Home Brushes A journey with my boyfriend, my motorbike and my J Series…

A journey with my boyfriend, my motorbike and my J Series…

by Sonia G.

This is not really a post about beauty and makeup, it’s just a little post to briefly share with you my recent holiday trip to France, with my motorbike,  my boyfriend and my new Hakuhodo J Series freshly arrived – of course I could not leave home for 7 days and not take these brushes with me – I am that crazy.

My boyfriend’s mum just bought a little countryside house in France near Limoges and we wanted to see what this area looked like, it was supposed to be really charming, surrounded by lakes and castles. It is indeed.

I wasn’t looking forward to covering that many kilometers on two wheels,  I only usually take it to work since it’s easier to park. I actually find it exhausting and stressful to travel long distance on motorbikes. You have to be extremely careful at all times, anticipate even more than you would with a car, pay attention to any type of road otherwise you will be washed out in a blink of an eye (been there) and when you have to do that for hours, it gets very difficult for me, moreover when it rains.

We left on a Friday, it was pouring with rain, it was cold, windy… the most terrible weather we could fear for. But he still wanted to leave that day…  Honestly I was scared to death.

The fear and the gear

My boyfriend bought me new clothing gear as a present (or should I say – leverage – )  since I really needed something serious to wear and to protect me. My last clothing gear was ripped off in a motorbike accident I had some time ago, it can save your life, it’s expensive but worth it, believe me.

With my old motorbike I was never afraid of the rain, it was fantastic under bad weather conditions, unfortunately my current motorbike tends to easily slide sideways on the wet road, I have experienced that a few times already and therefore I wasn’t jumping with joy. Besides, I was extremely tired, we worked so many hours this summer that I wasn’t sure I still had enough energy left to undergo the trip, so I made a deal with my boyfriend. “I’ll go with you to France but you are not questioning my next holiday”.

After the first 50 kilometers we were already soaking wet (waterproof to a certain point…), my boots were entirely filled with water and I could not feel my fingers or my toes anymore. I was deep purple. I had left my windproof layer at home since I thought I wouldn’t be needing it. It was 5° C but with the wind and the speed, that felt like hardcore hell. We had to stop to put on some more clothes, I was literally quivering and could barely manage the corners safely. It was a busy mountain pass, very curvy narrow nasty roads, flooded with rain. I could feel my tears running down – don’t know if they were anger or pain tears – but I was doing my best to keep calm and carry on … I have heated handles on my motorbike but I can tell you that I couldn’t even feel their heat at all.

It continued to rain for hours, we couldn’t even stop to have our picnic. It was 5pm and we hadn’t had lunch. So, what can be worst than that at that point ? More wind. Wind that was pushing me away from the road. And then, traffic jams. And then, long detours and more nasty roads…

We stopped for the night at 8pm in Montluçon, a beautiful medieval town … with a Sephora ! I didn’t get anything at that point, but that happened later on during the week.

The day after we still had a long distance to cover and even more small nasty roads, it was very windy but at least we had sunshine. The dynamic was better. We could communicate with the helmet intercom and sometimes we were even laughing. His birthday is very soon and he was  pointing at every single castle repeating “Please darling for my birthday… ?”
A man can hope.

The boyfriend

We finally reached our destination later that day. Exhausted. It was also exhausting for him because he was checking that I was reappearing in his mirror after each corner… I appreciate he was concerned 🙂

We were staying in a beautiful countryside house in the middle of nowhere, with no internet connection and not even the possibility to have a french sim card working.

The problem when you are in the middle of nowhere is that every time you want to go anywhere, you have to take the motorbike. Or you can also walk, we did that one day and our small walk involved 20km…

As a treat, he took me to the Sephora and the beauty shops in Limoges, of course I had to get a few things to cheer me up !

We also visited the whole area, beautiful lakes, views and many many donkeys… I LOVE donkeys, I was thrilled to be able to spend some time with them.

Feeding a Vassiviere donkey… so cute !

Ile de Vassiviere – Don’t ask me what a sub is doing in a lake…

Just a silly tired face…

We have discovered the area around the house, the Vassivière lake is huge and we will even be able to sail on it.
The house is also quite close to Limoges for shopping, good for me…
We had french crepes of course, I was drinking wine every night and I loved that !

