27 February 2014

Best of Beauty: Pamper products

Dear diary,

First of all I'd like to congratulate the lovely and talented Samantha for winning the Blogger of the year award, you go girl!

After having said that I'll dive right into this week's #BOBBlogChallenge: Pamper Products.

Glamglow is a youtube made me buy it product, I heard so many youtubers raving about it that I finally caved and ordered it from http://www.feelunique.com. I haven't used it that much so I can't really tell you if I'm noticing any improvement. 

What I like doing on sundays is light me some Yankee Candle and draw me a nice hot bath using some Lush products. I purchased a huge gift box called WOW in the sales and I'm hoping it will last me a whole year. 

Back to sundays: I start with taking off all my make up and then I use my Dermanew Dermabrasion system, after that I'll put on some kind of mask. I have a whole bunch as I like to alternate them. 

Mary Kay TimeWise moisturizing mask, this one I leave in until the next morning. I like that it's a gel texture, it feels cold on the skin when applying so I tend to use it more in the summer.

SkinClinic Velo Resfill regenerating mask, I got this from a friend of mine but I haven tried it yet.

Caudalie Vinopure purifying mask for combination skin, I love using this in the summer time to fight off my super oily skin. 

Lancôme Blanc Expert, used this a few weeks ago and I got a lot of compliments the following day. They said my skin looked youthful, very glowy and radiant. I'll have to repurchase.

Glamglow Supermud, I've only used it three times so I'm not sure it's that life changing.

Glamglow Youthmud, just used it once for the sake of this post.... I can only say that it really tingles

Shu Uemura Deepsea moisture, I used this yesterday after taking off the Youthmud. I really needed an extra special pampering treatment after having received some bad news. After this I applied the Beauty Flash Balm by Clarins as a night cream.

Moisturizing mask from Deliplus (Mercadona): blah, super cheap but not worth it.

I'm very curious about what my fellow bloggers will feature this time, you can find a complete list of participants with their blog links here.

24 February 2014

Liebster Award

Dear diary,

The lovely Renee from Reneehartsthis nominated me for the Liebster Award.

For the few of you who don't know what I'm talking about, the Liebster Award is just a way to get to know fellow bloggers and spread B-love around. The Award is only given to blogs with 200 followers or less. For blogs with a higher volume of followers you have the Best Blogs Awards.

  • Thank and link back to the blogger who nominated you
  • Answer the questions mentioned in your nomination post  
  • Nominate 5, 11 or 20 blogs with up to 200 followers (no tag-back allowed)
  • Create 11 questions for them to answer or you ask them to write 11 random facts about themselves; you could also choose both
  • Follow the bloggers you've nominated and let them know by linking them to your Liebster Award post so they can decide to either accept the award and follow the chain, or to decline it.

If you have followed all these steps you'll be the proud owner of the Liebster Award.

You can use the pink logo if you've won for the first time and the green one for the following. You can win up to 11 awards, after this you'll have to contact the blogger who's nominated you and ask him/her if you can nominate someone in your place or if she/he will do this him/herself.

My answers:
  1. Sweet or savory? I like both but when I'm really hungry I only like savory food.
  2. DIY or buy? This one is easy, I'm no good at DIY so I'd rather buy or give someone else (my sister in law) the DIY instructions.
  3. Do you prefer to bake cakes or cook dinner? I love baking, hate the cooking though.
  4. Heels or flat shoes? In summer I almost always wear high heels and in the winter I can't get out of my UGGs.
  5. What's your favourite movie? Moulin Rouge, I've watched it over 20 times, never gets boring. 
  6. Who is your favourite Disney Princess and why? Princess Jasmine because I have a huge crush on Aladdin.
  7. If you could go to any country in the world where would it be? Atlantis
  8. City girl or country sweethart? Why? I think I'd like to be a mix of the two, I love the city and all it offers but I'd rather live in a quiet neighbourhood away from the hectic city life.
  9. Do you prefer the beach or poolside? Beach, but it has to be like the one in my hometown: with cobblestones, I don't like turning into a scary sand monster, lol.
  10. What's your favourite flower? Daisies are my all time favourite, they are the most romantic flower I can think of. When I was little I spent hours and hours plucking the petals to find out if he loved me or not.
  11. Clubbing with friends or a quiet night playing boardgames with pals? mmmm I think neither, I'd much rather watch some movies with a huge pile of popcorn.
My list of nominees:

