How I Manage My Acne: Cleansers

I started getting breakouts when I was about 13 or 14 and only just got my acne under control last year. I would say I’ve tried almost everything that would fit into my budget, stuff like cleansers, acne cream, toner, specially formulated creams from the dermatologist, you name it!

My skin in 2011. (Excuse the strange pose, I don't know what I was doing. Photo Credit: Janella Gangat)

My skin in 2011. (Excuse the strange pose, I don’t know what I was doing. Photo Credit: Janella Gangat)

Finally, after testing loads and loads of products, my skin has finally cleared up. I’m not a hundred percent sure what particular product did it for me because I did trial a few things at once, or if it was more of an environment related thing, because I did live in Sydney for a year (where there was definitely a lot less pollution compared to Manila). Whatever it was, I’m just glad to not have red spots all over my face all the time. However, my skin is by no means perfect. I have a ton of scarring and hyper pigmentation from years ago and I still the odd pimple every now and then, especially when I’m getting super hormonal a week or two before my period. Living with acne is all about management and finding what works best for you.

I’m going to attempt to do a comprehensive walk through of my journey to (almost) acne-freedom, so here’s to hoping that someone out there finds my rambling useful. I also just wanna say that I am by NO means an expert, all of the products I’m about to mention are things that have been recommended to me by family and friends or random stuff that I decided to pick up at the drugstore. These products may have worked for me, but they might not for you depending on your skin type and any allergies you may have so I do recommend that you check out the list of ingredients before purchasing any skin care products, do a bit of research online or better yet, visit your good old dermatologist. And just so this conversation doesn’t get too overwhelming, I’ll be talking about different categories over the next few weeks. So, let’s talk cleansing.


First up is the Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam, which is part of the three step Clinique Acne Solutions range. Individually and collectively, the products within this range are expensive. I think I purchased a full sized trio for $99AUD, and on it’s own this cleanser costs $29AUD (Sorry Filo folks, I have no clue how much this costs in local currency). I do recommend, where you can, to get a free trial kit to see if this product works for you as it would be a huge waste if you don’t use them up. Although if you do purchase a full sized bottle of this cleanser, it does have up to three months worth of product. What I did love about it is that it is super mild and not very drying, however it can be quite harsh when used in combination with the Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion (which I will get into in the next blog).

After repurchasing the Clinique cleanser a few times, my pockets started to hurt a bit from having to shell out almost $30 per bottle, but my acne had already cleared up quite a bit around this time so, I figured why not find a different cleanser that won’t make me feel like I’ve been robbed every time I swipe my debit card. And that was when I found the Clean & Clear Essentials Self Foaming Facial Cleanser at the Woolworths right by Kogarah station. Much like the Clinique Acne Solutions kit, this also came in a set of 3 (cleanser, toner and moisturiser) but costs so much less. This comes in at $8.99 AUD for a 150ml bottle, I am going to talk about the toner and moisturiser that came with it in later blog posts but for now I will say that all together the Clean and Clear 3 step kit comes to a grand total of $24.81 AUD. I found that this cleanser works pretty well, it is a bit harsher than the Clinique one but it does a better job of clearing up any residue your makeup wipe may have missed. It is so much more drying to the skin so be warned, if you do pick this up don’t forget to use a healthy amount of moisturiser to avoid getting icky dry patches. While I do recommend this product, I have to say keep your expectations of it to a minimum. It works pretty well, but it is a far cry from its Clinique counterpart. I see this more of an alternative for people on tight budgets (such as moi), but if you do have a bit of extra cash stowed away I think you’d be better off going for a splurge instead. In Manila, I don’t believe we get the same packaging, but we this product is available to us. The local variety is labelled as Clean and Clear Essentials Foaming Facial Wash, however it doesn’t have the “foaming” nozzle so I’m not a hundred percent sure how that works as I haven’t tried it myself. But, in case you do try it and find that it doesn’t actually foam when you pour it from the bottle, MUJI sells self foaming containers that you can decant the product into.