I taught him how to make braids on my hair, since we had no hairdryer that helped to give my hair some dimension… his first try 😀

His first braid

The next Friday, after 7 days, we finally left the countryside.

I packed all the Hakuhodo J Series that I had received before departure in order to try them and be able to do reviews as soon as possible. I was carrying all the brushes in my beauty bag, safely packed in my heavy but well-behaved passenger…

and we are leaving…

We had very beautiful weather at the destination and I can now say that I have traveled long distance with my motorbike. On the way back I was more comfortable, I was easily overtaking the traffic, we even had fun, I could follow him easily and he was warning me via the intercom of any obstacle or dead animals on the road and there were hundreds! We even saw a dead chicken totally crushed and I heard him saying the well-known question “So… why did the chicken cross the road ?? ” I replied : “I don’t know but that wasn’t its brightest idea… ” Hilarious…

* * * * *

Onto the makeup purchases… I bought a few things that I wanted to try, for example the Bioderma.
My friend Dena had sent me an Embryolisse sample from the UK and I wanted to get the full size, I finally found it in Limoges.

Sometimes I buy products even if I don’t need them, for review purposes but I will not buy something that I don’t intend to use!

Since I had to take the motorbike nearly everyday I wasn’t wearing much makeup at all but I can already say that I enjoyed absolutely ALL the J Series, they are amazing brushes, good value and top quality. I will upload reviews of them and tell you more in detail why I selected these and what I love about them.

These are my J Series “eyes”, since some new brushes were waiting for me when I came back, I have included them in the pictures below. Let’s say it’s a sneak peek of the brushes that will be shortly reviewed … 😉

And these are the face brushes :

Bottom line

I cannot say that I had very relaxing holidays but it was a great experience, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, definitely …

I missed you, I was thinking of you and it honestly helped me during my trip. I am so happy to be back 🙂

Talk soon !

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PCobb 9 September, 2012 - 5:20 pm

What a great story! Perfect first-time braid.

Sweet Make Up Temptations 9 September, 2012 - 6:09 pm

Thank you 🙂 – and by the way he also says thank you… 😉

My Lucite Dreams 9 September, 2012 - 8:25 pm

Wow! What a trooper you are! It sounds terribly exhausting and so anxiety producing, the gear is really cool though. Your boyfriend did a lovely job on his first braid! Loving all the new stuff, especially that Givenchy crosiere!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 10 September, 2012 - 7:05 am

Thanks ! I noticed people was looking at me like I was some kind of alien species 🙂 they liked the gear and the bike … that was fun, when I was stuck in traffic jams or going through villages they often gave me the thumbs up 🙂 that helped cheer up my depressed state of mind…
I did not know that this Givenchy collection was so loved actually, I am happy that I decided to take it without reading reviews, I also wanted the lightest shade but they did not had it anymore… So far I am loving it !

Kay 9 September, 2012 - 9:08 pm

I have been reading your blog and as a Hakuhodo and Suqqu fan, have been enjoying your informative posts. Very well done! I purchased several J brushes and am looking forward to your reviews.

You are very brave to undertake this vacation challenge and I admire your grit. BTW, how you packed your makeup for the trip was also a great post!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 10 September, 2012 - 7:08 am

Thank you so much Kay ! Really appreciating all your sweet comments !!!
Have you already purchased, or do you intend to, any Fall 2012 Suqqu ?

Kay 11 September, 2012 - 5:47 am

I purchased eyeshadow palette EX-07 Tsukiakari after seeing Drivel about Frivol’s tutorial. I love the way the blue shadows in 12 Konkuri make my eyes look brighter and whiter and thought the blue cream shadow in Tsukiakari would be fun to try.