1. Zoe Archer
2. Rachel Marshall
3. Samia
4. Becka
5. Catherine Sarah
6. Victoria Katerina
7. Alice May
8. Robyn Morton
9. Enigmatic Rambles
10. Sarah McMaster
11. Cindy Tiernan

Instead of answering my questions I'd like you to tell me 11 random facts about yourself or if you don't have the time to do this you could just answer the same questions that I have.

Good luck to y'all!

20 February 2014

Make up must have

Dear diary,

It's Thursday again, this means it's time for another post for the #BOBBlogChallenge hosted by the very talented Samantha. This week's topic is going to be about our make up must haves but I can only think of one item that I really couldn't be without.

The Urban Decay Primer Potion.

When I started wearing make up (not so long ago) I got really annoyed at eyeshadows and eyeliners moving around freely without my permission. When I heard about eye primers I immediately went on the hunt. At first I tried some drugstore brands: NYX, Deliplus (Mercadona), Beyu, Mary Kay, none of these helped so I thought: lets go high end. In came MAC's Prep + Prime Eye and the Stay don't Stray from Benefit: no luck there either. One day while at Sephora they recommended me the Too Faced Shadow Insurance but it was sadly out of stock.

Then I thought about purchasing the UDPP as a lot of bloggers raved about it but I didn't want to splash out again for nothing. Then the Smoked palette was released and it came with a sample sized primer potion, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

I've never gone back to another primer, it works perfectly and it makes my eye make up stay in place for the longest time ever. I never ever thought that was possible or I wouldn't have gotten rid of my few MAC eye shadows.

When the anti-ageing formula came out last year I went online and ordered the regular size tube. It works as good as the original one and if it really has some anti-ageing ingredients, the better. At 41 you need all the extra help you can get...

My next task is to find an eyeliner that will hold for more than half an hour on my waterline, any recommendations?

17 February 2014

High end vs Drugstore

Dear diary,

Next up on the #2014BloggerChallenge is a discussion themed post: High end vs high street products.

This could be an endless discussion topic so I've decided to keep it quite simple and jump to the conclussion right at the beginning: in my humble opinion you could find any similar or even better products at the drugstore. Why then do I keep splurging on higher end products? Because it makes me feel special and glamourous. Stupid, you'd think? Most probably, but... I can't help myself.

image taken from Wikimedia Commons

If I had to choose a clear winner I would say the key word here is routine. In day to day life we tend to avoid routine in order to not get bored but when it has to do with skincare, following a routine morning and night will be your best friend.

I've been following a skincare routine for as long as I can remember, way back to elementary school. I'd put some regular hand cream on my face but at least it was a start. Since a very young age I intuitively avoided using regular soap to wash my face as I felt it was too drying. But it wasn't until I went to study abroad when I started cleansing my face morning and night, I was 18 at the time. I can't remember when I started using an eyecream but it must have been in my early twenties. I also found out about the importance of drinking lots of water so I made this an important part of my routine. The use of serums came in later, maybe in my late twenties but surely before I turned 30. At 30 I was already worried about fine lines and switched over to some richer and nourishing formulas. At 41 I'm gravitating towards anti-ageing treatments that target wrinkles, firmness and dark spots. A high SPF is, of course, a must.

