28 January 2014

No shampoo challenge - 1st week

Dear diary,

Thanks to Gaby's #2014BloggerChallenge I came upon a blog post from a fellow participant that wrote about how using shampoo isn't really necessary, it's actually damaging for your hair as it strips it off of its natural oils.
I'm really sorry but I can't remember the blogger's name or her blog site to leave you a link. Basically, she talked about having spent an entire week without using shampoo or other hair products to get her hair naturally cleansed and back to its normal state.

I've always been battling with my hair as it is sparse, fine and really oily. I also suffer from hair loss so I take supplements two or three times a year when I feel my hair is in pretty bad shape. I used to wash it every day when I was younger as I worked at a pub and my hair would smell of tobacco. When I switched jobs I washed my hair every other day until I found out about dry shampoo. Even using it in between washes I haven't been able to last more than 3 days without having to wash my hair, 4 when I'm staying in.

As I'm dreading turning into my mother (pretty bald) I first started purchasing "better" hair care products, but I feel this is still not good enough. I'm willing to make an effort and try to outlast 12 weeks using no shampoo.

So my first week has gone like this:

Day 1: perfect fluffy hair
Day 2: still good, a bit oily but not too bad
Day 3: very oily: dry shampoo needed + pony tail + water rinse at the end of the day
Day 4: coarse and a bit oily: no dry shampoo + pony tail
Day 5: very oily: dry shampoo + pony tail
Day 6: oily: pony tail, I noticed my hair wasn't as oily as day 3
Day 7: I stayed in and dyed my hair in the evening
Day 8: perfect fluffy hair
Day 9: still good

Tomorrow will be day 10, I don't now if I'm going to wash my hair this evening or wait until tomorrow morning. I will write an update in 10 days' time.

Looking for more information I found out that I could use baking soda and apple cider vinegar as a shampoo and conditioner alternative. I still have to find the perfect combination as I've read this method is better not to be used in excess either. I also think I have to ditch the dry shampoo as nobody has mentioned using this and I'm thinking this must be equally bad for my hair as well.

I'm not sure if dying my hair is cheating the no shampoo rule but I really can't skip this step anymore as I have acquired a lot of shiny silver strands during the past few years. They really aren't that many but they seem to congregate for a party on the top of my head just where my hair naturally parts: pretty annoying and difficult to hide. Why can't they go to the back of my neck or don't come at all? Who invited them? Ok, I'm 41 now so I have to assume my age and deal with the fact that I'm getting old.

For the love of big, fluffy and bouncy hair,

25 January 2014

Mini giveaway

Dear diary,

Today I've finally run out of my Rimmel Scandaleyes mascara. I haven't liked it much, it has a wet formula that I'm particularly not very fond of as I find it's difficult to apply, you have to be very patient and spend a lot of time to work it in to get a perfect finish.
I liked that it held my curl all day long and that you can reapply it throughout the day, it also doesn't smudge or flake which is always a plus.

In the beginning I needed to wipe the brush on a tissue to take off the excess and got a nice application, after a while it became better as the product was getting drier but not long after that it got all clumpy and I needed to brush over my lashes after application which is very tedious as I only have like 20 minutes to get dressed and do my make up.

I purchased this mascara with an 3X2 offer on Rimmel products, I wanted to give it a try as I love the Scandaleyes eye pencils. So I got 2 mascaras and 1 eye pencil in taupe, which I adore.

So that leaves me with an unopend mascara that I really don't like and I want to do something different with it. I normally would gift it a friend but I thought I could do something nice for the few readers I've recently acquired thanks to the #2014BloggerChallenge.

I hope nobody feels offended that I'm giving away a product that hasn't worked for me as I honestly think that it could make somebody else very happy and maybe it really is a great mascara but I haven't been able to find out how to apply it properly...

This giveaway is open worldwide, otherwise I would have no one to send it to, ha ha ha.

As I'm new to the bloggosphere and wouldn't have any readers if it hadn't been for Gabys Blogger Challenge I'd like to ask you for your help.

Leave me a comment below about what you think I should change/improve/add to my plain blog so I know how to make it more appealing for you.

I'll select one lucky? winner and anounce it on a blog post on 23/02/2014.

Thank you in advance for all your comments.

21 January 2014

Huge LUSH haul

Dear diary,

Yesterday I received my first ever LUSH order, yay!
Lush cosmetics
I first came across a Lush store when I was visiting London so it must have been the one on Regent street. I loved the store's layout and the product's simple but cute packaging, but I've just become aware that most of all I loved the lettering, it seems handmade just like their products. I'd never heard of the brand before that day (I think this was like 3 or 4 years ago).

