28 February 2015

February empties

Dear readers,

The shortest month of the year has quickly flown by and left me with some empty containers:

Astalift replenishing day cream and regenerating night cream in deluxe sample sizes of 15ml each. They were a free gift with an Astalift purchase I made at Look Fantastic but I'm afraid they aren't carrying this brand any longer. I waited to use them during the winter time as they have a thicker and heavier formula. I don't think I will repurchase them as I haven't noticed any spectacular results, I'd only gotten them because I wanted to try out the Jelly Aquarista.

The Body Shop Blueberry Body Butter. The BB is a staple in my skin care routine. I prefer to use it at night as it's too nourishing for day time. I love the Satsuma range for its scent and I didn't think I would like this one as much but I've been pleasantly surprised and noticed that I've enjoyed this berry scent during the autumn and winter.

Guerlain KissKiss essence de gloss in 462 I suppose, I'm not sure, it was a gift for a purchase I made in Douglas. I've been using this lovely berry shade loads this past autumn but I can't seem to get any more use out of it *sad face.

Kinetics Hand & Soul jasmine & white mush hand lotion, I got it at a beauty fair last year and I've been loving it. I actually got 3 for the price of 2 and I wanted to give this one to my mom but I loved it so much that I kept all 3 of them. It has lasted me for a very long time so I think I'm good for at least another year.

Mavala nail polish remover pads without acetone: worst thing ever, it takes ages to get nail polish off and I haven't noticed any improvement in my nails by skipping the acetone, so no repurchase here.

Another bottle of my beloved Batiste dry shampoo, this time in sass & daring wild. My favourite is still the cherry scented one but I've liked this scent that I would describe as musky, don't ask me why because I'm terrible at describing scents.

So White shower gel by Lush, this came in a Christmas box I ordered in the sales. It's only sold during the winter holidays so I'll have to wait till December to get a new one, not that I would, I actually prefer any The Body Shop shower gel to the Lush ones I've tried so far. Sorry about the peeled off label: #keepingitreal you guys.

The Sampar vivid radiance serum that I got in my September beauty haul at Sephora. It's very watery and lightweight so I don't think I will be repurchasing this, even if it's sold for 20€ like this one was. I personally prefer more richer formulas like the Estee Lauder Advance night repair serum, even though I have oily skin. 

Lastly the Urban Decay Big Fatty mascara, this was a sample size I got with a Look Fantastic purchase ages ago but I'd forgotten I carried it in my purse and it must have totally dried out. No sad face here because I absolutely hated it, it's waaaaay too clumpy and difficult to work with for my taste.

Can you recommend a nice volumising and lengthening mascara that doesn't clump up your lashes? I'm still on the hunt for the perfect mascara... Thanks!

24 February 2015

Weirdest shower gel ever: Lush Snowman

Dear readers,

I had no idea how the heck this was supposed to be used when I first opened it up. I thought it was similar to the Fun bar but when I tried taking a chunk of product it wouldn't come off.

I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with it and tried rubbing it on my skin but it kept slipping and falling into the bath tub. 

After a few uses I noticed that even though it's an uncommon thick jelly texture it actually foams up really well.

The way I like using it now is by rubbing it into my shower puff until it foams up and then wash my body with it, the same as with any other shower gel.

I've noticed that my skin feels very soft and hydrated, much more than with any other shower gel I've tried before, even those from Lush itself. I also like the scent more than the So White or Rose Jam shower gels.

Sorry I haven't featured a picture of the Snowman itself but I forgot to take one before I started using it and now he's somewhat disfigured, lol.

I'm afraid this item is only sold during the winter holidays, it came in one of the boxes I ordered in my January sales haul. I'll make sure to stock up this Christmas.

What's the weirdest product you've come accross?

23 February 2015


Dear readers,

Most people's New Year's resolutions include exercising more or anything at all. I wanted to share with y'all something I mentioned in my previous haul post about what I've been enjoying doing on Saturday mornings since October last year: Aerostreching.

The first time I heard someone mentioning this discipline was by Jen Chae from From Head To Toe

I didn't even bother to look it up as I knew I wasn't going to find anything remotely similar in my area. I live in a small town and the nearest big city is just too far away.

One day, browsing through my Facebook feed I stumbled upon an add for a free class so I immediately jumped into action and reserved a spot for the following week.