I suppose genetic inheritance plays a great role in the way your skin evolves and changes throughout the years and there's nothing you could do to change that. Instead of cursing your genetics make an effort and focus on the things you can actually change. It may not give you instant gratification but if you do it consistently you'll reap the benefits in the long term.

For the love of sharing,

13 February 2014

Best of Beauty: Haircare heroes

Dear diary,

It's that time of the week when we try to stir things up in the blogosphere with Samantha's  #BOBBlogChallenge. This week the chosen theme is all about sharing our haircare heroes.

My hair has always been my achilles' heel, it's very sparse, fine, oily and I get a mountain of split ends only by looking at it. I've always tried to take good care of it but nothing works, there's no way to get around genetic inheritance.

As I'm currently in the middle of another Challenge (no poo), I'm leaving you some other hair-related must haves:

  1. This Hot Oil Treatment  leaves my hair silky soft and weightless. I use this in the summer time, like once a month or month and a half.
  2. The Batiste dry shampoo is great to get rid of any unwanted oily shine in your hair so you won't need to wash your hair that often. Spray it to the roots, massage scalp and brush the excess off.
  3. A microfiber towel is much softer than the regular one. I just loosely wrap my wet hair and after a few minutes take it off and wrap again using the drier side, this way it gets most of the moist out of my hair before blowdrying it. I never ever rub my hair dry. 
  4. Before blow drying I put a bit of oil between my fingers and apply it to my damp hair ends, this one here is from Macadamia and I love it.
  5. After applying the oil I gently comb my hair using the Macadamia oil infused comb.
  6. Three times a year I take a hair-targeted supplement for a month.
  7. I use a boar-bristle brush on my dry hair to distribute the oils from root to ends.
  8. The Tangle Teezer is supposed to be better than any other brush to use on wet hair, you apparently get less breakage. True to its name it is the best detangler brush in the market.
  9. A satin pillowcase is said to prevent hair breakage and wrinkles -seriously hoping this is true, lol.
  10. Hairbands made from old tights. They are softer so they should cause less breakage. I purchased some Twistbands but these are much softer and cheaper, plus you get to recycle which is always best.
Other important hair care related steps I follow are:
  1. I clean all my hair brushes and combs regularly letting them soak into luke-warm water with some soap or shampoo for a few minutes, then take a comb and get all the hairs out of the brushes, rinse them with clean water and let them air-dry on a towel with the bristles facing down.
  2. A great detangler is some apple cider vinegar, don't worry, the smell will go once you've given your hair the final rinse. I've known this for ages but it's just recently when I started using it.
  3. I turn my shower to the coldest water I can manage for the last rinse.
  4. I use a leave-in UV-protection serum in the summer.
  5. When at the beach I wear a hat or a scarf to fully protect my hair.
  6. In the summer time I always let my hair air-dry and during the winter I stop when my hair is about 80% dry and let the rest air-dry. Anecdote: I blow-dry my hair in the car when driving to work, I put the air vents on high speed and medium temperature. Anyone else does the same?
See u next week for another great topic!

9 February 2014

No poo challenge weeks 2&3

Dear diary,

As I told you in a previous entry I'm trying to complete a 3-month challenge in which I'm trying to give my hair a rest from shampoo abuse.

I did a tiny bit of research and I got this out of it, I don't know if I got it right and I'm absolutely no expert, but a bit of common sense made think like this:

You need a shampoo with sulfates to get rid of all the layering of yucky products (silicones, parabens and petroleum products) you normally use to protect, soften and give shine to your hair. These per se are not bad for you but they aren't good either, they only give a false appearance of healthy hair on the outside. Sulfate on its own isn't bad either when used with moderation and when it's really needed. It is a strong and harsh cleaning substance that strips the hair off of its naturally produced protective oils, thus making you need to put oil back in, that's where the use of serums, leave in conditioners and oils come in. As your scalp feels there's no oil left it starts producing more very quickly so you end up looking like an oil slick the day after you've washed your hair and need to wash it again so it won't look so oily. So you end wrapped up in a vicious circle using a ton of products that only mask the appearance of your hair when in fact they aren't helping at all.

