This photography challenge comes from Nancy Merrill Photography. The challenge was something fun. My contribution is a photo of Hogwarts castle, from Harry Potter, which I took in 2019 at Universal Studios, Japan while I was pregnant last Spring.
Japan was so much fun. I think Japan and South Korea were my two favourite countries to visit in Asia. I would definitely like to spend more time there one day.
Today it’s Korean beauty vs Japanese beauty, and I’m testing out how Korean brand Clio’s Water Me Please BB cream stands up against Japanese brand SANA’s Keana Pate Pore Putty BB Pact (which I also reviewed here).
Please bear in mind I am currently ill having contracted Fresher’s Flu at university this weekend, and my face got severely weather battered by going sailing today as well, and it’s past my bedtime but I’m trying hard to make time for you guys today (I’m scheduling it so you can read at a more friendly time of day); so that’s three good reasons why my eyes are so red and puffy!! That makes this the perfect day to test these two products though, because there’s no point testing out foundations on a good skin day when I look great anyway!
The Clio Water Me Please gave a much more natural look with less coverage than the SANA Pore Putty. I think I would use this one when I wanted something lightweight that didn’t look like I was wearing makeup. My boyfriend couldn’t actually tell I was wearing makeup.
White Cast / Grey Cast:
The Clio Water Me Please BB Cream has been criticized by some beauty bloggers for giving a grey cast, but when I applied it today with a beauty blender (actually, a cheap Chinese dupe; my budget doesn’t currently stretch to an expensive make-up sponge), it did not give a grey cast. In fact, its base tones blended perfectly with my natural face color (NC15-20). The SANA Pore Putty SPF40 PA+++ gave a slight white cast in the mirror but it’s not noticeable in the photos for some reason.
Did they Cause Breakouts?
The Clio Water Me Please BB Cream did not cause any breakouts at all, and never has done, not even the time when I first used it and smeared WAY too much on my face (seriously, dab it on lightly). It’s uber skin friendly.
The SANA Pore Putty has left my skin with very minor breakouts every time I’ve used it, so after using it several times I can honestly say I think it’s the Pore Putty doing it. However, while my skin is usually normal, occasionally it goes on a spree of being sensitive and gets upset at certain products. Just like it occasionally goes dry or oily. Weird, huh? I think it’s down to what I eat throwing my skin out of balance sometimes, but I can’t prove it.
I found that the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream blended exceptionally well on my face (NC15-20) and on the back of my hand (about 2 shades darker). It was practically invisible, which is fabulous for a product with SPF-30 and PA++. The SANA Pore Putty didn’t blend so well, and sort of sits on top of my skin, but it’s only as bad as my L’Oreal True Match, which is to say you can hardly tell.
I don’t have any permanent lines to find out if either product settled in them, so I’m only talking about expression lines here. The SANA Pore Putty made those expression lines more obvious, which made me look older when I smiled or frowned. The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact definitely creased more in the under-eye area, making that area look more dry, but the Clio Water Me Please BB cream left a more uneven surface, especially around the (ever-growing) pores either side of my nose. The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact worked to minimize these pores, even if the make-up itself was more obvious. I will add that a good primer will get rid of more of this issue, regardless of which BB you use.
The SANA Pore Putty was just much better at covering up red areas, though. In the three photos, you can see the line down my forehead where the SANA Pore Putty is covering up all the redness I’ve currently got from being ill, and the Clio Water Me Please BB cream isn’t covering that up. Definitely if you have clear skin the Clio Water Me Please is a much better choice, but if you have things to cover up, SANA Pore Putty is better.
The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact is SPF40 (or possibly 35; they keep changing it), ten whole SPFs more than the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream. More importantly, Pore Putty is PA+++ and Clio Water Me Please is PA++, meaning Pore Putty offers 33% better protection from harmful ageing UVA rays than Clio Water Me Please.
In general, the Clio Water Me Please BB SPF 30 PA++ is a very good BB cream, good value for money at $11 a tube, and I think it’s got a lot more advantages. However, if you are looking to minimize the appearance of pores, or cover up redness, the SANA Pore Putty BB Pact SPF 40 PA+++ really comes into its own and does those jobs very well. It also has the better sun protection, which is a consideration if you don’t use separate sunscreen year-round. Neither of these BB products are very expensive compared to some other products, and that also counts in their favor. If I had to just use one on an average (non-sunny) day, however, I would reach for the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream.
Today I want to talk about the Sana Keana Pore Putty BB Pact SPF40 PA+++ because it arrived this morning from Japan!! So excited to finally review Japanese cosmetics!
I’ve been totally psyched to try Japanese make up ever since my Korean Clio Water Me Please BB Cream turned up a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to know how the two products would compare but for the time being, this is my first impressions of the Sana Keana Pore Putty BB Pact.
