31 August 2015

August empties

Dear readers,

I was really looking forward to writing this post as it would mean that I'd used up some products that I haven't enjoyed in the least, to say it mildly. So let's start with the unlikes:
August empties
Emina Moisturizing fluid and Antiwrinkle fluid with Polyfenols.

I don't want to talk too much about these as I want to forget I ever had them. The texture was quite ok but I just couldn't stand the smell. Their scent was slightly off, it reminded me of old powdered ladies. I got them as a freebie with a monthly subscription to Elle Magazine. I've always enjoyed trying out new brands but sadly these haven't been a success. 
Emina moisturizing and anti wrinkle fluid with polyfenols
Beauty Blender.

I have been using it on and off for half a year or slightly longer, I reckon, so it was time to part with it. Luckily I already have a replacement that I got with a Birchbox purchase that I made only because there was a chance I'd get one in my box, and I did, yay! FYI, I like this one over the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge.
Beauty Blender
 Le Petit Marsellais Orange Blossom shower gel.

I stumbled upon this shower gel by chance. I was out of my affordable shower gel to use as a hand wash and this one was on offer. I enjoyed the scent so much that I ended up using it as a shower gel. It's not as citrusy and refreshing as the Satsuma shower gel by The Body Shop that I like to use in the morning to wake me up. It's slightly more floral and relaxing so it's perfect to use at nighttime.
Le Petit Marsellais Orange Blossom shower gel
Satsuma Body Sorbet by The Body Shop.

And speaking of citrusy scents, Satsuma is my fave. The texture is a bit weird, it has some kind of granulate that melts when you're rubbing it in and it releases a powerful scent, but don't worry it fades pretty quickly and doesn't linger on the skin. I'm currently using the same in Pink Grapefruit just to change scents.
Satsuma Body Sorbet by The Body Shop
Ole Henriksen Truth to go wipes.

The are now called The Clean Truth but I hope they haven't changed the formulation. I've never in my life used cleansing wipes on a regular basis as I never felt they were good for the skin but these I love. I've been using them a lot this summer as we've been having heat wave after heat wave. With colder climate I prefer using cleansing oils or balms but during the warmer months I just want a fresher alternative and these wipes have been a god send. They remove all make up but don't feel stripping or harsh to the skin and they leave a moisturizing layer behind.
Ole Henriksen Truth to go wipes
And to end this post I'm leaving you with some not-quite empties:
August not empties
From left to right:

  • Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm in 04: hated the texture but worst of all was the taste. For some reason it would melt into my mouth and I'd end up having this bad taste in my mouth for the remainder of the day. Now I know why my friend Isabel gave it to me.
  • Deborah Milano Unlimited Colour nail polishes in deep blue and classic red: they've become too gloopy to work with.
  • ALLIE UV BB Liquid with SPF 50+ by Kanebo: aside from not matching my skin tone this one reeked of alcohol, it also looked very cakey and obvious.
  • Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer Potion: a great eye primer for those of us with extremely oily eyelids. The cap broke off but fear not, I used my depotting skills that I shared with y'all in this post.

Enjoy the end of summer and please, share your August favorites in the comments section.

29 August 2015

The most delicious paella

Dear readers,

It's been a long time since I shared a food related post with y'all. Food is so important for various reasons. Of course you need fuel to stay active and have strength to tackle all your tasks on a busy day but it also brings joy when you savour a deliciously prepared dish, especially if it's something that you don't eat on a daily basis.

On my birthday I wanted to invite the in-laws to a special and delicious lunch. The parents of one of my dearest friends owns a restaurant called La Portuguesa where I've never been to even though they've been known for their excellent fish dishes for over 40 years!
Salads are the most common starter for a Spanish lunch or dinner meal. My favourite vegetable, although it's technically a fruit, are tomatoes. I could eat tomato salad every day, all year round. Tuna adds a nice flavour and has a more filling effect when put into a simple green salad.  
Paella is a well known Spanish dish that originated in the Valencia region. The original one is made with duck, chicken, rabbit and snails. There are a few more common paellas, such as the paella mixta (mix of fish and meat), fideua (instead of rice it's made with pasta) and arroz a banda (usually only rice that has been cooked in fish broth). Less known outside of Spain are the arroz caldoso (soupy rice), like the one I'm showing you today.
Arroz caldoso con bogavante or stewed lobster rice is a delicious dish that I've only eaten maybe 3 or 4 times in my life. Technically, it's not a paella but then, there isn't such thing as a paella dish although that's what we all call them. The paella is actually the pan in which the rice and other ingredients are prepared in. They are round, shallow and have two handles on opposite sides.
As the original "paella" comes from Valencia, here in the Alicante region we just call them "rice" and the variety is endless. Arroz al horno (made in the oven) is one of my favourite recipes to prepare on a lazy Sunday. Maybe I'll share my recipe on a post next time I prepare it.
As for dessert we just couldn't decide so we settled for a bit of everything (from left to right):
  • Leche condensada con nata y galleta rallada -  condensed milk & cream pudding sprinkled with cookies
  • Flan al baño María - creamy custard
  • Claras de huevo batidas con chocolate - whipped & baked egg whites with chocolate cream
Bon appétit! 
Have you ever eaten paella? Please comment below.

