The Thirty Blog

Olympus Pen E-PL8 Camera Review

Lifestyle, PhotographyJade | The Thirty Blog12 Comments

When it comes to cameras, I've been a long time fan girl of the Canon EOS DSLR system, owning a 1000D, a 70D and a 6D in the past, but recently, I was on the hunt for a smaller camera which I felt more comfortable taking out with me as my Canon 6D was just too heavy and too conspicuous for me to want to take it out all the time.

Enter the Olympus Pen E-PL8, the blogger's dream camera.

Olympus Pen E-PL8 Camera Review |

I had been looking at "best mirrorless camera" lists for weeks, and was almost about to settle on a Sony Mirrorless camera when I remembered looking at Olympus cameras a few years back before I bought the 6D and thinking how great they looked. I originally had my eye on the OMD-10 model, but after checking out the Olympus site and seeing the Pen, I was decided.

I spent a few days reading and watching reviews, especially those from beauty and fashion bloggers and realised this was the camera for me to buy. I was lucky enough to find a shop that did trade ins and ended up trading my old DSLR body and a few lenses for enough store credit to buy the camera and kit lens and a 45mm lens which is currently on back order and I hope to have that in the next few weeks.

Olympus Pen E-PL8 Camera Review |

I've been shooting with traditional DSLRs for such a long time, so it was important that any new camera that I bought had full manual controls as well as the option to change the lenses to suit my needs - the Olympus Pen certainly does all of that and more and I couldn't be happier with my purchase.

Positives -

  • Interchangeable Lenses: I can use any lens from any manufacturer of micro four thirds lenses as the mounts are all the same which means I have quite a few options at quite a few different price points
  • Flip Out Selfie Screen: I'm a beauty blogger which means I'm constantly taking photos of myself. Sometimes my mobile phone camera just doesn't cut it in low light situations. Enough said
  • Wifi Transfer: There's an Android and iOS app available for Olympus which allows you to connect your phone to your camera which is really simple to set up and allows me to transfer photos directly to my phone ready to edit for Instagram. Combine that with the 1:1 ratio which I can set in two seconds on my camera and my Instagram feed just got a thousand times better. You can also use the app as a remote for the camera if you're taking selfies using a tripod which is handy!
  • Small and compact: I used to get very sore around my neck and shoulders carrying around my old Canon camera since it was so heavy, especially when I had a telephoto lens attached, but this is so light, I feel like I'm not carrying anything at all. I also like that it's small enough to throw in my handbag and I don't need a dedicated camera bag for it - although I do have an insert that I use in all of my handbags to keep it protected
  • Great Image Quality: The image quality on this actually blows me away and I do think the images are just as good and sometimes, even better than what I was taking with my old camera, especially when I shoot in RAW and I am able to make adjustments later on in Lightroom
  • Back Touch Screen: I like that I can tap to focus or tap to shoot - it's just a matter of clicking on a setting right on the screen as I go
  • Auto Setting isn't all that bad: I know, shooting in Auto doesn't give you the finite control for the best images out there but when I'm shooting in a well lit indoor location, I'm quite happy to let the camera do the job for me and I haven't had a complete disaster of a shoot yet. I think once I do get my 45mm lens though, I will go back to shooting almost exclusively in Aperture Priority mode
Olympus Pen E-PL8 Camera Review |

Negatives -

  • The kit lens: It's not the worst kit lens in the world but like most other camera kits, they end up shoving the cheapest lens in their line up that meets a customer expected minimum for a lens
  • Selfie Screen Flips Down: You'd think that in marketing this camera to bloggers and vloggers, that they'd have worked out a lot of us use Tripods or stand the camera on something to take selfies or videos and therefore it would be more intuitive that the screen flip up, not down. You can use a tripod extension rod so that the tripod doesn't get in the way of the screen and it's not an expensive purchase but geez, it just seems like it was the one thing they didn't even think about in the design
  • No Viewfinder Accessory included: I know this is aimed at beginner to intermediate photographers and a lot of them aren't going to need a viewfinder to attach to the hot shoe but I feel like the choice between a flash or a EVF accessory might have been better than just the flash accessory.