There appear to be 2 different ones with different SPFs. I got the shade 01 (light) in SPF40 PA+++ (PA+++ means high protection against ageing UVA rays).
This is what it looked like in its packaging:
This is what it looked like out of the box:
I adored the packaging of the Pore Putty sooo much! It’s absolutely delightful. Not as Kawaii as some of the other stuff from Japan but more sophisticated, yet still cutesy. At first I thought there was no mirror, which was disappointing, but then when I lifted the top compartment, surprise! It turned out the product – and the mirror – were both underneath the area for the sponge.
Application wise, it was probably the easiest thing I’ve ever applied and I only needed a tiny amount of product to cover all of my face. I would say it’s like a hybrid between a BB cream and a foundation. I swatched it on my arm before I used it on my face:
Next I put the Pore Putty BB Pact cream on one side of my face to compare it to nothing on the other side:
This was so much better than the Avon Cream to Powder foundation that came in similar packaging and looked virtually identical – this Pore Putty is the real deal and I can see myself using it as a daily wear product! I like that it evened out my skin tone, and I thought it was a good match for my winter/spring skin tone but a teensy bit pale for my summer skin colour, which was a shame. I wish I’d got the darker shade now since it’s May (it comes in 01 Fair and 02 Natural and I chose 01 Fair after much consideration). I’m only an NC20 but I’d have to be a teensy bit paler for the fair coloured Pore Putty to blend seamlessly. As it is, it has blended nicely, just made me look a bit paler than I’m used to. I’ll take that though because it goes on so smoothly. Undertones were nice, I can’t make out if they were pink or yellow but whatever, it made my skin look like it had a lit-from-within sort of glow! I like that and it’s something I don’t often find with foundations. I did still put some blusher on when I finished my make up just to try and bring my face colour more in line with the rest of me!!
Overall, I really liked this product, application was easy and the coverage was medium, it didn’t make my pores/lines worse (which most foundations do, even with a primer), in fact, the opposite happened – it actually minimized the two fine lines either side of my mouth and the pores around my nose a lot more than anything else I’ve used. I didn’t use it with moisturizer or primer (my usual routine) and it came out better than most foundations that I use *with* primer so I reckon it would look flawless if I put it on over primer.
This was the finished look:
I would say this is the best result I’ve had with a foundation for years! If I was going away to a festival or something, I would feel comfortable just taking this and not taking primer!!! I never thought I would say that about a product, it’s just so moisturising without being greasy or silicone-y at all!
It’s also one of the few Asian beauty brands actually available in the UK.
Buy it here in the US or buy it here in the UK (takes you to Amazon because I’m an affiliate). Delivery took about 25 days because mine was posted from Japan. Different suppliers will ship from different locations natch.
So I keep referring to my bands bucket list when I write about things I’ve been up to. Today I wanted to go back and explain what it is.
You are probably aware that a bucket list is usually something written by people of all ages to ensure that they get to do all the things they’ve dreamed of doing in life – all the things they want to do before they “kick the bucket,” to coin a term.
In my case, that would be my ever-dwindling 30-list and my currently being written 40-list, which are the things I want to do before I reach age 30 and age 40, respectively. It would probably not surprise you, then, to know that, when I was eighteen, I started this whole thing by writing a 20-list, a set of things I wanted to do before I turned 20.
The Bands Bucket List is very separate. My age-lists are really more a set of things I feel would be achievements, accomplishments, or that I have some control over. Things you can get with work and dedication. They are lists of things that are within my power to make happen, however unique the circumstances would need to be for the achievement to be made.
The reason I don’t include bands on my 30-list and 40-list is because anyone can buy a ticket and travel to a gig. Yes, some bands only tour in their homeland of Japan or The Faroe Islands, but by and large, live music is a capitalist, class dependent commodity (ooh er) that anyone with time and money can engage in. For that reason I don’t think it’s an achievement to see The Who or Lynyrd Skynyrd, in the same sense that it would be an achievement to climb a mountain or get a master’s degree. It would certainly be an achievement to play in a band, an honour that I have never been privy to (flutes tend to get stuck with orchestras rather than popular music bands, and ukuleles are the sonorous pariah unwanted in most ensembles), but seeing a band? I am responsible for quality control of my lists and I decided it would cheapen the accomplishment of a PhD or climbing Everest to liken them with going to Download Festival (sorry, Download, it’s not that I don’t think your wonderful, but you are very easy).
I did need to keep track of a large set of data though, to make it possible to organize, and as I was spending more and more time on the internet typing different band names into Google, I thought I needed a spreadsheet. I do love a good spreadsheet.
So I wrote them all down in alphabetical order, every band I could think of who, if their members died in a plane crash and they ceased to exist, I would feel like I’d missed out if I had neglected to attend them. I know I won’t see all of them, but I wanted to make a concerted effort to see as many as I could while I could.