26 August 2015

3 simple steps to depotting a beauty product

Dear readers,

Oh no! The cap broke off and this is my favourite eye primer. There's a ton of product left in the tube, what shall I do now? Has this ever happened to you? Just follow these simple steps to depot what's left over and prevent your beauty product from drying up and becoming useless.

Urban Decay Anti Aging Primer Potion

Step 1.

You'll need a pair of scissors, an empty container that will house your left over product and a clean spatula or any other tool that can serve the same purpose.


Step 2.

Cut the tube in half and scoop up the content with your "spatula" into the empty pot (or whatever container you've chosen). 


Step 3.

Close the container and voilà, so good as new. 

New container

Hope this was helpful,

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Only a few hours left before I announce the winner.

24 August 2015

The life changing magic of using up your samples before they go bad

Dear readers,

I've never given much thought to the expiration date of cosmetic samples. Of course you wouldn't keep them for years and years but do we actually know their shelf life? No, there's no best before date printed on them. As samples seem to be well packaged and sealed I was under the impression that you could keep them for as long as you would the actual full size container maybe even longer, but I think I was wrong.

The life changing magic of tidying up

Ingrid Nilsen aka MissGlamorazzi on YouTube mentioned this book in one of her recent videos and the title totally appealed to me. I love anything Japan and, having a tidier, clutter-free home is what I've been aiming for my whole life. 

I remember as a kid filling up boxes and boxes of junk and my mother going over them and keeping the stuff she thought I would need later in life such as pictures, diplomas and such. Spoiler alert: I've never really needed them back. Of course I'd miss an odd item now and then but I'd get over it in such a short time that I've never felt that I lost something irreplaceable.

But I'm going off track here as I don't want to get into this book just yet. In fact, I wanted to talk about a certain section in the book where the writer, Marie Kondo, mentioned beauty samples. She contacted various manufacturers and even they were unsure of how long you could keep them. Some said a few weeks!!! and others said they are good for a year. A thing she mentions is, in my opinion, pretty rational: "when the quantity is very small, the quality deteriorates faster".

sample collection by Eli Dumas

Last year I wrote a post about my huge sample collection and I made myself promise to use them all up before the end of the year. This year I haven't hoarded that many but I really need to address this problem as it serves no purpose at all.

I suppose most of you keep samples to use on holidays or weekend trips, I'm the same. Most of the times I wouldn't even take them with me. When I'm going away for a long travel I don't feel like they will last me the entire stay so I end up taking my regular beauty products. And when I do take them with me I'm scared they won't suit my skin type or mess up my foundation so I just end up taking them back home with me, unopened and unused.

To follow up with last year's sample challenge I hereby declare that I'll never be hoarding any more samples again! At least, not for more than a month, let's keep it real guys...

What's your take on samples? To keep or not to keep?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my International Giveaway! I'll draw a winner on Friday. Good luck!

22 August 2015

Look Fantastic & Druni haul

Dear readers,

Shopping discounted products and finding the best online deals really gives me a thrill. Look Fantastic sent me a 20% off coupon that I put it to good use plus I got a LF Beauty Box entirely free for my +55£ purchase, yay! So lets celebrate and talk about the items I got.

Look Fantastic & Druni haul

These are the first wipes that I enjoy using for removing make up on these warmer days. In the winter I usually leave my make up on until I take a shower at night but in the heat of summer I need to get my make up off as soon as I enter my home. As they feel very luxurious and gentle they come with a hefty price tag but they are totally worth every penny. 

Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Brightening Cleansing Cloths

I came across a blog post recently and of course I can't remember who wrote it but I'm very grateful to the blogger for sharing this. The topic was exfoliating and what I learned from reading it was that granulate exfoliators can be damaging to the skin as they can have rough edges so she was advocating for chemical exfoliators and one of the affordable products she mentioned was this one.

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

Since I got me a Wet Brush I haven't been using my beloved Tangle Teezer anymore so I thought this would be a perfect stocking filler for Christmas. Yes, I like to get my presents early so I can save some money using coupons and other online deals/offers. I actually bought two of these but a colleague at work wanted one for herself and I sold one to her. Next time there's an offer I'll stock up.