I wanted to include some sample photos, so I've done so below in a gallery, which you can click to enlarge the picture. These have been minimally edited in Lightroom for Exposure, Contrast & Sharpening.

So, all in all, The Olympus Pen E-PL8 is a great little camera for me and I'd recommend it without hesitation to anyone that wants to move up from a basic point and shoot to something with a bit more control to capture everything they could possibly want to snap!

What camera are you currently using? If you've got a DSLR, would you consider switching to a mirrorless camera? Talk to me all about cameras in the comments!


The Ordinary Skincare Product Review

SkincareJade | The Thirty Blog8 Comments

Over the last two years, I've been on a bit of a skincare kick. Admittedly, a lot of it was from getting sucked in to the Skincare Addiction Subreddit and it led me down a bit of a garden path before I settled on a reasonable daily routine that seemed to work for me. 

I've been quite happily using a good mix of products, from drugstore to high end but after going on a budget earlier this year (I'm saving up for a Hawaiian getaway next year!) I've been looking for some cheaper yet effective options to throw in my routine in place of some of the more expensive brands that I've been using or lusting over - yes, Sunday Riley, I'm looking at you.

The Ordinary Skincare Review |

For those of you who aren't aware of the brand, The Ordinary is a child brand of Deciem, a skincare company which has been operating since 2013. They were founded on the principle of doing everything others don't do and with brands like Hylamide and NIOD under their umbrella I'd say they're doing a pretty good job of that so far. 

They launched earlier this year and it seemed like it would be hard to get the product in Australia at first and a lot of people jumped on the hype train hard, so a lot of the products were constantly out of stock and still are, even now.

However, when I saw that Beautylish were now stocking the brand and I wanted to order a few other things, I thought I'd throw in a couple of products so I got the free shipping - I picked up the Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane and the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. All up, including fees for currency conversion I think it cost me around $35 for all three products. A few weeks later, I picked up the Advanced Retinoid 2% from a buy/swap/sell page on Facebook.

I've been using these products now, almost daily since the beginning of May and I've posted a few times about them on Instagram, but really wanted to give them a few good months of use before I passed judgement. As you can see, I went for products which really promote moisturising, because it's getting cold here and with the heater on constantly, my skin does dry out a little and is prone to flakiness.

The Ordinary Skincare Review |

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

I use this after applying my toner and BHA exfoliator at night. It's a thick, clear liquid formulation and three to five drops is sufficient to cover my entire face and neck. I've tried a number of Hyaluronic Acid products before which I didn't like, but this one seems less sticky and it sinks in reasonably quickly. I usually wait around two or three minutes before I proceed on to my next step in my nightly routine and that seems long enough.

I do feel like this serum has made my skin plumper and smoother and I will re-purchase this over looking for a more expensive serum because it's a product that does something but I can't justify spending more than what I paid for this given it's not a "miracle worker" product.

100% Plant-Derived Squalane

The Ordinary's site says that "Squalane is a saturated and stable hydrocarbon that is found naturally in the skin. It has very high emollience, is an exceptional hydrator and can prevent ongoing loss of hydration that impairs dermal suppleness."

I bought it because I had read reviews that it was really good for helping with very dry areas on the skin, which for me is my under eyes and chapped lips. I apply this after the HA serum and I use around two to three drops a night which is concentrated on the under eyes and lips and then what ever is left on my hands gets gently patted in to my skin elsewhere.

I really like this! It's an oil so it feels very thick but it sinks in really quickly. I usually leave it for ten minutes before I pop on my moisturiser and I notice the next day if I haven't used it because I wake up with such soft and plumped skin! I think I will use this as my main evening moisturiser once it starts to heat up but I will try another oil such as argan or rosehip oil once this runs out to see if there are any differences.

The Ordinary Skincare Review |

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

I am 100% ehh on this. It's a moisturiser and it does what it says, I guess. My holy grail moisturiser is the La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat but it's expensive for how much you get so I wanted to try to see if I could find a cheaper option that provided moisture but didn't turn my face in to an oil slick.