I only purchased a bath bomb as I found it quite expensive for just one use, but you know when you are on holiday you just want to forget about money and have yourself a well-deserved treat, so I went back to the hotel that evening and I immediately run a bath.

The following day I went back to the store and bought some more bath bombs and a Bubblegum lip scrub as I have very dehydrated lips and thought this might help out but I'll tell that story in a later post, this is to give you an idea of how much I loved the bath bomb. I'd never tried anything like it. It really darkened my bath water unlike any other product that I've used and it gave it an amazingly strong scent that lingered on my skin while also leaving it smooth and silky. I immediately felt more relaxed and well rested after the long day of work, touring the city and shopping.

Since then I've been buying bath bombs like crazy every time I was on holiday where I could find a Lush store, so I've been to Lush stores in London, San Francisco and Tokyo, I don't know about Dublin, I can't put my finger on it.

When I used my last bath bomb this Christmas I thought about going online and see if they had an online store as I knew they had opened Lush stores in Spain but far, far away... To my surprise they have opened more stores than the logical Madrid and Barcelona (both 4 and 6 hours away) but still not close enough.

Last week I came upon the perfect sale item: Just 3 letters to name it WOW.I must say the name lives up to the product itself, or do I need to say products? It was 50% off so I couldn't let it pass, it all came in a huge and sturdy box like this one:
It was filled with a ton of goodies in cell-like individual cages, covered in foam balls for protection.
It came with 10 different bath bombs, 6 different 120gr soaps, 4 bubble bars, 2 bath melts, 1 golden Fun, 3 shower gels (100gr), 1 body lotion (100gr), a massage bar a lip scrub and lip balm. All the products are Christmas related but I don't care, at only 99,98€ I have some delicious Lush products to last me until next Christmas.
WOW Christmas box 2013
It also came with some sample products wrapped up in the usual yellow paper bag: two big size soaps (Bohemian and Miranda) and four small cream samples:
Lush samples & freebies
I love the way it came signed by the person that prepared the sample package and I have to thank her (Laura) as the web said I was only getting two samples, I chose a moisturizing cream for oily skin Enzymion and One man one cream for the hubby. The other two are the ultrabland, a coldcrem and let the good times roll, a cleanser.

For the lush of sharing,

18 January 2014

Skincare routine 2014 Blogger Challenge

Dear diary,

I really don't change my skincare routine from summer to winter as my skin stays pretty much the same: oily. The only dry parts are my hands, as I wash them too often, and my lips.

During winter I apply any regular hand cream/lotion more often (4-5 times a day) and at night I use a more nourishing anti age hand cream that I've been loving recently, sadly I used it up this week and I haven't repurchased it yet.

Collistar anti-age hand treatment:
Collistar anti-age hand cream
For lips I'm still on the hunt for the perfect balm, I've tried a lot of different brands including the Nuxe Rêve de miel. Currently I'm using the cherry blossom lip balm by Integrate (Shiseido). What has really helped me over the past months is putting my eye cream on my lips as well. I have the Bubblegum lip scrub from Lush but it hasn't worked for me, mainly because I always forget to use it, lol! I'm on the hunt for the Crème de Rose by Dior but I'm waiting to get a good deal on this as it is pretty expensive.
Lip products
For the rest I drink a lot of water and take some supplements for hair, skin and nails.
Hair, Skin & Nails supplement
And for an extra skin pampering I love using masks:
Face masks
If you want to read a full post about my morning skin care routine press here and for my nighttime skin care routine press here.

As for body care this product has totally changed my life, it's the NIVEA rinse-off body lotion for under the shower.
NIVEA in shower body milk
You can find a complete review here.

I also leave you the link to Gaby's post on Topic 2 where you'll find a list and link to the other participants' entries here.

For the love of sharing,

15 January 2014

Empty tube, or not?

Dear diary,

With any new product I always go through 3 different stages:
  1. As I tend to spend too much on cosmetics and make up I start by using very little product so it will last me a very long time.
  2. Halfway down the product I'm so eager to finish it and try a new one that I start applying too much of it.
  3. With 3/4 left or so I'm becoming more conservative again, also because I've bought a replacement (repurchase or not) and am again aware of the huge cost of the product.
I prefer purchasing pots over any other container but I'm aware that this is not the most hygienic one. I like pumps the least, they are very convenient and hygienic but it's difficult to get all, and I mean really ALL the product out. I don't like wasting even a pea-size amount of product, even if I haven't liked the product itself so much. I make myself finish off what I have bought and to not throw away and waste anything. It's a sort of self-inflicted punishment for making a mistake. Only with cheap drugstore products I haven't liked I leave myself unpunished and give the product away to a friend.