Another surprise came when I found out that the classes were actually given by a friend of mine.

I've definitely noticed an improvement in strength and elasticity since I started out even though I only go once a week.

It totally helps me get rid of all the week's stress and tension that I tend to accumulate around my neck and shoulder area. It helps me have a better posture and my muscles feel much more relaxed and supple.

We usually end the class with the Chrysalis or Cocoon where we just lie and relax within the hammock (I'm the one on the left).  Some days we get an additional hot stone- or aroma-therapy. I always feel like I'm floating for the rest of the day.

What are your special treatments to help you disconnect from your daily routine?

20 February 2015

Fashion & Home Decor haul: H&M, Primark, Bershka & Asos

Dear readers,

I almost forgot to share this haul with y'all. I haven't purchased many clothing items as of late and I was in the mood to go sale hunting. Unfortunately, there wasn't much to be excited about...

I'll start off with an item I'd never spend money on: sportswear. I don't particularly enjoy doing exercise, I love going on long walks but that's it. I used to take ballet lessons as a child but I quit when my boobs wouldn't start growing and I thought the ballet was to blame. Many years later I'm still waiting for them to magically grow a pair.

I've always used whatever old clothing I had lying around in my closet when it came to doing exercise but I've recently discovered something I really love: aerostretching - more on this in a later post. After going non stop for the last 4 months I allowed myself to spend some money on a nice pair of leggings.

I was watching a haul on YouTube where Fleur de Force showed these H&M leggings that she'd got for only 20€ so I went online and ordered them alongside a few other items:

A basic cotton grey tee for 8€.

And then, I found out there was an H&M Home department. What?

I thought some golden pieces for my newly renovated home would add colour to the stark white background so I got the leave hooks above and the star knobs below for 5€ per pair.

I'd been wanting to get some new cushion covers and these seemed like they were going to fit very nicely. I paid 15€ for the left one and only 5€ for the one on the right.

Candles are a recent obsession of mine so I had to get one to try out. I chose the sandalwood one more for its colour than for the scent. I've been drawn towards golden tones lately.

With the hubby I went to Primark in the hope there were some awesome items for me to spend my money on. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

I'm Batman, shhhh. I love this episode of The Big Bang Theory were Sheldon Cooper tells Leonard his secret. This T-shirt isn't particularly Primark priced as it cost me 10€ but I love it and I've already worn it 3 or 4 times.

I needed some new PJ pants and these are made of the softest material you can think of. They were 7€ if I'm not mistaken.

At Bershka I found the kind of coat I was looking for: cozy, oversized and with some sort of check pattern. I'd been lusting over a Top Shop coat all winter but I couldn't find it when I went to London in December or on their website. Well, it worked out in the end as this coat was only 25€ whereas the Top Shop one was a whopping 195£. Girl, das espensif  *quoting Kathleen Lights.

And lastly, another item I'd seen Fleur de Force talk about in a haul. It's an oversized square check scarf by ASOS. I was hoping for this to be on sale after the winter holidays, instead I almost got an heart attack when I found out it was out of stock. Still in the hope to get this reduced I waited for weeks until I run out of patience and paid the 24,32€ in full. I've been living inside this blanket-scarf every day since.

What's your favourite cozy clothing item?

18 February 2015

Cleansing oil vs cleansing balm

Dear readers,

Even though my skin's pretty oily I wanted to try out the Camomile silky cleansing oil by The Body Shop as Amelia Liana doesn't stop mentioning it as the best affordable cleansing product she's ever tried. It does a pretty good job at gently removing make up but not enough to skip using an eye makeup remover altogether. When you wash it away with water it slightly foams up and dissolves which is why I like it better than the Ultrabland facial cleanser by LUSH.
I got the latter on my trip to London last December as I'd read it was a must-have product and, being a huge Lush lover, I knew I had to try it out. It feels very comfortable on the skin and it smells lovely, just like any other Lush product. I found out it's better removed with a damp cloth as it leaves an oily layer that water alone doesn't take away. I suppose people with normal to dry skin would enjoy it a lot better. And I had the same issue with the eye make up, it doesn't entirely remove stubborn mascara without having to rub too intensely which I really don't want to as I have very sparse lashes as it is.

As prices go the oil retails for 10£ for a 200ml bottle with a pump and the balm is sold at 7.25£ for a 45g pot.