This moisturiser feels nice and smooths on easily but it just kind of sits on my face. I've tried under oil, over oil and no oil and it feels the same. I won't be repurchasing this again because I just don't feel like I get anything from it, unlike the LRP moisturiser which does provide moisture and mattifies my skin at the same time.

Advanced Retinoid 2%

This is the stand out product of the line so far for me. I picked this up for $2.50 from a buy/swap/sell group because someone had used a quarter of the bottle and didn't like the smell. Speaking of which, it does smell like dirty oil but it dissipates quickly so I'm not too fussed over it. I use this on a clean, dry face with no other products applied. I started off once a week to make sure I didn't get a bad reaction from going too hard, too quickly and have worked my way up to using on alternate nights.

Retinol and it's derivatives are an anti-aging product and I was hoping I could target some of my laugh lines on my forehead. This product is never going to be as effective as a prescribed version of Retinol but it does an absolutely visible fine job at softening those lines and helping with some pigmentation on my cheeks.

It's really important to remember if you are using a retinoid product that you use sunscreen every day because it increases photo sensitivity, which I suspect has been a good thing for me as I was not *gasp* a regular sunscreen user previously.

I'll definitely be repurchasing this, even if I do have to pay the full $18 for it!

I am keen to start trying more of the products, especially their acid exfoliators and peels, as well as their primers and foundations once they are back in stock. I'll be sure to review them as and when I get them!

Have you tried any of the products from The Ordinary? What are your favourites?


Face Favourites: Crayon Lipsticks

MakeupJade | The Thirty Blog15 Comments
Face Favourites - Lipstick Crayons |

One product that I've always kept close to my heart is the classic sheer lipstick. I have thin lips and I find that darker colours make them seem even smaller and thinner so I tend to stay away from the darker, matte lipsticks and more towards satin finishes and sheer washes of colour on the lips. I also suffer from some serious chapped lips, year round and whilst there are some great bullet options I can wear, unless I'm having a good lip day, I often have to forgo the wonder of liquid lipsticks.

Enter the crayon lipstick!

I'm pretty sure I got sucked in immediately with an "emergency" purchase one day at Priceline, thinking it was a tinted balm but realising after application that it was so much more than that. Now I pick up crayon and pencil style lipsticks whenever I can! I find that the drug store brands seem to make some of the best of the bunch, which means I stock up on all different types whenever there's a sale and I don't feel so guilty, because they're cheap but good quality!

Although these formulations aren't ridiculously long lasting, they're easy to apply and with the majority of them, the colours are sheer enough for me not to worry too much about requiring a mirror or being 100% precise. The perfect makeup product for a day where you might be eating, drinking or kissing, because the product doesn't build up like a bullet or liquid lipstick can, it doesn't look awful after several re-applications.

My current favourites and what I'm throwing in my bag every day are the L'Oreal Infallible Sexy Balm in Can't Sit with Us and Clueless. The names made me laugh when I saw them in Priceline and I had to pick them up because after I swatched them, I was in love! These are followed up closely by the Revlon ColourBurst Balms which come in satin, gloss or matte formulas with enough colours to suit even the pickiest of makeup lovers.

So if you're looking for an easy peasy fun pop of colour for your lips that isn't super matte or drying - I'd definitely recommend picking up a lipstick crayon or two!



Ride or Die: My Daily Face

MakeupJade | The Thirty Blog4 Comments
Ride or Die | My Daily Face Products |

I am a firm believer that a woman needs not only a go to outfit but a go to look as well, because I definitely don't want to have to get up at 5am when I can get an extra 40 minutes to sleep in and still look good!

Over the last few years, I've definitely bought a lot of makeup products and most of it is definitely work appropriate because I didn't want to spend dollars on products that I couldn't use every day but over the last two months or so, I've spent a lot of time working out what works best for me, what isn't hard to apply quickly and importantly, what lasts through 8-12 hours of my working day, the full commute and all.