Wet Brush in Metallic Red

I'm still expanding my lip collection and I'm low on pinks although I expected this to be a darker shade. It's too pearly pink for me so I don't think I'll be able to use it much. 

Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Pink Pearl

Look Fantastic August Beauty Box - total value of 45£

From a tweet I was expecting this box to be awesome but for some reason I didn't get the same items inside mine. I thought they were giving out a sample of the Omoravicza Queen of Hungary mist but it's nowhere to be seen :(

From left to right:
  • Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash -  You can never have too many cleansers, right?
  • Monu Firming Fiji Facial Oil - Even though I have oily skin I've been enjoying this type of products 
  • Lord & Berry Nude Ultimate Lip Colour Pencil - This shade will pair perfectly with my Marsala type lipsticks 
  • Trilogy Everything Balm - Ok, an all round product, I'll give it a try as a lip balm
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse - I've been wanting to try this out 
  • Kebelo Clarifying shampoo - It contains sulfates so I'll use it sparingly 

Look Fantastic August Beauty Box

L'Óreal Color Riche nail polishes.

From left to right:
  • 141 Pin Up Pink
  • 222 Imperial Green
  • 208 So Chic Pink
  • 891 Noir Whisper

To me these have the best creamy formula. The brush is perfect, it is round shaped so it makes application extremely perfect and professional. You're good to go with 2 coats and they don't chip easily. The more shimmery shades are gorgeous for autumn and winter. I already have one in a blue denim shade and I've worn it a lot. Druni sells them at a very reasonable price: only 3€!

L'Óreal Color Riche nail polishes

This whole week I've been wearing the second on the right: So Chic Pink. I thought it would be more coral-y but it just looks like a plain bright orange. I always end up getting the same kind of shades over and over again *sigh!

L'Óreal Color Riche in So Chic Pink

What do you think of my purchases? Have you bought something interesting lately?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my International Giveaway, there's just a few days left!!!

19 August 2015

Glamglow masks haul

Dear readers,

The weirdest thing happened to me the other day. They were having a good deal on Glamglow over at HQHair. I'd run out of my Youthmud and I wanted to get a new tub so I jumped at the chance of saving a few bucks (euros, whatever) and placed my order. When I logged into the webpage with my username a message popped up telling me that the items I'd placed in my basket couldn't be shipped to my country of destination, WTH! 

I have to confess that I panicked. How could I get my hands on my beloved Youthmud? Not that there aren't any other similar masks in the market but for some reason my need-o-meter goes up when an item is hard to get. Know what I mean? So I went onto every online store I could think of and ended up with nothing. 

Days went by and I kept receiving my usual newsletters until I got another one sent by the same store advertising a better deal yet: the Powermud and Youthmud masks were only 56.98£ plus a free application brush. 

While I was still thinking that they weren't going to let me complete my order I logged into my account, filled in my card details and voilà, it worked! Only 4 days later I received my goodies. I can't wait to try the Powermud as I've only tried the Youthmud and the Supermud (white one). 

I'm not much of a fan of the Supermud as I don't have acne prone skin so I can't see any difference after using it but I definitely love the Youthmud although it took me a few times using it to see that it really works. After use my skin feels very polished and smooth, I love how it smells and for some reason it feels more relaxing than other face masks that I've tried. It's the best companion for a pampering session.

I know it's an expensive product but you just need the tiniest amount to make it work and I don't mind spending a bit more on skin care products as I can save on make up using drugstore alternatives that are sometimes even better than high end brands. As I have many other masks I just rotate them, that way it seems like they last a very long time.

I'm afraid you can't get hold of this deal any longer but this morning I received another email from HQHair featuring a 48 hours Super Summer Sale and the Glamglow masks are 3 for 2.

Happy shopping y'all and don't forget to enter my international Giveaway.

17 August 2015

International giveaway feat. Maple Holistics - ended

Dear readers,

I'm giving y'all the chance to win this set of Winter Blend Shampoo & Conditioner by Maple Holistics.

Maple Holistics is a US based beauty company that manufacture natural cosmetics, cruelty free. You can purchase their products directly from their site or through Amazon.

In case you're interested they are having a great promotion, click here for the complete details. 