BTW, thank you for your excellent review comparing Konkuri with the now unavailable 01 Kakitsubata. Since I “discovered” Suqqu only recently, I was unable to get everyone’s favorite Kakitsubata and your positive review and comparisons of Konkuri were reassuring and the reason I bought it. I have 04 Keshizumi, 09 Usumoegi, and 11 Himesango but Konkuri is the most flattering and my favorite!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 11 September, 2012 - 9:35 pm

Konruri is also my favorite ! I am glad you love it, great news 🙂
Ex-07 is the only one I got so far, I was afraid it sold out, I am waiting for it to arrive, I am curious about the cream shadow but I think I’ll love it (and the taupe in it… arghhh gorgeous)
Since I love to smudge a khol as a base on the lid, this cream shadow will probably be even better… I am hoping the cream shadow will have the same functionalities as the Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier pencils, but we’ll see 😉

Nikoleta 9 September, 2012 - 9:19 pm

It seems exhausting indeed and it is a nightmare to travel under the rain. Did sisley changed their blushes, how the new one compares to the old mango ?
From the J series I like the angled J125R and J122R the most : blending, shading, cotouring, concealing, they do everything!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 10 September, 2012 - 7:19 am

Hi Nikoleta,
It was such a nightmare.. and not counting the blisters I had on both hands 🙁

Hakuhodo did such a good job on their new collection ! I was thinking of you, I remembered your email about the G5527, that when you wash it, it has a big gap between the ferrule and the bristles, I got that same thing with the J214R too, but when it dries it’s back to the normal shape again 🙂

This is a picture of both Mango blushes from Sisley side by side :
there isn’t much difference, the new one is much smaller in quantity and the shade is slightly more shiny and beigey but the difference is barely noticeable…

My last Koyudo order has finally arrived at the post office and I will pick it up today… phew that was long, then it’s going to be Koyudo review time 🙂

Lizzi 10 September, 2012 - 1:33 am

Great Post, taveling and makeup, lovely! Can’t wait to hear about those brushes!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 10 September, 2012 - 7:21 am

Thank you ! I’ll do that asap, the problem is that I love them all, so there isn’t one I won’t recommend 🙂
Also my post about my favorite brushes is going to be updated too since I received many beautiful Koyudo and Hakuhodo !

Buggsiebee 10 September, 2012 - 5:44 am

Go biker girl:))
VERY happy to have you back safe & sound & I’m glad that the trip ended better for you than it begun. I can just imagine how desperate you were feeling with tears running down your cheeks. One feels trapped! It’s one of those situations where it doesn’t help to turn back, you can’t just stop & no matter how bad the conditions ahead are, you just have to plough on. Reminds me a bit of childbirth:) But you pulled through!! Your bf must be very proud of you!
Mmmmmm….nice treats from Sephora!! I also checked out the new Sisley blushes. Apparently the only new one is the Coral/pink mix & the others are just the old blushes in new form & packaging. I have the Mango in the old formula & was all set to get the Pinky coral but it just didn’t look right on me. Of course with the cool new Zebra look I couldn’t leave without getting at least one & ended up gettling the new design Pinky berry. It didn’t appeal to me in the pan at all, but it looks great on the cheeks. It has the same excellent, silky blush formula which looks so natural on & blends like a dream:)
Of course my Hakuhodo order STILL hasn’t arrived:((

Sweet Make Up Temptations 10 September, 2012 - 7:28 am

I love to feel emotions, makes you feel alive, but that was so freaking painful !!!! a childbirth is probably worst so I will stop complaining 😛
He is proud, he told me that many times 🙂 he did suffer too btw !

The compact is gorgeous, I squeak when I saw it 😛
I had a zebra carpet in my old Geneva flat, some kind of modern – african deco, with red touches in the accessories so imagine the zebra case with a red S hahaha

I can’t believe you still haven’t receive it… my last Koyudo order will be picked up today at the post office 😀 can’t wait !

joopah 10 September, 2012 - 6:20 am

I’m a newish reader and I’m so glad I found your blog (have bookmarked it now). I totally laughed at taking your new brushes along on your holiday as that’s exactly what I would do too. I like white bristles brushes but often concerned that I can get them really clean again after several uses. At the moment, I find Becca professional soap does the trick. But, anything other brush cleanser I should consider?