Next, I tried the LUSH Dark Angels Fresh Facial Cleanser ($16.95 AUD per 100g/in Manila I get mine within the 500-600php range, which isn’t far off from it’s dollar equivalent). I switched to this because I figured, after drowning my skin in chemicals it would probably be best to go for a gentler alternative. And you know what, I’m glad I made the switch because I swear by this stuff. It’s half the price and lasts just as long as the Clinique Cleansing Foam. It keeps for 3 months, sometimes even longer but I don’t recommend you use it more than a week or two past its best by date as LUSH products do tend to go mouldy (you gotta remember that their products are made from natural ingredients, so this is pretty unavoidable). Dark Angels also doubles as a fresh face mask because of its mud content and triples as a mild daily exfoliator because of the black sugar. It can be a bit scary to use at first because it is super dark but once you get over that initial fear, and its fragrance, that is, if you don’t like sandalwood oil, you’ll love it! It’s super mild, and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. It also gives me a bit of a glow, which is very handy when you’re looking especially tired.

At the minute I’m trying out LUSH’s Herbalism Cleanser. To be honest, I’m not really feeling it. It’s alright but it doesn’t do too well for my skin. But, we shall see. I’ll let you guys know how I get on with it in the next few weeks. So… that’s about it for now. Next week we’ll get into toners and facial wipes so please do keep an eye out for my next blog post. In the meantime feel free to share some of your tips with your fellow oily-skinned, acne prone homegirls (and dudes) in the comments section below. xx

Homemade “Teamonade” Recipe

Okay, so I have a confession to make. I am an iced tea addict, have been for about 4 years now. My out of control obsession started in my freshman year at university, when milk tea was still the latest craze. I went through a NaiCha phase, then a Matcha Red Bean smoothie phase, a Strawberry Black Tea phase and let’s not forget my current one… the Lychee Green Tea phase. I can’t go a day without this stuff, but there aren’t any good tea shops in my area so I developed my own little recipe for when I need my fix.

I’ve come up with so many versions of this recipe over the past few months in an attempt to recreate the teamonade I had months and months ago at The Grounds of Alexandria. Although, at this point I’m pretty sure I won’t ever make a cuppa of this stuff that’s half as good as the one I had at The Grounds.

You’ll Need: (Note: these measurements were made for a quart size mazon jar)

3 tablespoons of white granulated sugar

4oz. of black tea

2oz. lime juice (if you’re not a fan of sour drinks, I suggest using 1oz instead)

Water, as needed


Mint (optional)



First thing you’re going to want to do is prep a cup of black tea. I used an Earl Grey teabag from CBTL and let it steep in some just boiled water for 3-4 minutes.

Next, before squeezing your limes into your mason jar, peel off a bit of the rind and slice nice thin rounds (2 is ideal!) and add those in as well. Alternately, you can use lemons or even your favorite lemon juice brand but you would have to adjust the amount of sugar you add in if you do. (I sometimes use Fontana Lemonade, which comes in a 1L tetrapack and has a really strong taste. When I do I only add in 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar because the juice has some sugar in it already.)

While your tea is still warm, add the sugar and mix well. Let the sugar crystals dissolve completely before combining it with the lime juice.

Top this mixture up with some plain water, or soda water if you’d like (Tipsy Tip: you can top it off with a combo of white wine and just a touch of soda water, it is the bomb!), add your ice cubes, drop in your mint leaves (if you want AND if you can find them, I couldn’t when I did my food shop last Sunday ~ welcome to the Philippines where your food/flavouring options are limited), and give this drink a good ‘ol shake. Then all that’s left to do is pop in a straw and give this refreshing drink a taste.

