28 April 2014

April empties

Dear diary,

It seems like this month I've run out of a lot of products so I'll just start.

Celebrate body lotion (more of a body butter consistency) by Lush. It came in my Wow! box that I bought after Christmas with a 50% discount. Very nourishing but hard to work into the skin so I used it at night rather than spend an hour rubbing it in in the morning and risk running late for work. As all Lush products the scent lingers for a long time, this had a nice and fresh citrus scent.

I'm still to try the Bioderma micelar water but I heard a lot of people saying that the L'Óreal version was a perfect drugstore dupe so I gave it a go. The only downside to this is the packaging, when you pour the product out you have no way to measure the amount so you normally end up using a lot more than you need. As for the product itself it got all my make up off very gently, not my waterproof mascara, though but I tend to use a different make up remover for my eyes anyway.

Face mist by Aritaum, I got this from my trip to Tokyo, we were leaving and we still had some vouchers to use at the Lawson convenience store we had below our hotel. I picked up the first thing that caught my eye. Funny thing is it isn't even a Japanese brand, I think it's Korean but I loved it so much that I asked a friend of mine who was going to Japan to bring me a bottle and now I'm out of it and I haven't been able to find it online, boo hoo hoo.

It's a very fine mist with a faint smell of roses, I started using it as a primer as I saw a clear difference in the size of my pores when I weren't using it and I ended up using it as a toner as I don't normally use one and I wanted to so I thought this would be a good start.

Olay face wash, I got this by rummaging through my mom's bathroom and I decided she didn't need 5 tubes of this. Not my favourite face wash but it smelled very fresh and nice. I hate wasting products so I just kept using it a lot, it seemed to last forever.

Clarins extra-firming, tightening lift, botanical serum. This came in a gift pack with a night cream and a cleanser if I recall correctly. It's a deluxe sample size, it contains 10ml/0.35 Oz, so a decent amount in my opinion. I'm not so sure about the tightening effect, it just seemed very sticky when you worked it into the skin. I like serums to be a bit more watery and easily absorbed so you can layer your moisturizer, spf and foundation on top but if it leaves your skin feeling tacky it just annoys me and I end up using it only at nighttime.

Tarte maracuja C-brighter eye treatment. This was a pleasant surprise, it came in a Christmas gift pack and has been my first contact with this brand. It's only a small sample size with 2.5g/0.08 Oz product in it but the packaging is just beautiful and luxurious, it's a glass pot and the plastic lid has a sort of rubbery layer that imitates wood.

As for the product itself I have to say I'm equally happy with it, at first it seems to be a thick cream but when you apply it to the skin it transforms into a sort of mousse-like texture that glides over the skin and it's like it expands and covers a larger area than you thought it would with just the tiniest amount.

Wash gel with Grapefruit scent by Yves Rocher. I love me some citrus scents especially in the morning when I'm half asleep when I jump in the shower.

Worst product ever: Sephora micelar water. OMG how this stings and burns. I got this a while back when I first ever heard about micelar water and I thought this small bottle was great to give it a try. I'm so lucky my skin has never broken out or given me a hard time with acne or any other skin problems so I made myself use this thing up but I tell you, never ever again.

SPF50 Caudalie anti-ageing sunscreen. Good enough if you're going to the beach but don't try to use it as a daily sunscreen under your foundation, it's too thick and greasy.

SPF50 St Tropez with tan enhancer. Another fail product, it flakes and I didn't see any tan enhancing properties at all. It was just ok to use at the beach though so that's what I've done for the past two weeks.

I've been looking for the perfect sunscreen to use under my foundation for a couple of years now and I think I've finally found it. I'll tell you all about it in another post.

If you're wondering why my tubes are cut open you can find out all about it here.

I'm introducing a new category to my monthly empties: candles. I've recently become obsessed with them and I've already purchased quite a lot of Yankee candles. This month's favourite goes to the Baby powder scent.

For the love of sharing,

24 April 2014

NOTD and giveaway winners!

Dear diary,

I've decided to have 3 winners for my giveaway as I only got 3 participants and I didn't like to leave one out:
As I'm nearing the 300 followers on Bloglovin I thought why not have one more winner?

Congratulations to the winners and I hope you enjoy Tanya Burr Lip and Nails!