As for tubes, here is how I get all the product out:
Mary Kay Timewise repair eye cream
First I make sure no more product is coming out by squeezing (I squeeze really hard, lol). Then I cut off near the top, but not so close to it that I can't use it as a cap. I first finish the product left-over in the cap and then I move my way into the tube, I go in layers: first closer to the edge and work my way in. If needed I'll cut off an empty strip of the tube and still use the cap to cover and close the tube as best as I can to prevent the product from drying out.

Anyone does the same?

For the love of sharing,

12 January 2014

Best in beauty 2013

Dear diary,

Here are my favourite products of 2013, I've only listed only the products that have really worked for me during the last year.

In the make up department:
Favourite make up products and tools 2013
My heated eyelash curler, the Duo adhesive lash glue, the Aritaum Baby Face mist that I use as a primer, eyelashes from a 100-yen store in Tokyo, the Maybelline eyeliner gel in black, the Sephora mascara comb+eyelid protector, the Urban Decay Anti-aging  Primer Potion and the Integrate (Shisheido) brow pencil in ash, I suppose as I can't read Japanese...

Hair care (I have oily, fine and very sparse hair):
Favourite hair care products 2013
The Macadamia shampoo, conditioner, masque, leave in conditioner and argan oil, go here for more information. My Tangle Teezer hair brush in leopard print and the Batiste dry shampoo.

Body (normal skin):
Favourite body products 2013
Garnier Delial SPF 20 body lotion, I really love this product, it's not sticky at all, absorbs really quick and leaves a golden glow to the skin. Shower gel + body lotion from Yves Rocher in Comme une Evidence, my favourite fragrance, it lingers for a very long time. For every day use the Nivea under the shower rinse-off body lotion, I can't stop talking about this product, more about this here.

Face (oily skin):
Favourite beauty products 2013
My two favourite serums: Clarins double serum and the Estee Lauder Perfectionist. Mary Kay Timewise moisturizing face mask. Estee Lauder Advance Night repair eye cream and the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm.

Make up brushes:
Favourite make up brushes 2013
Real Techniques and Coastal Scents are so far my favourite brands. I'm wanting to try out the beauty blender or the Real Techniques dupe but so far I'm sticking to foundation brushes. I also like the CVS one as it is so wide that you can put on foundation in 3 swipes when you are in a hurry, but I tend to use the flat top kabuki from Coastal Scents the most as it doubles up for putting on powder and sometimes I also use it to contour my face by using the edges to make a sharp mark and then blend it out.

As for eye shadow brushes I'm loving the white one for blending (B-32 pro blending fluff brush from Coastal Scents), it's a dupe for the 217 from MAC, which I'm wanting to try and see if it really is worth all the hype and the B-52 Classic angle natural brush also from Coastal Scents, this one is perfect for using on the crease, it creates the most perfect sideways V shape.

Other random favourites of mine have been:

TV series: Scandal, Awkward and Downton Abbey.
Books: Twilight, The Hunger Games and the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett.
Candles: Yankee candle, as I haven't tried any other brand…
Youtuber: Tanya Burr, Janelle from Elleandish and Maru the cat from Mugumogu.
Make up guru: The make up chair by Sineadycady.

Congratulations to all the winners!

8 January 2014

Yankee Candle sale haul

Dear diary,

Very recently I've become obsessed with scented candles, especially Yankee Candle and Bath and Body works, unfortunately they are hard to get over here.  I found a store in my home town that sells the Yankee candles but I find them very expensive. The large jar retails for 30€ so I thought of waiting and buy me one in the sales. As I'm not familiar with these candles and their scents I purchased two sample size candles: one in Vanilla Chai and the other in Apple and Pine Needle at 3€ a piece.

Here in Spain the sales start after the 3 Kings/Wise men festivity (January 6th) and that's when Christmas really ends, so I started browsing the web in search of a sale in candles and I found a few but I selected the one with the lowest delivery cost: Yankee.co.uk and this is what I got delivered today, I was so excited:
Gingerbread Train wax burner & Yankee Candle Apple and Pine needle
Gingerbread Train Wax Burner (15,89 pounds) + Cranberry ice Wax Tart (94 pence). The Apple and Pine Needle small jar I thought I had deleted from my order but it came in the box and strangely enough hasn't been charged on my invoice, it retails at 6,29 pounds so not a bad deal.
Ginger kids jar hugger, Yankee Candle Cinnamon Stick, Red Apple Wreath & Sugared Apple
3 Large jars for 14,99 pounds each: Cinnamon Stick, Sugared Apple and Red Apple Wreath also a Ginger Kids Jar Hugger for 11,24 pounds.
Yankee Candle Home for Holidays sampler house & Gingerbread tall sampler holder
Home for Holidays 12 Sampler House for 18,99 pounds and a Gingerbread Tall Sampler Holder for 8,01 pounds. The 3 Sampler candles came as free gifts for my purchase: Red Apple, Snow in Love and Cranberry Ice.

