31 December 2015

December Yays & Nays

Dear readers,

This time around I had so many empties that I've classified them in 3 categories instead of two: yays, nays and meh!

So let's start out with the nays:
Primark nail polish remover: It's the kind of pot with nail polish remover and a sponge where you dip in your fingers one at a time and swirl them around until they come out clean. The sponge started to crumble after a few uses so I decided to get another brand, sometimes cheap isn't always better.

Ro's Argan Body Conditioner by Lush: I bought this only because Tanya Burr loves it but I find it's too oily for my liking. You're supposed to use it as a body lotion on your wet skin and rinse it off. The scent is sweet which I don't particularly enjoy and it's very moisturizing but I didn't enjoy the experience. The Nivea one I like better and is way more affordable.

Renunail by Dr Lewinn's: it's supposed to be a nail strengthener but it just does the opposite to my nails. After following the one month treatment my nails are brittle and rubbish. I'm wearing them super short at the moment and haven't been able to do any nail art for Christmas.

As for the meh, these have kind of worked out for me but I wouldn't repurchase because I've found a better option:
Orange Soda candle from Primark: It has a nice scent but Yankee Candle are still my favourite. These are a good alternative if you're on a budget though.

L'Óreal True Match foundation: A great drugstore foundation I have to say, the best I've tried but I just got the Infallible Pro-Matte and I have to say that it works even better for my very oily skin.

Impulse deodorant in Roses & Grapefruit: It doesn't contain aluminum and has a nice scent but it only works on quiet days where you don't move around much.

Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence: Just a regular heat protector for your hair, it came in a beauty subscription box so I used it up, nothing more to say about this, really.
And my yays:

Le Petit Marsellais Orange Blossom shower gel: I already have a few back up bottles, I use this for my night time shower as it has a floral scent that helps me feel relaxed before going to bed.

The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths by Ole Henriksen: I love using these during the warmer months to take my make up off as soon as I come home from work. They don't leave any kind of residue and are very gentle but effective.

Macadamia Natural Oil Moisturizing Rinse: A great everyday paraben and sulfate free conditioner. It doesn't make my hair any oilier than it already is and leaves it super soft without weighing it down.

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cherry: I'm trying out the COLAB dry shampoo at the moment but at first impression I think I may go back to using my favourite dry shampoo ever, which is this one.

Have a Happy New Year and thanks for sticking around!

28 December 2015

Blog Post #300 and Blogging Goals

Dear readers,

I trust you've had a very Merry Christmas. Mine was pretty hectic and long, I had to cook for Christmas Eve dinner and again on Boxing Day. Christmas Day we had turkey for lunch at the in-laws and yesterday we had our wedding anniversary celebration at my mom's. So glad that's finally over, although I'm already looking forward to next Christmas. I've already reset my Advent Calendar to 12 months and I'll be leaving it on display all year long, like I did this year, that's how commited I am to the holidays. Weird enough I never were much of a Christmas enthusiast. I developed this obsession much, much later in life thanks to the blogging community and especially to Tanya Burr's Vlogmas.
Regarding my blogging life, 2015 hasn't turned out to be as successful as the previous year as far as analytics go. I've only gained over 100 new bloglovin followers and, although I noticed a real surge in pageviews during the summer months, it quickly died down afterwards. To be honest, I wasn't that interested in gaining followers when I first started blogging but I inevitably got sucked in the excitement and started to measure the value of my blog in pageviews and followers. Although I'd read lots of blog posts advising to overlook numbers and concentrate on publishing good content I just couldn't help feeling a sense of accomplishment when noticing an increase in pageviews. When those numbers started to plummet it made me feel pretty worthless.

Over the past month I've been reevaluating my blogging goals and I've reached a state of acceptance. I don't care about numbers any longer, I just want to enjoy blogging and not strain myself to maintain any kind of blogging schedule. Therefore I've decided to cut down to posting twice a week and maybe throw in a special entry when I really feel like it.
The one thing that has really made me happy and sort of made up for years and years of crappy Christmas presents has been winning the Bobbi Brown Deluxe Eye & Cheek Palette from a giveaway hosted by Dave Lackie. We were watching Downton Abbey on the 23rd when a Twitter notification popped up on my computer screen and had me screaming like a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert. It's amazing how quick the mind works: I'd never paid those Twitter popups any attention, or so I thought, but my brain seemed to register it immediately. This was my first time winning a giveaway and I couldn't feel happier about it.
The palette is absolutely perfect for me as I don't tend to wear dark shades: they don't last on my oily eyelids and start to crease on me no matter what eye primer I'm using. I'm also more drawn to cool toned colours and mainly stick to neutrals as I lead a boring life and only do my make up before going to work in the morning. I like that there's a nice selection of matte shades ranging from light to medium to dark, and that the metallic ones are light enough to be wearable; having hooded eyes this is what I'm looking for. All the shades are perfect for an every day look but I could also darken the outer V with the dark brown or the dark grey to make it more night time appropiate. And it also features two gorgeous blushes: Desert Rose and Pale Pink, so I'm expecting this to become my go-to travel palette.

What Christmas present has won you over this year?

23 December 2015

Spanish Delicacies: Chocolate con Churros

Dear readers,

Last Monday I had a craving for a cup of hot, thick and dark chocolate with churros. Lucky for us they opened a well known chocolate shop in our home town not long ago. 