Please contact me by email to claim your prize, I will send it to you through Feel Unique.

And to add to this boring post I'm featuring my NOTD: L´Óreal color riche in Banana Pop.

I never thought I'd wear a bright yellow nail polish but I've been getting more into painting my nails recently and I'm trying to get better at it by watching tutorials. I purchased this shade for nail art purposes but then I thought I'd give it a try and paint all my nails with this and I have to say I'm enjoying it very much, it makes me smile every time I see them.

For Easter I wanted to do something special with my nails and try to do some nail art but I've been very lazy reading and watching TV so I thought that this yellow shade was appropriate enough.

For the love of happy nails,

21 April 2014

Bloggers do bargains better

Dear diary,

For the 2nd topic of the #Bloggersdoitbetter series I've decided to show you some random deals I've been lucky enough to get my hands on:

The Tarte of Giving collector's set and travel bag: 49$.

This was the most difficult to get hold on as it was sold at Sephora US and they don't ship to Spain, so a friend of the hubby was kind enough to get it for me last December when she went on a trip to the big apple. It's my first contact with this brand and I have to say I'm very pleased.

It includes:

  • 20 full size Amazonian clay eyeshadow palette
  • 8 maracuja mini lip glosses
  • deluxe pure maracuja oil
  • deluxe maracuja C-brighter eye treatment
  • deluxe Amazonian 12-hour clay blush
  • deluxe size cheek stain
  • deluxe lights, camera, lashes 4-in-1 mascara
  • travel makeup bag

The Wow! box by LUSH sold at a 50% discount after Christmas: 99,98€.

It includes over 30 items, nearly all of them are seasons (X-Mas) specials: bath ballistics, bath melts, soaps, scrubs, bubble bars, shower gels, body lotions, a lip scrub and a lip tint. FYI my house smells like a Lush store since this came in...

A Uriage care package I got as a present for a yearly subscription to ELLE magazine: 25,20€.

It includes (all full-size products):

  • pack of 25 thermal/micellar water face wipes
  • spf50 face cream
  • thermal water spray
  • aftersun spray
  • duo stick concealer/spot treatment
  • body exfoliant

This is my most recent bargain purchase although I only found out months after I started this collection of L'Óreal color riche nail polishes at 3€ when they normally retail for around 5,50€.

I love that the round-topped brush is wide enough to swipe almost your whole nail in one go, they go opaque in two coats and they won't chip for a long time (for me that is more than 7 days you guys).

My first Louboutins! Best bargain ever: 50€.

image taken from lookfantastic.com

The Macadamia natural oil luxe travel kit valued at 50 pounds: as a gift for a purchase over 40 pounds at LookFantastic.com.

I could go on and on and on as I'm addicted to bargains (aren't we all?) but I'll end your suffering right here and now.

Please have a look at what my fellow bloggers have to say about this same topic right here. You'll find the links to all of them at the bottom of Gemma's post.

For the love of blogging,

18 April 2014


Dear diary,

I've waited one more day to post this entry as I was going to visit a vineyard today and I thought it would be the perfect day to dress up and show you my spring outfit of the day.
I picked out this dress I bought from ZARA two years ago for about 30€ if I recall correctly. My red coral shoes are from a friend of mine whose family owns a shoe factory that makes designer shoes for  YSL amongst many others. These are their own brand shoes ECORAL. My handbag is by LOEWE, sunglasses (prescription) by Miu Miu, watch by Massimo Dutti (birthday present), rings (vintage), bracelet (Forever 21), white rose stud earrings bought at Westfield London (I don't recall the exact store, sorry) and a lace cardigan.
This is on our way to the vineyard. In the back you can see a shy Hello Kitty that didn't like to be photographed.
It was a lovely sunny day and lots of people showed up for the wine tasting (it was only 5€ for 12 wines) so I had to find a quiet spot to have some pictures taken.
The hubby is not a certified photographer so excuse the bad lighting and such, we're not professionals yet...
We had a lot of fun after the first 10 wines or so.

Happy Easter to y'all!

Please stop by Gaby's post to follow the links to all my fellow blogger's different views on this topic.