Maple Holistics Winter Blend Shampoo & Conditioner

This giveaway is part of Maple Holistic's #sumerofgiveaways campaign that is sponsored by Edumuch.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • The prize will be provided by Maple Holistics.
  • Maple Holistics will send the prize directly to the winner, not to me.
  • I haven't tried any Maple Holistics products yet so I cannot give you my opinion.
  • This is not a sponsored post.
  • I'll have no say in the choosing of the winner, this will be done automatically by the Rafflecopter widget.
  • I'll contact the winner to ask for the delivery details and pass the information on to Maple Holistics.
  • Please leave your Twitter name/user in the comments so it's easier for me to contact you.

Good Luck!

15 August 2015

2 years of blogging

Dear readers,

2 years ago Marshmellow's diary was born with only 2 purposes in mind: sharing my love for beauty products and improving my English. I think I've done pretty well overall. 

At first I approached this blog as a more personal diary without using any kind of social media to promote it. Slowly I started to interact with other bloggers and got my first few followers, I'll never forget the feeling of accomplishment that I felt when I received an email from Bloglovin telling me I had 1 follower!

Even though it wasn't my goal to grow the blog in terms of gaining many followers I couldn't help to see it as a personal failure to lose some of them from time to time. It's like being rejected or being given a thumbs down. I know it's silly and that it's impossible to be liked by everyone but I've always been the kind of person that likes to please everybody. I'm working on that... 

image source: Unsplash

The thing I enjoy the most about blogging is being part of the blogging community. I feel like we all support each other in a disinterested way. Time and again I've needed to find blog posts/tutorials about how to deal with HTML code in order to improve (in my eyes) the layout of my blog and it still amazes me how many people share their knowledge with the rest of the world without asking anything in return.

And it wouldn't be a real blogging celebration without spreading the love around so I would very much like to specially thank the bloggers that, for some reason or other, are closer to my heart:
Have a lovely weekend y'all and thanks for being part of this journey. I really appreciate you visiting my blog and leaving any kind of feedback. 

P.S. Come back next Monday for a special treat!

12 August 2015

Summer faves #5: Hair

Dear readers,

I already dedicated a few posts to my hair problems and I even shared my no-poo challenge experience with y'all. But in case you missed those I'll quickly tell you about my hair: I barely have any, it's very fine, it won't grow past a certain length and, on top of that all, it's oily. The no-poo challenge helped me cut back from 4 washes per week to only 2. After using the bicarb + apple cider vinegar washing method for 3 months straight, I switched my regular hair washing products to those that are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates and sodium chloride as they are really damaging to the hair, well not per se, but I won't go into that in this post. 

Summer faves #5: Haircare

Alterna Bamboo Color Hold+ with UV Shield Shampoo.

I loved this shampoo from the very first time I used it. The packaging is the best I've come across. It has a good grip so it won't slip your fingers and the twisty top is perfect to squeeze out the right amount of product and close it without having the cap coming off and rolling away. The shampoo itself is a dense gel that quickly foams up. I don't like those with watery formulas where you need half a bottle before they start to lather up. I purchased this not long ago alongside the matching conditioner but I'm sad to say that it didn't work out for me, it added a lot of frizz to my hair and it didn't feel softening at all. But I already found an alternative way to use the conditioner, though: it makes a superb shaving cream!

Alterna Bamboo Color Hold+ with UV Shield Shampoo

Macadamia Natural Oil Moisturizing Rinse.

I'd forgotten how amazing this conditioner is until I switched back from the Alterna Bamboo one. I've been using this for two years now thanks to a recommendation by Casey Holmes. My hair is silky soft after using this so I'm never ever going to try anything else. I suppose we'll see about that, won't we?

Macadamia Natural Oil Moisturizing Rinse

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque.

If the moisturizing rinse is amazing this is the Bomb.com, really! A little goes a long way, I've had this 100ml tube for over a year and still have a lot left. Of course I don't use it every time I wash my hair but still. I'm only using it when I want to give my hair an extra treat, that's about twice a month. I suppose it must be heaven for those with drier hair. Have any of you tried it? It's worth every penny.

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque

H'suan Wen Hua hair treatment by Lush.

For those of you who have jumped on the conditioning before shampooing trend this must be your cult product. If not, it should be. It's a very thick and kind of sweet smelling cream that you put onto your dry hair and leave it in for 20 minutes before rinsing it off and shampooing as usual. I can't say I'm digging this trend, I still feel that I need a conditioner afterwards but hey, kudos if it works for you!

H'suan Wen Hua hair treatment by Lush

As for other hair related products I'll leave you a few posts I wrote about different topics:

You may also like:

Don't miss my next post, Saturday 15th. I'll be having a special treat for y'all!

10 August 2015

Safety first

Dear readers,

Having only one car we needed a second vehicle for the hubby to get to work. As we both work at a fairly short distance from home (about 10km) we didn't need another car. Instead we decided to get a 125cc Vespa. This was 10 years ago and we got a pair of helmets at the same time.

