutter speed was lowered due to the fact that it was fairly gloomy in this shed.  I didn't want to use a flash, preferring to use what little natural light there was, and as a result I have the blur.  This wasn't a bad thing, in fact this photo was used in the magazine article I took these photos for...and this photo took up a whole page on its own.  (Note: this photo was taken using my old camera which is no where near as light sensitive as my new one...which would have handled this low-light situation a lot better.  Also the tripod was necessary to avoid camera shake with the lower shutter speed.)
As discovered above, lowering the speed that our shutter goes off isn't always because of the motion going on in front of us.  Sometimes there is not enough light on our subject and a way to capture the photo is to let in more light by opening up the shutter of the camera for a longer period of time.  Here I am reading a book.  Well actually I'm staring wistfully out the window.  It wasn't overly dark inside but the camera was having to adjust to the light coming in through the window and me being in shadow, so setting up my camera on a tripod and slowing down the shutter speed was a great way to get the photo I wanted without resorting to using a flash.  Personally I dislike flash photography and will go to great lengths to avoid it.  For a shot like this you MUST use a tripod, or rest your camera on something flat and secure.
These are just some simple points, like all things to do with photography you can go into much more depth on the subject, but I hope these have been helpful.