And you would think: you could use a sulfate-free shampoo. Yes, the problem is it would surely contain another product that would act the same way sulfates do, and we're back where we started...

I don't want to go into much more detail as it would make this a very long and boring post. Key here are my thoughts on how I'm dealing with the lack of shampoo in my life during these last two weeks.

Overall I have to say I'm really already happy with the results I've observed after just one week. My hair isn't that oily anymore and strangely enough it feels more voluminous. I don't like the feeling when washing my hair with baking soda as it doesn't lather like shampoo does but I suppose I just need to get used to it. It really works, though, when dry the hair feels really clean, maybe a little more on the dry side but I think that's because I'm not using any siliconey cover to trick me into believing my hair is silky soft. I used to wash my hair every other day and now it's down to twice a week but I wash it more for styling reasons not because it gets oily or dirty.

I'm still using the baking soda and the lemon juice + conditioner mix.  I'm also putting a tiny bit of any hair oil I have lying around on the ends before I blow dry my hair. Yesterday I bought a big bottle of apple cider vinegar as a detangler so I will see how that works. I kept using the dry shampoo as I had a look at the ingredients and I didn't get the impression they were bad for the hair, it helps me get a bit of volume on those blah hair days.

The second instalment of the #BOBBlogChallenge this coming thursday is going to be all about hair heroes, so I'll be focusing on accesories rather than hair care products.

For the love of sharing,

6 February 2014

#BOBBlogChallenge: Skin Care Saviours

Dear diary,

For the first topic of the Best Of Beauty Challenge we have to write about our Skin Care Saviours.

I hate to be repeating myself over and over again but here goes my most loved skin care product: the Nivea in shower body lotion with almond oil for dry skin.

It really makes the world of difference. I started using this day and night but after a few weeks I noticed my skin was getting sticky from using it so often. I then went to apply it once a day and I also reduced the amount as you only need the tiniest bit. At first I thought you needed to apply a lot of product as you are going to rinse it off afterwards and that seemed like it wouldn't be hydrating enough but I was wrong. It really sinks into the skin and stays there after the final rinse.

What I really love about this product is the fact that it's so easy and quick to apply, you don't have to wait until it dries as you just jump out of the shower and pat dry your skin with your towel like you'd normally do. Makes getting dressed a lot easier this way: no sticky residue on your skin. You can hop out the door in no time at all. I'm really a bed person so I like to stay in for as long as possible. This lotion gives me a couple more minutes of Zzzzzzzzzzz.

What about you? Are you a morning person or, like me, you have a hard time getting out of bed?

Thanks to Samantha Johnson aka All the Buzz for setting up theses series of beauty related posts.

See y'all next thursday for the second post,

3 February 2014

Book review #2014 Blogger Challenge

Dear diary,

For the 3rd topic of the #2014BloggerChallenge we have to write a post about a book.

This year I've been drawn to dystopian fiction novels after reading The Hunger Games. I've just finished reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and started reading Eve by Anna Carey. I really wanted to read the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch as they were recommended by Tanya Burr but I haven't been able to find them in epub format just yet. I tried purchasing them from Waterstones but they only sell inside the UK. I suppose I'll end up paying more and getting them from iTunes.

But I'm not going to talk about them as I figured they'd be the most obvious choice.

This post is about the one book (this makes me think of the one ring that rules them all and in the darkness bind them, lol), yes THE ONE book that I haven't been able to read from cover to end:

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.
Umberto Eco Il nome della rosa
image taken from wikipedia
It's a murder mystery set in medieval times in an Italian monastery. Many of you may have seen the motion picture, me too. But the book is completely another story, you may think that it would be an easy read with the murder plot being unfold step by step, like an Agatha Christie or a Sherlock Holmes kind of story but I always get lost with the large and boring description of the monastery and I've never been able to pass the first 50 pages. And believe me, I've tried. After try number 5 I just gave up and got rid of the book, I didn't even wanted it on my bookshelf anymore. I just kept picturing the book making fun of me and smiling in a smug kind of way like he's come out of a fight victorious. Blah!