14 April 2014

3-month no-poo challenge (ended)

Dear diary,

Here are my final thoughts about my not using shampoo for 12 weeks. Yikes, I hear you say? Not at all. I still wash my hair regularly only I don't use any of the regular shampoos that are out there that claim to be paraben- and sulfate-free, I go a step further.

In my first post I wrote about the motivation behind this challenge and in my second post I gave my personal opinion about reducing the use of parabens and sulfates.

My hair:
  • feels less frizzy
  • has more volume
  • has more grip so it's easier to style
  • feels healthier (I suppose, there is no way of measuring this)
  • I wash it less often (twice a week instead of 3 to 4)
  • needs dyeing less often (or at least that's what I felt)
  • has less fallout

For washing my hair I'm using a mix of luke warm water and baking soda in a squirt bottle and massage it only to my roots (on dry hair), I leave it in for a minute and then rinse it off. I still use a conditioner or a hair mask from mid lengths to ends to infuse my hair of some oil as the bicarb has taken it all away, I leave it for another minute before rinsing and finally I spray some apple cider vinegar which I rinse off with the coldest water I can manage. I pat-dry my hair with a microfiber towel as wringing can lead to breakage and then I apply a protecting/healing oil (Macadamia, at the moment) on my ends.

To space out my washes I'm using my beloved Batiste dry shampoo as too much use of bicarb and vinegar isn't that good for your hair either.

I've reached a sort of compromise: I'm going to continue with my bicarb + vinegar routine and I'll switch over to the use of shampoo once in a while, maybe twice a month.

If any of you know a healthier hair care routine please let me know, I assure you I won't be nice to look at once I've gone totally bald.

For the love of sharing,

10 April 2014

February + March empties

Dear diary,

With so many blog challenges that I was following I'm a bit behind on my empties series, so here I go and show you two months worth of products that I've used up.

This Caudalie grape water mist I had for the longest time. A friend gifted me this and I didn't really had a use for it until I got convinced into using a toner. I have a very oily skin and the toners I had tried in the past left my skin feeling sticky. This spray is very refreshing, has a hint of a grape seed scent to it and doesn't interfere with my oily skin. I love the convenience of spraying it on your face, so quick and easy.

I asked the same friend to get me a Caudalie hand cream but they were out of it and instead she got me the body butter which she claimed was the same thing. It smells the same, it has a nice and subtle fruity scent, but that's about it. It's more sticky than the hand cream and doesn't absorb very well. I haven't tried it as a body moisturizer, though.

Who doesn't have at least 3 or 4 backup bottles of the Batiste dry shampoo? I have 6. I can't believe what a life changer this has been for me. I used to wash my hair every other day, now I only have to wash it twice a week and only because it gets really flat on top.

By Sunday I will have completed my 3-month no-poo challenge, you can read more about it here.

A serum by L'Óreal: the Age Perfect Cell Renew. It has an overpowering fragrance and I'm not particularly against scented creams and such but this one was a bit over the top. I had loved the Youth Code serum so I thought this one might be even better, but no. Not going to repurchase this.

My Clinique rinse-off foaming cleanser. I got this by mistake, a friend needed it so I went and bought it for her at a discount and when I told her she had already gotten one herself. So I ended up using it myself and I have to say it has lasted me a very long time. You only need the smallest amount and it foams up like you wouldn't believe. I used this in the shower after having removed all my make up first.

I have a post on my morning and nighttime skincare routine in case you want to give it a read.

And you can find out why this tube is cut open here.

I like taking some extra vitamins or supplements at intervals. Cod liver oil is supposed to be good for your hair, nails and teeth (among other things). Luckily they come in gelatin capsules because it tastes and smells disgusting.

Babaria nail polish remover. Just the cheapest brand at the drugstore, nothing to comment here. I don't like it that much as you really need to keep rubbing until all the nail polish has come off, but as I said, it's cheap.

Uriage Micellar Solution face wipes. I don't use face wipes very often but I got these as a present with my ELLE magazine subscription. I really loved these, apart from getting all the stubborn make up off, they felt refreshing, nourishing and they smelled amazing. They contain thermal spring water, plant extracts, shea butter and is paraben-free. Now I want to give the Ole Henriksen wipes a try.