Perfect Base | My Ride or Die Daily Makeup Products |

Base Products

Urban Decay Optical Illusion Complexion Primer - $55 - This is a new product for me but a really good primer for my skin in the winter time when I don't have to worry as much about my makeup melting off. I received it in a recent Mecca Beauty Loop box and I will be buying a full sized version when I run out of this.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream - $58 - Sephora claims this is full coverage but I disagree. I find that it's the perfect medium coverage for me, enough to cover up some redness on my nasal area and chin but not so much coverage that I look like I'm wearing a mask. It doesn't feel heavy and the colour match isn't too bad considering their appalling colour selection.

BareMinerals bareSkin Serum Concealer - $30 -  This product is my holy grail mid range under eye concealer! Considering that I'm quite oily skinned, I do get dry under eyes and unfortunately, my mature skin is definitely showing in the under eye area. This concealer is pigmented enough to cover my dark circles and tired looking eyes but thin enough to not crease during the day. I don't apply this in the triangle placement for illumination but only use a very small amount in the inner corners and spread it underneath, usually with a beauty blender.

Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer - $44 - I use this thicker concealer to spot conceal several spots on my face, such as a broken blood vessel under my eye and a big flat mole on the side of my face as well as the perma-red-angry spots on the side of my nose when I don't wear my glasses. This is absolutely a no go for me as an under eye concealer but it's a perfect colour match otherwise and takes seconds to blend in with a finger.

By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder - $78 - This one is probably one of my most expensive beauty buys ever but I absolutely do not regret it. Not only does it set my base nicely but it provides a little bit of a pore filling effect which I can always use! I apply with the Wayne Goss Air Brush in the t-zone area only.

Other Face Colours | My Ride or Die Daily Face Products |

Other Face Products

Two Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer - $44 - When the Mecca consultant handed me the Milk Chocolate shade, I thought she was mad and that it would never show up on my skin. What a complete doofus I was, because this is absolutely the best winter bronzer shade for me! I apply with a big fluffy brush over the high points of my cheeks and temples as well as down the neck. I probably do go a bit overboard with the old bronzer brush but hey, you only live once right?

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush (Dollface) - $38 - My first ever Sephora purchase, which I waited for a month to have shipped from the US and to be honest, I just picked this because I liked the pink colour! I don't think I even looked at swatches online. I don't regret it though because it's just pigmented enough to pick up a light dusting and pop on the apples of my cheeks for a nice winter flush.

Ride or Die Face Products |

Eye & Lip Products

Maybelline Colour Tattoo Cream Eye Shadow - $9 - I must admit, I can't be bothered faffing around with blending numerous powder eyeshadows in the mornings before work so this part is probably the biggest time saver for me. I have a few different shades that I choose from and I just pat across the lid and just above the crease with my fingers. I like that I can build this up if I want a more dramatic look.

ModelCo Lashxtend Lengthening Tubular Mascara - $22 - I love a good tubing mascara and this one, when it's on sale is a complete bargain! I don't get thick huge spider lashes with this mascara and it gives me enough oomph to define my eyes without being overdramatic. Although, I do love a lashy look when I have more time to perfect it!

Benefit Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil - $42 - The only brow pencil I can use without making me look like I've drawn sharpie brows! I like the diamond shaped tip, rather than the thin pencil type tip just to fill in my brows in a few swipes.

Benefit Gimme Brow Eyebrow Gel - $39 - When I'm feeling really lazy, I just run this through my brows but usually, I use this to set the pencil work I've done with my darling Goof Proof. I like this one a lot but I probably will substitute this out with the NYX Brow Mascara once I've finished this pot due to the price.

L'Oreal Paris Infallible Sexy Balm - $14.95 - I have this in Clueless and Can't Sit with Us and these new lip balms are just perfect for the quick swipe of colour that might not last all day, but the swipe of colour I know I can re-apply regularly without needing to look in a mirror or worrying about that gross residue that sometimes comes along when re-applying liquid lipsticks.

So that's my face done in about fifteen minutes! It might seem like a bit but now I've got the routine down pat, I've turned in to a bit of a makeup speed demon!