The list doesn’t distinguish between bands who have been apart for 30 years and those who are still coherent, it does separate out individual artists who are known to currently have a solo career and also link them to the band they used to be in (so, for example, the entry for David Gilmour states “Dave Gilmour/Pink Floyd” and Roger Waters’ entry is “Roger Waters/Pink Floyd”) ensuring that the musical genius that spawned the bands are placed to be seen even when they can’t be in the same room as one another. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are another example, where their entries are “Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin” and “Robert Plant/Led Zeppelin” respectively. Either entry can be ticked off once the required people have been seen, so if I’d seen Jimmy Page, it would then be at my discretion whether I decided the performance was sufficient to tick off Led Zeppelin, or whether I also wanted to see Robert Plant first. I have ticked Guns n Roses off because I’ve seen Slash, and his performance with Myles Kennedy would be sufficient to tick off Guns n Roses (although GnR weren’t on my list) even though I haven’t seen Axl Rose and the band he’s put together when he kept the name Guns N Roses.
This list, and the ticking off part especially, has raised two very interesting dilemmas facing the modern music fan of older bands: To what extent does the name of the band matter if none of the original members survive, and what actually counts as having seen a band?
The naming question is difficult. So for example, there’s only one founder member of Lynyrd Skynyrd left in the band, but when I went to see them you could tell straight away that it didn’t matter. Trying to define a band as who they were when they first signed on the dotted line of that fateful first record deal in the 1960s is a constrained and counterproductive way of going about things. Take Pink Floyd again – guitarist Dave Gilmour wasn’t even in the original line-up, but for many people, he IS Pink Floyd, moreso than any other member. Likewise, I need to be cautious about letting too many things be defined as the correct band. It gets to a point where the only member of a band worth seeing is the drummer, and unless it’s Ringo Starr or Keith Moon, you might as well go and see a tribute band and tick off the real thing. It’s false. So somewhere between these two polarized opinions lies the way forward.
With The Who it was easy – the lead singer/guitarist and the lead guitarist are both still knocking around, the drummer is Ringo Starr’s son, and the bassist is an excellent session musician. Hearing them play, you can tell they’re the real deal not some tribute band which have learned their songs meticulously to the letter and never deviate from the script. They had the spark of Who-ness that made them Who-lesome. I make no apologies for the wordplay. Not all wordplay is a pun.
With Guns N Roses it would have been harder, since Axl kept the band name but is the only remaining member. Seeing Slash play was such a jaw-droppingly stirring experience that I decided there was no way any replacement guitarist could ever possibly outdo him, unless Axl had hired Hendrix or Jimmy Page (which he hasn’t, which is a good job because Hendrix is dead and in either case, they’d want to play like themselves so you’d not get the same result). It’s all a matter of style and substance. Tribute bands and lesser replacement musicians can copy the style but have no substance. Replacement musicians who are greater than the original will have substance but a differing style. It takes a rare genius to walk the line between these two and still come out on top. So I ticked off Guns N Roses.
The second dilemma is also one that I could spend years obsessing over if I wanted to: How much of a band counts as “having seen” a band. Here are my criteria:
1. It has to be live.
2. I had to be close enough to see and hear the band, not just watch the video screen, because that defeats the point.
3. I have to have heard the actual band play at least one full song.
4. Televised appearances are lovely, but there is so much loss of quality and atmosphere that they can’t possibly count, and the same goes for Youtube and other ways of seeing them. For example, I watched the Pink Floyd Live 8 performance live on the BBC as it happened less than 20 miles from where I was sat (2 days after my mother had tried to kill me resulting in my being removed and never returning home, and 5 days before the 7/7 bombings), but it doesn’t count as having seen them, even though it had a profound and evelasting impact on the course of my life after that moment and probably stopped me killing myself. That bit where they played “Wish You Were Here” and dedicated it to Syd had me in tears.
5. It doesn’t matter what they play: If I wanted to hear a specific song I could buy and listen to the proper recording studio version. That’s not what I’m looking for in my quest to see these bands.
Then there’s the single criterion for removal from the list: If there are no living members of a band or if a solo artist dies, they are taken off the list. Here is the list so far, there are currently 60 entries, and things are always being added:
For planning purposes, only the bands in white/orange matter: The ones in pale grey are supposed to be ones who are just not touring at all, so they’re discounted from planning purposes (but breakups/reunions etc are so fickle that I don’t exclude reunion tours until the last member has kicked the bucket). The ones in dark grey are ones I’ve now seen. The ones in lime green are currently not attainable due to either dates, cost, or some other factor of sheer preposterous awkwardness that makes them unachievable such as announcing on the day of sale, selling out in 10 minutes and placing ridiculous resale criteria on the tickets, that only means that WHEN the tickets are resold, they’re triple the price they would have been so the resellers make even more money. The ones in lime green are generally ones I’ve written off for this year.