For the sake of researching for the #BOBBlogChallenge-Pamper products post I tried these two face masks:

  • Lancôme Blanc Expert Ultimate Whitening Bio Cellulose mask. Radiance, anti-dullness, luminosity. Even days after having used this I got complimented on how well my skin looked liked. 
  • Shu Uemura deepsea moisture replenishing mask.    

And to finish this off: Estée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme global anti aging cream. What to say about this product? It is a rich formula so I have used it mainly during the winter although I purchased it just before summer last year. I also preferred to use it as a night cream to fully benefit from it's anti aging ingredients as they say skin regenerates at night. The golden packaging is gorgeous and luxurious. I prefer a pot container where you can get up to the last drop of product even though it's less hygienic.

So that's it for now. I have some more empties waiting in my basket but I'll leave them for my April post.

For the love of trying out new products,

7 April 2014

Bloggers do spring better

Dear diary,

I couldn't come up with anything special for our first topic given by the lovely Gemma aka Touch of Belle as part of the #Bloggersdoitbetter challenge so I'll just give you a long boring list of things I usually do when Spring comes:

  • I switch over to lighter formulas in skincare and I go for a lighter application of foundation.

  • I exfoliate my skin more often to get rid of any dry patches the winter cold may have left behind and also to prepare my skin for an even tan (fake or real).

  • I'm not a big fake tan user but it is a good way to get a hint of colour before you have the time to go to the beach and acquire a real tan.

  • In case you're like me and don't like using fake tan you can always use a matte bronzer and contour your face or dust it all over for a glowy finish, but don't overdo it or you'll look funny!

  • I use a higher spf (50+) under my foundation. I like using a translucent loose powder I got from my trip to Tokyo that has spf 50 PA++++ for touch-ups. Reapplying sunscreen proves a tad difficult when you're wearing full-on make up so a powder spf is just the greatest invention ever.

  • I also like taking carrot juice and eat more tomatoes to get my skin prepared for sun exposure. I prefer this over taking targeted vitamin supplements as they are quite expensive.

  • As I have oily skin I skip moisturizing masks and use clay/purifying masks instead.

  • I get rid of any split ends and start off the season with healthy shiny hair and, of course I use a spf in spray or leave-in conditioner on my hair as well.

  • Hats are both cute and protect your hair and face from the damaging UV rays.

  • I get my last IPL hair removal session to get rid of all unwanted body hair before the summer and be bikini ready.

  • I paint my nails in happy colours. I prefer pastels, corals and bright colours.

  • I switch over to more floral scents, I've recently become obsessed with the Satsuma range from The Body Shop. Thanks to Allison from Amarixe for having this among her monthly favourites for as long as I'm watching her youtube vids.

  • My wardrobe also gets colourful and I slowly start wearing more dresses, skirts and shorts.

  • I'd like to say that I exercise more with good weather but that would just be a big fat lie.

Hopefully I will be in a better blogger mood for the next topic on 21st April. Come back for a second instalment and check out my fellow blogger's posts that are all linked here.

And what a better start of spring than to win a fab Tanya Burr's lips and nails? Enter my giveaway here.

For the love of sunny days,

3 April 2014

Jerusalem in photos

Dear diary,

Topic 8 of the #2014BloggerChallenge came in with the most perfect timing: I was just going on vacation to Jerusalem, Israel so here you have my week in photos:

Mahane Yehuda Market:

The Western Wall:

Blending in:

On our way to the Al-Aqsa Mosque:

Dome of the rock:

View of the old city taken from the Mount of Olives:

Church of Mary Magdalene:

Church of Gethsemane:

Tel Aviv 

Beach view taken from old Jafo:

Perfect spot for surfers:

Chilling out with a Latte Macchiato at Banana Beach after having a wonderful late lunch:

Perfect selfie regardless of the shadow cast by my arm. As you can see we don't like taking pictures of ourselves as we both think we are too ugly for words, lol. Not kidding, I hate having pictures taken that's why I only take boring postcard-type photos.

The most perfect ending to a lovely holiday:

Thanks to the guy who lend me his iPhone to call the bicycle rental when we stupidly locked the bike without having the combination to unlock it. He didn't even want us to give him any shekels.

I'm not a religious person but I enjoyed my trip very much because of the history this place has kept inside it's walls for so many centuries.

Everyone was so friendly and helpful it really filled my heart with hope for a better future without any hatred or fighting.

For the love of traveling,