At the time we chose this helmet as it's the same shade of blue as the Vespa. The hubby put a sticker on his as we both love the number 13, it has been in our lives way before we knew each other and curiously enough it matches our birth dates. I was born August 3rd and the hubby September 1st. 

With the warmer months and the endless tourists coming to visit and crowding the roads and parking spaces we have been using the motorbike more often. One day I noticed that the inside padding of my helmet was coming of and thought that it was due time to get new ones.

At 16 my dad got me a 50cc motorbike but you didn't need to wear a helmet at the time so I've never much cared about what to look for in a helmet or that they had an expiry date. I didn't know you're supposed to change them every 5 years to be safe better than sorry.

As my mom always give us some money for our birthdays I thought I'd put it to good use and got us new helmets. The hubby has been a fan of Betty Boop for years so I smiled when I saw this helmet at the store plus I always call him cutie pie, lol.

The weird thing is that this helmet was meant to be for him as it's a size small but someway it's a looser fit than the other size small I chose for myself.

And this is the perfect companion to Betty Boop, don't you think? It was the only other helmet at the store with a similar theme and I think it's hilarious. I sometimes am a bit of a brute like Popeye and the hubby bruises like a peach, like Chandler from Friends (inside joke). Not that I would hurt him on purpose I just give him a nudge when he's pestering me and I forget that he's made out of marshmallows.

I've always loved comic books and I used to use their pages as envelopes all the way through high school and college. My friends have kept those letters throughout the years and we're always having a good laugh when going through them.

So now we're good to go for another 5 years or more as we don't use them that often. The hubby lost his job a few years back and hasn't been able to find a steady job ever since. Hopefully things will start to improve shortly and he'll be able to put his new helmet to good use.

I suppose it's not very usual to ride motorbikes in colder climate countries. What's the deal on motorbikes in your country? Do people often ride in them or is it considered unsafe?

8 August 2015

Summer faves #4: Skincare

Dear readers,

Summer is slowly coming to an end and I couldn't be more happy. This has been the hottest summer that I can think of. Usually I don't want summer to ever end for being a Leo, the sun is our ruling planet. But before the summer's over let me share with y'all what products I've been enjoying using:

Caudalie Premier Crue The Elixir oil serum.

My most recent addition, I was using a different night serum by Olay that I mentioned in my July empties. Although I've only used it for over a week I can't get over how nice this smells and feels. I have very oily skin but I don't mind using face oils at night time. This has a dropper and you only need 3 to 4 drops on the palm of your hand, you press your palms together and then apply it to your face using patting motions. To me it smells like apple pie, as it's made of grapes it may give out some sort of raisin scent and, what's an apple pie without raisins?

Caudalie Premier Crue The Elixir oil serum.

Enzymion facial moisturizer by LUSH.

I was given a sample some time ago and I loved it so much that I got the full size tub last time I went into a Lush store. It's such a lightweight formula it resembles water, for us with oily skin this is a gift sent from heaven. 

Enzymion facial moisturizer by LUSH

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrate.

For a special treatment after I've given myself a good exfoliating I pamper myself with this serum. I've been using the regular Advance Night Repair serum for years and when I saw this concentrate version on sale I grabbed the chance to try it out. The formula is more dense so it comes with a dropper instead of a pump but it quickly sinks into the skin leaving it velvety to the touch.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrate.

Origins Plantscription Anti-aging eye cream.

This is my first contact with the brand, I was in the market for an anti-aging targeted eye cream as I felt the ones I were using before weren't powerful enough, if you know what I mean. Not sure if I really need this considering the fact that I'm very oily around the eye area as well but, better safe than sorry. I'm getting closer to 50 by the day and I want to avoid any fine lines around my eye area for as long as possible. I'm very afraid of needles, so no botox for me and I'm scared to death of getting any type of surgery.

At first sight this seems like a thick cream but you only need the tiniest amount as it melts into the fingers and spreads like a serum. I use this only in the morning under my eyes, on my lips and around my mouth. At night I'm using a different eye cream as it's such a creamy formula that I don't like it for day time.

Origins Plantscription Anti-aging eye cream.

Vitamin C Skin Boost serum by The Body Shop.

This comes with a convenient pump, so as to keep the vitamin C from oxidizing. With one pump I have enough to cover my whole face and neck area. It gives the feeling of smoothing out the skin, kind of like a face primer. It has a faint citrus scent that I particularly enjoy but it fades as soon as you've finished applying it.

Vitamin C Skin Boost serum by The Body Shop.

You may also like:

What are your summer essentials?