If you are curious about what kind of books I've read in 2013 you can access the full list here.

Good reading to y'all,

1 February 2014

January empties

Dear diary,

This month has really flown by and I have a bunch of empty packages to share with you.

My vitamin supplement for hair, skin and nails:
Hair, Skin & Nails supplement
I usually take this as a one-month treatment three times per year: right after summer when my hair is falling out like crazy, during the colder winter months and just before summer to prepare and strengthen my hair for the burning hot summer months.

Pomegranate energizing shower gel by Yves Rocher:
Yves Rocher Jardins du Monde Pommegranate shower gel
Has an amazing fresh scent perfect for making me feel more awake and charging my batteries for a long day at the office.

Anti-cellulite treatment stick by Thiomucase:
Thiomucase anti cellulite stick
I read somewhere that the use of anti-cellulite products is someway culture related. I don't remember any blogger/vlogger that I follow mentioning the use of these so I suppose it's true. European women seem to regularly use anti-cellulite creams whereas the rest of the world don't bother so much. Is it because they don't have cellulite problems or what? I sure do and this one has worked amazingly well. It came in one of the last glossyboxes I was subscribed to before they increased their price in 50%. I'll be repurchasing this in springtime for sure, for now I'm trying out a NIVEA one in gel form.

Double serum complete age control concentrate by Clarins:
Clarins Double Serum
The first and the last applications where more on the oilier side so I've only been using this at night just to be safe. The new formula was supposed to be less oily but even so I think it's still too much for my skin. Maybe I'll repurchase it next winter if I can't find anything better.

Yves Saint Laurent Teint éclat de soie radiance smoothing foundation with SPF 8 in number 4:
YSL Teint éclat de soie radiance smoothing foundation
I got this from a friend of mine and haven't liked it very much. It's the perfect shade for me in the winter but it made my skin feel oily after just a couple of hours. Anyway I have been using this in the winter and put a mattifying powder on top, I just hate wasting good products even when they don't work for me. Unless it breaks me out of course, but I still haven't found the product that does that.

 Not one but two mascaras:
The Rimmel Scandaleyes mascara that has only lasted me two months before becoming clumpy and dry. Before that it was just too wet for my taste, so no luck there. You can read a full review and mini giveaway here.

I got the Eylure Lash voluminous false lash blending mascara for free as part of a 29 pounds-worth kit for a purchase over 30 pounds in cosmetics I made at Look Fantastic. After 3 or 4 applications I just gave up. It didn't do any voluminizing at all and it smells really really bad.

My favourite eyebrow pencil by Integrate (Shiseido brand):
Integrate brow pencil in gray
I bought this on my trip to Tokyo and I adore it, it matches my brows 100%, it's a dark brown/grey tone, sorry but I can't read Japanese so I don't know what the packaging says. Luckily I found a web site where I can repurchase it, I already have two back-ups.

Lipium lip gel:
Lipium homeopathic lip gel
This homeopathic product I discovered when I worked at a Pharmacy a long time ago. It is a gel that completely dries after a few seconds and doesn't leave any sticky residue on your lips. I use this as a protective barrier when I'm using a drying lip product as I have severely dehydrated lips. It keeps your lips soft and prevents them from flaking as they'd normally do after using a dark toned lipstick.

Collistar anti-age hand treatment:
Collistar anti-age hand cream
It's a thick/dense white cream that feels very nourishing and absorbs very well into the skin not leaving behind any sticky or greasy feeling at all. As for its scent, nothing to comment, just a neutral cream smell, not bad, not amazing either.

For the love of sharing,