Sweet Make Up Temptations 10 September, 2012 - 7:49 am

Thank you 🙂 definitely crazy.. many wouldn’t understand us …

I have no problem at all when I clean them and I do that often, they always revert to their original color, I don’t use special soap, just mild soap and I wash them delicately.
That’s the problem with white brushes, you will feel like you need to wash them more often than the darker ones but that’s fine with me I don’t mind that. Feels relaxing to do it actually…
On the other hand, if you look at the darker hair brushes in the makeup counters, some have become greyish with time (I saw that at Trish counter for example) but I don’t know how often and how exactly they wash them… or it also depends if the brushes are dyed they might lose their nice color. Either way you may see them changing their color someday. I never had this problem yet but I don’t do makeup on people 10x a day..

I have to start checking the cleansers more seriously now that I have so many brushes, some brushes are denser therefore they may take longer to dry but I know that with some special cleansers they dry faster. Will check that and I will let you know.
I believe Nikoleta sent me some details of a nice cleanser in a comment… I will ask her, she might know the one I thinking about…
I have one cleanser (the Makeup For Ever) but I prefer the result when I wash them with soap…

For the more delicate brushes (squirrel, etc) I use baby shampoo and sometimes even conditioner, but instead of washing them in running lukewarm water I have the bristles take a little bath 🙂 it’s more gentle.

But if anyone has a recommendation for a nice brush cleanser, please kindly share 😉

Nikoleta 10 September, 2012 - 5:11 pm

It’s been several months I use the Master’s cleaner soap, I’ve went through two boxes (don’t remember where I bought it, you should check on internet) and it is really good as it contains some oils to condition hairs and cleans very well, if your brush is really dirty or stained you can even leave the product for a while on and rinse several minutes after


J 10 September, 2012 - 1:55 pm


Your brush posts are incredibly helpful and I think I’m ready to make my first Hakuhodo purchase with your pictures! Out of curiosity, which are your absolute essentials for eyes and face? Sort of like a ‘with these 3 eye brushes, go forth and conquer the world!’ thing.

I have the Lunasol ones which are a little too soft for the ETKs that I love using, hence my ‘defect’.


Sweet Make Up Temptations 10 September, 2012 - 7:06 pm

Hi J, Thank you 🙂
My favorite brushes for the eyes are : J220G, J242G, J5523, BJ214. Then if you want some crease ones, there are also great ones like the J142, J146… but with the J5523 you can do so many things already.
For the face : J5521, J110, J4001, J116
I am sure the J Series will work well with the ETKs, they are soft, dense but firm.
I haven’t tried all of them with many different products yet but the ones above are must-haves for me. Of course so are the others… 😉
Not trying to push anyone to buy all of them but it’s so easy to be addicted to them !
I haven’t tried the Lunasol yet but I will one day, it’s on my list.

Jolyn 11 September, 2012 - 1:34 pm

Dear Sonia,

Thank you for your comprehensive reply, this is very helpful!

I’ve decided to go with the J220G and J5523 for eyes – they look similar to the MAC 239 and 217 and those I understand. I wish I know what the other eye brushes are used for, but till then… What would you recommend as a small blending brush sort of thing? I usually do an overall base of color with the 239, pat on the darker colour at the outer 1/3 of my lid and sorta blend the two together with the 217.

As for the face brushes, I’ve decided to go with J5521 and either one of the J116 or J5521. They are both for highlighters but why the different shapes? This is puzzling. What would you recommend as a good face powder brush? I would need a foundation brush as well.

The possibilities are endless, but thank you in advance for your reply Sonia!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 11 September, 2012 - 7:16 pm

I know, too many brushes to choose from.
It takes time to build a collection, you better start with fewer good ones than many less good.
I would recommend you the J146 for blending, it’s smaller than the J142, depends which size you want.
But you can also blend with J5523.

With the J110 and the J5521 you can have so many options either for bronzer, blush, highlighter…
The shape depends on what you want to do, the J116 is flat because that would also help you to do thin application using it sideways, it’s also more pointy for more precise application of highlight or contour for example.

For the foundation I love the Koyudo FU-PA 02, which is sooo good for the price !

I know the possibilities are endless 🙂 but starting with Hakuhodo you cannot be disappointed..