If you fancy giving this recipe a go please let me know how you get on! Oh, and if you have any tips and tricks that you’d like to share leave them in the comments below I’d love to hear from you guys! xx





What I’m Reading Wednesdays: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Hello blog! These past few months, the entirety of my time has been devoted to frantically trying to remember as much as I could about Literature in preparation for my comprehensive exams. So, basically any free time I had was spent binge watching my favourite tv shows in an attempt to calm myself, the f-, down. Excuses, excuses… I know! But I’m back now with a new book to read, so here it is.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

I picked up my copy last Sunday at Fully Booked – Century City Mall for P299.00 (or about $9.02 AUD). I’ve missed these book prices, back in Sydney the exact same copy would probably be priced at at least $20 AUD. But anyway, I’m about a fourth of the way in now and I’m loving it so far. To me, Kundera’s novel feels like a well fleshed out lesson in philosophy and I mean that in best possible way. In fact, I’m currently on the hunt for a copy of Nietzsche’s The Gay Science or The Will to Power so I can read all about his concept of eternal return. (Third year university student, working on her liberal arts degree who hasn’t read Nietzsche?! Shock, horror!)

Well, that’s about it for now. I’m organizing my room at the moment and trying to soak up my month’s break before heading back to uni for a new term lol. But, I’m always interested to know what books other people are reading so if you’d like to, leave a comment down below or look me up on Goodreads. Catch you later! xx

I’m Alive! (And I have the Instagram photos to prove it!)

Apologies for my almost 4 month absence, I have had a lot to deal with since my last blog post and needed to take some time to settle back into my life in Manila. That’s right ladies and gents, I’ve officially moved back to the motherland and into my parent’s house (oh boy).

Things have been going well so far, I’m currently working on some DIY projects for my room and developing some recipes (both sweet and savory!) that I hope to share on the blog soon.

I’ve also been braving this insane summer heat whilst on roadtrips with the fambam. Dad has got us exploring a good bit of Luzon in search of churches to photograph. Why he looks for churches, I don’t know… but I’m always up for visiting historical places. 

That’s pretty much all I’ve been doing since I’ve got back. Any down time I have has and is being spent obsessing over tv series (Marvel’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D is my current fav), reading through my book pile and cooking up a storm. Here’s to hoping that I get back into the blogging rhythm! ‘Til Sunday! xx

Early 2000s Nostalgia Playlist

Hi guys! Things are going to be a bit hectic where I am for a couple of weeks as my brother’s fam is gearing up to fly back to the motherland on Tuesday. So, basically the next few days and the week leading up to my own trip will be a massive scramble to get things together and pack, pack, pack. In the meantime, I made a playlist to help keep me sane in the midst of all the crazy that’s going on right now. And what better way to calm the f— down than to listen to some tunes from my youngin’ years! So if you’re keen, click on that play button down below and listen to the stuff I was crazy about when I was a kiddo in the early 2000s. While you’re here I’d like to hear what you’ve been listening to lately as well! Link me to playlists and stuff in the comments below they would be much appreciated.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately: The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings

wpid-2015-01-12-09.23.19-1.jpg.jpegIn 4 days, I will have spent an entire year in Sydney and in about another 13 I will be going back to Manila for some much needed r&r. But, before I go on my holiday I decided it would be a good idea to at least attempt to finish reading one of the books in the small pile I’ve managed to accumulate.

To be honest, I started reading The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings a good 3 or 4 months ago and got through maybe a fourth of the way and haven’t really made much progress since. My last semester at uni was just plain ‘cray’ so there really wasn’t enough time for me to sit down and read a book. Basically any downtime I had was spent either catching up on some much needed sleep or talking to my folks back home.

I’ve read Poe before (as a former-Literature major I think it would be pretty embarrassing to say that I haven’t lol) and was really into his dark humor and themes so when I saw this at a QBD for $10 AUD, I thought it was about time I got to reading his other, less notorious, poems and short stories. For a super cheap copy, I feel like this edition has a pretty choice selection of Poe’s work. So, if any of you are looking for an introduction into the world of Poe I think this would be a good one to start with.

As always I’m keen to hear what you have to say, so let me know in the comments below what you think of this book if you’ve read it or what you’re reading right now. xx

4 Planners/Diaries That Help Will Keep You Organised In 2015

Happy New Year errybody! Now I know we’re already 6 days into 2015 and it might be a bit late for this post BUT I’m going to publish it anyway for my fellow procrastinators who may have left planner picking to the last minute. I did a good deal of online searching and came up with a short-list of 4 planners that you might want to purchase for yourselves. Enjoy!