As for delivery they only charged me 9,99 pounds which is an excellent deal for the two large boxes I received today all the way from the UK. The candles were carefully wrapped in bubble and the holders came in very well-protected individual foam boxes.

I know I can't really use the candle holders for now but I think it has saved me some money for next Christmas, yay!

Happy sales-shopping,

3 January 2014

New Year's inspiration

Dear diary,

Last year I finally made one of my biggest dreams come true: A trip to Tokyo.

I first planned to go in June or September but after looking at different dates I settled on the Easter holidays as it coincided with the Sakura (Cherry tree) blossoming season. I'd never heard about this being such a big thing among the Japanese and it would never have occurred to me to plan a trip just to watch some random flowers but my husband was very keen on this. He had had a Japanese girlfriend some time before we met and she had told him all about this traditional custom called Hanami (flower viewing: where flower mostly refers to cherry blossoms).
And you may ask what this has to do with my New Year's inspiration. After our trip I have to say that what inspires me most is not so the beauty of these magnificent trees and flowers, but the gathering of thousands of people whose only desire is to enjoy a day in the park sitting below the blossoming cherry trees sharing the company of friends and loved ones and leaving all troubles aside just to be in close touch with Mother Nature.

Hanami is inspiring me to be a better person in 2014, making me wish for a perfect world in which every day Nature is celebrated and worshipped.
And if this wish of mine fails I can always go back to any park in Japan, or even to: Taiwan, Korea, The Philippines, China or within the USA: Washington DC, Macon (Georgia) or Brooklyn (New York), where smaller hanami celebrations take place.

Happy Hanami 2014
You can find a list and link to all the #2014BloggerChallenge posts on Topic 1: "New Year's inspiration" here. Thanks for stopping by.

For the love of sharing,

1 January 2014

December empties

Dear diary,

Here are the products I've used up this past month.
NIVEA in shower body milk
My favourite NIVEA moisturizing body lotion, this product is great. It saves you a lot of time when you're in a hurry. You just apply it once you've rinsed off your soap/gel. I turn the shower off, apply it all over and rinse. It leaves your skin super smooth and hydrated. It penetrates your skin immediately and you don't have to wait for it to dry before getting dressed. It costs around 5€ for a 400ml bottle, so not bad.
Mavala base coat
Mavala protecting base coat for nails. I've run out of this very quickly as it was only a 5ml bottle. I purchased it some time ago and it came with some other Mavala nail products in a nice manicure bag.
Lina Bocardi nail polish remover
Lina Bocardi's nail polish remover, I got this at my mom's so I'm not sure where I can purchase it as I liked it a lot. It's nicely scented, not so overpowering as others and it really gets the job done effortlessly.
Collistar anti age hand cream
Loved this hand cream from the Italian brand Collistar. I've never purchase anything from this brand before but I have to say the hand cream is great. It's a very dense/thick cream but it really penetrates well and leaves no sticky residue. It's great for the cuticles as well, I've notice a big difference.
Clarins One Step facial cleanser
I'm sad this bottle is empty. It came with a night cream when you purchased over 30€ in Clarins products at Douglas in The Netherlands. My mom was visiting some relatives over there and I asked her to get me two Beauty Flash Balms as I wanted to try it after reading so many good reviews.
I really liked its scent, as it contains orange extract you immediately know it's going to smell just like that but I tell you it smells even better. I'm using the L'Óreal Micellar water now as it is way much cheaper and it doesn't have any scent at all so if you have a problem with perfume you can never go wrong with the L'Óreal one. I'd heard the L'Óreal is a dupe for the Bioderma but I can't comment on that as I haven't tried the Bioderma yet. For now I'm happy with the L'Óreal as I think it's sold at an unbeatable price of around 3€ for a 200ml bottle.
Maybelline Lasting Drama Eyeliner in Ultra Violet
My last product is the Maybelline Lasting Drama Eyeliner in Ultra Violet. Not that I've used it up but it has sadly dried on me. I bought it from Feel Unique and I think it already had already gone bad when they send it over as I noticed a huge difference in texture comparing it to my black one. After using it three or four times it started to flake. I've heard talk about the Bobby Brown's being really great but I'm not sure I want to spend so much more when I'm really not much of a gel liner user. I'll stick to my black one for the moment.

Can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for me. I'm excited to share my new findings with y'all.

For the love of sharing,