So that’s my bands bucket list. What do you think? Who would be on yours?
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Have you ever wondered what a dog cafe would be like?
People often wonder how I can be a dog person and a rabbit person. It’s like my nationality: I’m eligible for dual British and Irish nationality and could have two passports if I wanted. I just stick to British for now because it’s convenient and why spend money on 2 passports when I can only leave the country once at a time (there aren’t two of me, although if I ever went to Israel then took it into my head to go to Libya, I’d need to apply for my second passport because you can’t go to Libya if you’ve got an Israel stamp anywhere in your passport. I think there are other countries where this happens as well, but I don’t know). Being British doesn’t make me any less Irish. If UKIP get voted in as the majority party at the next election, I would apply for my Irish citizenship and take my tax money to Eire and continue enjoying all the benefits of being a member of the EU and I would be proud to be part of such an awesome country.
It’s the same with dogs and rabbits. I love rabbits when I have them, and I love dogs when I have them. Very, VERY rarely, I meet a cat that I like; so far I’ve only met three, including the Maine Coon my mum found in a bin shortly before I was born, and that used to sleep in my cot and watch me when my mum was out. Apparently this is not normal. I’ve heard horror stories about this happening to other people’s siblings and they didn’t go well. Any cat that has that level of responsibility over a newborn and doesn’t take the opportunity to kill the baby has to be a very special cat.
Sidenote: Cats are not babysitters.
So how good was the Loch Lomond area for dogs? In the words of the Scottish Weather Forecasting Service, it was phenomenal! First there was the National Park which would have been an awesome walk for dogs (we went up Ben Lomond in hailstones and 70 miles-per-hour wind). Then there was the Loch itself, where you could clean the mud off your dog’s paws in the water.
The most surprising part was in the Loch Lomond Shopping Centre in Alexandria. At the far end, up a flight of stairs was this:
It’s a cafe and boutique for dogs. Owners are welcome too.
I didn’t have a dog (obviously) but I was wearing a dalmatian print fleece so they let me in. Unlike the cat and rabbit cafes in Japan, they don’t have staff dogs to pet, but a nice couple let me pet their dog instead, which was a rare treat since we don’t know anyone with a dog back home. There was this lovely photo booth where you could take a photo of your dog hiding amongst these cuddlies, too:
I enjoyed the decor, the feeling of being around people who were pro-dog, and the delightful lack of screaming children – there was a creche over the way. The food was nice too – jacket potato, sandwich toastie type stuff that’s just what you need after climbing a mountain. And a good pot of tea.
“But you said it was a cafe and boutique for dogs.” Yes I did. There was a dog menu on the chalkboard behind the dalmatian in the photo above, and at his paws there was a selection of dog collars and other nice doggy things. In a little basket behind me, there was also a load of communal dog toys for visiting dogs to play with so they could stay occupied. I would love to take a bouncy dog here and know they would be able to be themselves and run around and play instead of having to sit and stay.
There was also an awareness stand for the SSPCA. Lots of English and Welsh people think that because the RSPCA covers their countries, that it’s a UK-wide charity. This is not true, and as a result the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals gets woefully underfunded, with people sometimes even leaving legacies to the RSPCA by mistake because they didn’t know there was a difference! Unfortunately, the RSPCA believes it needs every penny that it gets and seems to think its cause is more important than that of other animal charities (bear in mind a lot of their work is with farms despite what the adverts show you). Know which one you want to give your money to because you can’t get it back once you’ve paid them.
Overall I had a great time at this cafe and it really made my day better and brighter to be able to come and eat and drink here and be in such a dog environment.
There were even more doggy accents to the cafe, but I’ll leave them for you to discover when you go there. 😉
Downstairs there was an RSPB shop (that’s the bird charity. They cover the whole UK). I had been disappointed to not get to see puffins on this trip, because the road to Skye was closed with the snow, so I was delighted when I found this puffin which I was able to keep and take home:
And this lovely pair of tits:
When you squeeze the Bluetits or puffin, they make the same noise they would make in the wild. They’re an excellent educational tool for children. We have a trio of bluetits that frequent our garden at home, along with a robin and a couple of other birds. Sometimes they even fly into the rabbit village to say hello to the bunnies. I couldn’t resist these two though because now I have a great pair of Blue Tits (as opposed to a blue pair of Great Tits, another species of bird, but not actually blue).
I don’t think there are enough people in the UK who can recognise birds either when looking at or listening to them. It’s one of those skills like plant and tree recognition that seems to be more lost with every generation. Maybe I’m just being curmudgeonly but when I have children it will be a high priority for them to recognise wildlife and have a good level of awareness of nature and our interactions with the environment, even if we live in a city.