1. Frankie 2015 Daily Journal

Dimensions: 210x144mm

Price: $26.95 AUD

Where to get it: Online (ships internationally) and in some NewsAgencies (The Lucky Charm Newsagency -located at The Galleries Victoria (Sydney), literally the first stall you see when coming out of Town Hall Station-is one of the few that I’ve seen that have it)

I have been dreaming of getting a Frankie Journal since 2013, which was pretty much the  same year that I found out that this magazine existed, mostly because of the cute illustrations/designs that they always have. And this year’s edition is no different, of what I’ve see of the new planner I can say that Sara Hingle did an awesome job with the monthly illustrations. They’ve got a few little extras in it too, like gift tags, stickers and a back pocket for safe keeping loose sheets and what not.

This baby is 164 pages long and can be a bit heavy. For someone like me who constantly carries more than what she really needs in her bag, something thinner and lighter would be more ideal. Aside from the price point, its bulkiness was another reason why I chose not to purchase this pretty little thing. Because to be honest, I really didn’t want to lug another heavy weight around especially with the travelling and moving I’ve got planned for this year.

2. Kikki.K 2015 Monthly/Weekly Diary: Sweet

Dimensions: Available in A5 or A6

Price: $14.95 – $32.95 AUD

Where to get it: Online (ships internationally) and in store

Kikki.K do a lot of cute diaries (check the others out here) but this one stood out to me the most. This one comes with a PVC jacket, which makes it even more attractive to my accident prone – drink spilling self, and some cute stickers. But, what I love about this planner is that it isn’t too bulky and has just enough space to write tasks and notes on. Personally, after having owned a few hardbound planners I now tend to lean towards the more flexible soft-bound ones as I find that they tend to handle daily wear and tear a bit better and are much lighter in comparison.

3. Typo A3 Magnetic Planner

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 12.06.44 pm

Dimensions: A3, comes in three other styles

Price: $19.99 AUD

Where to get it: Online (ships internationally) and in store

Unlike the first two, this planner is meant to be used either at home or in the office. The one downside to this is that you have to constantly update it at the end/beginning of your week, as opposed to a regular yearly planner where you can just jot stuff down under a particular date. But, if you’re earth conscious and into the paperless movement then this would definitely be good for you.

Personally, I see this more as a supplement to your traditional date book as opposed to a planner on its own. I feel that this would be great for families to plan meals or kid’s games and people that need to see what their whole week is going to be like at a glance.

4. DubuDumo A6 Weekly Planner Notebook (Etsy)

Dimensions: 105 x 145mm, comes in three other styles

Price: $ 8.48 AUD

Where to get it: Online (ships internationally)

I found this little gem as I was scrolling through Esty, as you do, a couple of weeks ago. This planner comes with a PVC jacket which, as I had previously mentioned, is always good for clumsy folk (like moi) and that’s basically it. There aren’t any fancy gimmicks with this one and its pages are pretty simple too. If you’re into fully customising your planners then I would definitely recommend that you give this one a go.

Still patiently waiting on mine to arrive as I ordered it about 11 days ago. But I’ve been told that stuff coming from Korea to Australia takes a minimum of two weeks to arrive so I’m not too worried about it. Although I do recommend that if any of you order from this shop to add registered shipping to your order (I wish I did this tbh!). It costs another $3.16 AUD extra, but it’s well worth the peace of mind. Also, if you’re super into stationary then be forewarned you will be tempted to throw all of your money at this shop. I had to physically stop myself from scrolling just to prevent any “accidental” purchases.

Well, that’s pretty much it for now and I hope I was able to help my fellow last minute shoppers out. Any readers out there that have already purchased a 2015 planner? I am keen to see what you guys will be using this year so please feel free to share them in the comments.

’till the next blog! xx