Definitely two great products for different skin types or preferences and reasonably priced, in my opinion. They haven't messed up my oily skin so I'd recommend any of them, it just depends on how you like to remove your make up. I particularly need to wash it off with water, otherwise I get the feeling that I haven't cleansed my face at all.

What about you? What kind of cleanser do you like using?

16 February 2015

Valentine gifts

Dear readers,

I apologize up front if you're suffering from an overload of Valentine related posts but the hubby surprised me this year and came home bearing some thoughtful and useful gifts.

First a small notebook featuring the Ferris Wheel on the cover. It's small enough to carry in my purse and make notations on blog post ideas and such. I find this way is more practical than keeping notes on my phone.

A compact card holder. I love the Flamingo print, it makes me think of summery days.

A leopard print phone case. It's my favourite kind of print and the hubby knows this. The bright yellow and orange combination makes it easier to find my phone in my purse.

And this is what I got him: a flowery cleaning cloth (hint, hint) and some delicious home-made chewy chocolate chip cookies.

How was your Valentine's day? I spent it with my mum because she's the love of my life. Boyfriends and hubbies come and go but your mum is always going to be there for you, loving you no matter what. Cheesy? Maybe, but also very true.

13 February 2015

Skincare haul: Dior, Origins & Laura Mercier

Dear readers,

I know I just talked about my spending ban in my previous post but I'd placed this order last month, so it doesn't count, does it? This purchase is also the reason why I wanted to keep myself from buying  beauty products for a while. I was only supposed to get an eye cream as I'm running low... but this happened... #feelingspendy.

Looking for a good anti-wrinkle eye cream I stumbled upon some blogger talking wonders about the Origins Plantscription anti-aging eye cream. I browsed the net to look for the cheapest option and just when I was going to place my order I remembered I hadn't shopped at Strawberrynet for a very long time. This used to be my favourite online store but other stores came up with very competitive prices so I totally forgot it existed.

The retail price was 59,50€ but I always get a 10% loyalty discount so I thought it was a pretty good price. I know many of you will think this is a very expensive eye cream but I'm not in my 20's or even my 30's anymore so I need all the help I can get.

On top, they were giving an additional 10% off their Valentine's skin care sets so I had to take a peek. This gorgeous Dior beauty bag (61,50€) caught my eye and I knew I HAD to have it, mostly to give it a good home. 

It comes out more white in the picture but it's a gorgeous silvery grey shade. It's very soft to the touch, the fabric feels very fancy, almost leathery. It has a silver zipper on top and it's the perfect size, not too big and not too small either.

Inside the pouch, besides a mountain of white tissue paper, I found the following mini size items, from left to right: a 10ml Capture Totale Radiance Restoring Serum Foundation in 020, 15ml Capture Totale Multi Perfection creme, 5ml One Essential Skin Boosting Super Serum and 7ml Capture Totale Concentrated Serum.

Finally, I decided to look for a 3rd item to be able to benefit from an additional 5% discount on my entire purchase. You always get a 5% discount when you purchase 3 products so I like to look for cheaper items or hugely discounted ones, like this Laura Mercier Moisture Eye Cream at 23,50€.

Besides the 10% loyalty discount (14,45€), the 5% discount for purchasing 3 items (7,23€) and the 10% discount on the skincare set (6,15€) I could choose any shade from the CK Delicious Luxury cream lipstick completely free of charge, yay !

With a previous purchase a long time ago I was given the shade 31119 Rose Berry which has become my favourite MLBB (my lips but better). The texture is very creamy and comfortable, not especially long lasting but the formula is not too drying on my lips and that's a winner point for me.

I was tempted to go for a similar shade but I went outside my comfort zone and selected the shade 31117 Heat Wave. It's kind of a Marsala shade so I'm going to look very fashionable this year. 

What has been your perfect beauty buy recently? 

11 February 2015

Long-term spending ban

Dear readers,

After running out of space for all my beauty products I've willingly decided to put myself on a strict spending ban. A second goal I wish to achieve is to save some vacation money and finally be able to go to the Canary islands as I've never been there before... I know, shame on me!

image taken from someecards

Last year I tried following this challenge for a month but I simply ended up spending twice as much the following month.

This time I'm going for a longer run, hopefully 6 months will be enough to cure me from having too many spending sprees in the future. Let's see how that works out...