You are welcome 🙂

Dena 10 September, 2012 - 3:57 pm

Welcome home, Sonia! I am pleased your J Series brushes brought you some comfort on your trip! I received the second of my 3 Hakuhodo orders today. I love the brushes, but I was a little surprised by the J528, which I thought would be flatter. Have you found any brushes in the J Series which are more like the Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate brush?

Sweet Make Up Temptations 10 September, 2012 - 7:16 pm

Hi Dena, thank you 🙂 they did !
The J532 is the closest I have in shape to the TF, but probably too small for shading… I have to try because it’s too big for eyelid shadow application !
I have received a Koyudo BP022 http://www.koyudo.co.jp/product/cheekbrush/bp022.html same idea, but it’s even less flat than the J528.
Are you looking for a contour brush ? kind of placing the straight line contour and blend all together with the same brush ?

Dena 10 September, 2012 - 8:05 pm

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m looking for. That Koyudo brush is beautiful. I have the J532, and I love it – it works well on my huge eyes! I’m going to look at that TF brush – I’ve had my eye on it for ages. I have a long birthday wish list!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 11 September, 2012 - 8:43 am

For contouring I prefer a small round brush, I have the TF but I don’t use it on a daily basis, although I am happy that it’s so different from any other I have !
I love to have wish lists, feels so good to get things that are on top of it 😀

Stacy 11 September, 2012 - 12:13 am

Welcome back Sonia! What an adventure! Truly what vacation would be worth taking without a cosmetic purchase or two or three??!! That little haul would make all the rain go away plus you look so amazingly cool in your new gear!! Love the pictures of both of you!!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 11 September, 2012 - 8:50 am

Thank you Stacy, so glad to be back !!!
Well, next holiday either New York or the Maldives… I wonder if I can get brushes in the Maldives… no I know I can’t but there is Dubai eventually 😉 a huge nice transfer airport !
If I go to the Maldives, since I am ALWAYS in the water, I will take waterproof makeup test it and take pictures – before and after 8 hours of swimming 😀

Stacy 11 September, 2012 - 7:44 pm

Of course I vote New York……..

Dena 11 September, 2012 - 7:19 pm

Waterproof makeup sounds like an excellent subject for a blog post! I always test it out when I run marathons. My favourite is Make Up For Ever Face & Body; it looks natural, feels light, and stays put. The aqua creams are excellent for eyes, and I either use the aqua creams on my cheeks, or a Daniel Sandler watercolour blush. When I am preparing my marathon kit, the makeup is as important an element as everything else!!

Stacy 11 September, 2012 - 7:45 pm

Ahhhh a girl after my own heart! Makeup and Marathons! No one should do anything except sleep without make up! 🙂

Dena 11 September, 2012 - 8:36 pm

Haha, I agree wholeheartedly! And even when a girl sleeps, she needs the best skincare…!

I never wear makeup to the gym, but I have to look my best for the triumphant finishers’ photo at the end of a marathon!

Sonia, I have just realised that I was confusing the J528 with the G529 (see? I’m not so great at remembering the brush names, after all!). I don’t really know what I’m going to use the J528 for. I think it’s too dense for highlighter. It’s the same size as the Shiseido foundation brush, so maybe that’s what I’ll use it for. What do you use the J528 for?

By the way, I am in love with the J513 and 122R for concealer. Amazing!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 12 September, 2012 - 7:32 am

Oh I see… it’s reassuring that you cannot remember all of them 😉 I feel better now 😛
I cannot remember their numbers at all, and when I do I’ll forget them anyway !

I have used the J528 for blending the base foundation today, and then for foundation, and then also highlighter ! The foundation I was using this morning is the Cle de Peau, I applied it with my fingertips but then I blended with the J528. This highlighter I used is the new Dior nude 001, which is kind of a hard cream texture so that’s actually a good brush for it (when you don’t need a lot of precision). I also use if for blending in the base foundation, it’s a bit like a mini RM Radiance, flatter but it helps to really blend in flawlessly any thicker base. Since it’s goat, it’s good for liquid/cream products that are thicker/harder. Not that it’s an absolute must-have but it’s a great surprise !

I will also get the J513 and 122R someday 😉

Dena 13 September, 2012 - 7:28 pm

That’s really helpful advice; thank you so much!

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