Do you have a "daily face" or do you prefer a new look each day? Let me know in the comments!


Empties: May 2017

Makeup, SkincareJade | The Thirty Blog16 Comments

I have been keeping my empty product bottles in one of my desk drawers since January, because I had planned to start this blog much earlier in the year. Since the drawer was starting to get pretty full and I have plans to overhaul my entire beauty space set up, I figured I better get this post up nice and early. Plus, these posts are pretty much my favourite to read and watch on YouTube!


Banila Co. Clean It Zero Resveratrol - my favourite balm cleanser, great for removing hard core makeup. Smells like heaven and isn't super expensive. It can be hard to find but now I've discovered that W Cosmetics has online shopping, I don't think I'll be switching my first cleanser any time soon.

Pixi Skintreats Hydrating Milky Serum - I wanted to love this. I might have loved it more if the dropper wasn't so finicky. Also I hate not being able to tell how much is left in a bottle. It does what it says on the bottle and does provide some extra hydration but given that I'd have to ship this from the UK as it's not available on ASOS, I won't be re-purchasing this.

Arbonne RE9 Advanced for Men Shave Gel - I got this through a friend who is an Arbonne rep but I'm not affiliated with them in any way. It's a perfectly fine shaving gel but for the price you pay you could buy 20 perfectly fine Gillette shaving gels from Coles or Woolworths. I won't link this product as you can't buy it unless you have a distributor and they have also reformulated this product.


OGX Ever Straightening + Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo - I bought this and the matching conditioner during one of Priceline's 40% off haircare sales. I really liked this particular shampoo and found that I did see a reduction in the amount of frizz when I blow-dried my hair and when I left it to air dry. I'd like to try a few more OGX shampoo and conditioners before I re-buy this. I'm still using up the conditioner with another OGX shampoo, but I think you do need to keep them in their matching pairs for the most effective results

NAK Ultimate Treatment 30 Second Repair Hair Mask - Recommended by my hairdresser who is a great lover of the entire NAK range. I started using this instead of conditioner, also on the recommendation of my hairdresser and I did see a huge difference in the state of my hair, especially the bleached and heat damaged ends. I'm 50/50 on purchasing this again and if I did, I'd probably only use as a fortnightly treatment mask now that I no longer bleach my hair.


Stila One Step Correct Primer - I am so conflicted over this one. When I first bought it, I absolutely loved it but as I tried more primers focussed towards pore minimising and texture smoothing I slowly fell out of love with it. I found it was really good when my skin felt dry and dull and needed a pick me up or if I was using a high-coverage matte foundation like the Loreal Pro Matte foundation. I probably won't repurchase though as I prefer to use the Too Faced Hangover Rx Primer when I need a moisturising primer.

Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Setting Spray - The ultimate holy grail product for oily or combination skin in my opinion. I have tried many other matte setting sprays and there is not one that compares to this. Without setting spray, I usually get around 3-4 hours wear out of a full face without the need to touch up, with this I get between 6-7. Absolute re-buy and the new packaging is so nice!

Mac Prep & Prime Fix + - I know many people wonder why I would use this if I'm already using De-Slick. I don't actually use it as the last product in my routine, I use it to fix my liquid foundation and powder coverage (including blush and contour) to take down the powdery look. Occasionally, I pop it in my makeup bag for work to use as a refresher during the day when it's not humid, although in Brisbane it's not often that's the case. This is another definite re-buy but as the weather is getting cooler and my face isn't so oily during the day, I will be able to manage without it until later in the year.

Clarins Ever Matte SPF15 Oil Free Skin Balancing Foundation (Wheat) - My first ever non drug store foundation and probably one of the best colour matches I've ever had in my life. This is quite possibly one of my holy grail foundations for the summer time, as it controls oil, minimises pores and has an added SPF. It's a nice medium coverage and doesn't appear flat on the face. I find that when I'm wearing it, it feels like I'm not wearing any makeup at all. Another re-buy that will wait until closer to summer.