The only purchase I'll allow myself will be to refill any true empties, that is, no more backups left either. Believe me when I tell you that this is almost a new installment of Mission Impossible, lol.

One thing I'm doing already is deleting all mailing offers aka temptation. I can't bring myself to cancel all my mailing subscriptions as I love all the online stores I'm subscribed to but I don't allow myself to open up any of those alluring emails.

Physical stores I don't have much to worry about as I almost never shop there, 90% of my purchases are done online so that's one problem less.

What about you? Do you like challenging yourself to see what you're capable of?

9 February 2015

My new blender: Breville Blend-Active

Dear readers,

I've been enjoying smoothies ever since I got my new blender. I started out having them on the weekends but lately I've been able to drag myself out of bed a few minutes earlier and prepare me a breakfast smoothie to take to work.

Being a beauty blogger I'm a bit of a copycat and I like to follow most of the trends my fellow bloggers and my favourite YouTubers  are obsessed about.

Many of them have been sharing their smoothie recipes as part of the ritual of starting off the new year with a clean slate and try to lead a healthier lifestyle.
I wasn't going to splash out on a fancy blender like the NutriBullet but I wanted something similar, you know: compact, easy to use and to clean and that wouldn't take up half my kitchen counter.

So I had a browse on Amazon and came upon a cheaper alternative: the Breville Blend-Active.

I immediately liked its consumer-friendly design as it seemed very convenient to be using the same container to blend and to drink from.

The one that only came with two large (600ml) blending bottles was a bit cheaper but I chose this set that also included two smaller ones (300ml). I ordered it for 37.87£ including postage & packing and, just a few days later it was safely delivered.

These are the ingredients I like mixing together for my daily breakfast smoothie:

- 1/2 cup of oats
- 1 tbsp of flax seed
- 2 dates (for sweetness) or some agave syrup
- frozen banana
- frozen berries (any kind that I can get my hands on)
- almond milk 

Sometimes I like to add or switch ingredients with:
- green kiwi (only when I can find the really green ones)
- 1/2 Kanzi apple (I love these as the skin's not so hard)
- orange juice instead of almond milk

What's your favourite healthy food/drink?

6 February 2015

LUSH T'eo solid deodorant

Dear readers,

This is going to be a quick post to share with y'all my new favourite deodorant: T'eo by LUSH.

Until now I've been very loyal to my trusted NIVEA deodorant but after all the talk about how bad aluminum is for your health I was in the market for an alternative that would work just as well.

As I love, love, love LUSH products I stumbled upon this solid deodorant when browsing through their website and, as soon as I had the chance, I went to the store and got it along some other items. You can read about that particular Lush haul here.

It's been an entire month since I started using it and I have to say that so far,  I'm loving it.

It doesn't leave any particular smell to the skin, although it has a distinct zesty scent to it when you smell the bar itself. It doesn't stick to your clothes as it is a dry formula and you don't have to worry about the white powder transferring to your dark clothes either, it just blends into the skin.

As for endurance I have to say that I'm not particularly a sweaty person and even after a good hour of exercise I haven't noticed any smelly odor coming from my armpits.

It retails for 4.95£ which I find reasonably priced for a deodorant that seems to be going to last me for at least 5 more months.

What's your favourite deodorant?

4 February 2015

Valentine's day inspiration

Dear readers,

I'm not exactly a fan of Valentine's day, I have to admit, but the one thing I actually
like about it is the excuse to dress up like a princess.

Red is definitely not my colour, I don't think I have any red outerwear in my closet
but this dress has the most perfect red & nude ratio that I'd love to wear it on a
special occasion.

What are your plans for this day? I'm actually going skiing with the hubby and
some friends.

Valentine's day

Burberry gold nail color
€19 - burberry.com

Michael Kors watch
€260 - michaelkors.com

Eva Fehren diamond criss cross ring
€4.085 - barneys.com

Kate Spade stud earring set
€42 - couture.zappos.com

Pearl purse
€40 - charmingcharlie.com

Forever Unique red mini dress
€105 - vanmildert.com

Clarins gold eye makeup
€43 - johnlewis.com

Yves saint laurent foundation
€50 - net-a-porter.com

Tom Ford lipstick
€28 - neimanmarcus.com

Gianvito Rossi patent shoes
€585 - net-a-porter.com