The VALOR factory is not far from here, about 25km I'd say but it's the first time we have a shop in walking distance. We actually visited the factory itself a few years ago and the best part was the tasting ;)
Chocolate Valor con Churros
Churros are fried dough pastry, they are crispy from the outside and soft but kind of hollow from the inside. I like them sprinkled with lots of caster sugar (which I incidentally try to avoid eating) and dipped in the thick hot chocolate.

It's kind of a tradition to eat chocolate con churros with the New Year, either by having them for breakfast before going back home for those who go out that night or as a late afternoon snack (high tea?) with the whole family, we call it merienda
Chocolate Valor con Churros
I was so hungry and anxious to eat the churros that I totally forgot to take pictures of the shop itself. 

Merry Christmas!

More on Spanish delicacies:

21 December 2015

Black Friday Haul part 2

Dear readers,

I thought I'd never receive the rest of my packages. It's taken some of them ages to arrive but luckily for me the last two parcels that came today arrived in one piece, unlike the quicker ones.

Douglas 25% off and free shipping:
- Foreo Luna Mini in purple was 106.99€ paid 80.24€
- Essence nail polish remover was 3.79€ paid 2.74€
- Nails, Hands, Feet nail polish corrector pen was 5.95€ paid 4.44€

I've been using the Foreo Luna every evening after removing my make up and I've noticed a difference in my skin's texture from the first use. It leaves the skin feeling baby soft and squeaky clean.

The sponge nail polish remover is perfect for when you only need to redo one nail, if you use a cotton pad you'll mess up the rest of the nails but with this you dip a finger in the pot and swirl it around until all the polish comes off, best invention ever!

And my former nail polish corrector pen was looking worse for wear so I decided it was time to get a replacement. This pen is also very handy to clean up around the nail if you have made any mistakes in application. I prefer this over a synthetic brush dipped in polish remover as it's better to control and easier to be precise.
HQHair 20% off and free shipping:
- Macadamia Weightless Moisture Travel Kit was 27.45£ paid 21.96£
- Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil was 29.95£ paid 23.96£

The oil had leaked a bit in the box but nothing major so I didn't mind it and I sent them an email only to warn them about this fact. I've been using this oil for well over a year, maybe even two and I can't praise its benefits enough. It doesn't feel heavy or greasy and it has helped a great deal in maintaining my hair ends healthy. I can't remember when I last had to cut my hair because of split ends. Before using this I had to had regularly cuts as my hair is very fine and breaks very easily.

The Weightless Moisture Travel Kit features a shampoo, conditioner, conditioning mist and a dry oil micro mist. I've only used them once, last Friday, and I loved them all at first touch. The shampoo lathers up with the smallest amount, although the suds disappeared pretty quickly. The conditioner felt very lightweight but nourishing all the same and the conditioning mist and dry oil added some shine and protection. The only but is that I felt my hair getting oily faster than with my regular hair treatment but I'll have to put these to the test a few more times to get a clear idea of how they work.
MAC Cosmetics Berry Black Friday lustre lipstick 19.50€ and free shipping.

This was the only purchase I hadn't planned in advance and it serves me right, it's the worst lipstick I've ever come across. It looks very scary in the bullet, almost complete dark but in application it's so sheer that you can barely see the colour. It also applies very patchy and it settles into the lines, it starts to flake from the inside of the mouth and that's not a look that I'm going for.

Alterna Caviar Anti Aging Bodybuilding Volume Shampoo 22% off at Look Fantastic. I ended up paying 21.84£ with free shipping.

I've been using the Bamboo Color Hold + by Alterna for the last 5 or 6 months now and I'm liking it a lot. I wanted to try a different shampoo from the same brand and the words Caviar and Anti Aging just appealed to me.

Bvlgari Goldea sample size body lotion was a gift with my Douglas purchase above.
Feel Unique 20% off and free shipping:
- Colab dry shampoo in New York, Tokyo and London 3.50£ each
- NYX soft matte lip cream in Monte Carlo 5.50£
I ended up paying 12.80£

I've been wanting to try out this dry shampoo for a while but I still had many, many bottles of Batiste lying around so I waited until I'd used them all up. I went for the three cities that most appealed to me but I'll give the other scents a try if I like them better than Batiste. 

I added in a NYX soft matte lip cream in Monte Carlo in order to get free delivery. I love this formula, it doesn't feel like you're wearing anything on the lips, it stays put for a long time and it isn't drying to my lips. I already have some red lipsticks in my collection but they are more creamy and therefore high maintenance. This one will survive Christmas Eve dinner, I'm sure!
La Redoute 40% off and free shipping:
This gorgeous side table was 139.99€ and I got it for only 83.99€. It's fake wood but you can hardly tell and it's just what I was looking for.
Pimkie 20% off (39.19€) and free shipping:

I'd gotten rid of my old parka a few months back and I'd been looking for the perfect replacement since then. This one's made from a sturdier cotton fabric and is slightly warmer so I'll be able to wear it during the colder winter months, if they ever come.  
Boots International 3 for 2 and free shipping:
Yankee Candles in Clean Cotton (came broken), Red Apple Wreath and Sparkling Snow for 21.99£ each and the third one, free. Luckily the broken one isn't a Christmas scent so I'll burn the other two first and wait for Boots to answer my email and give me instructions on how to proceed with the damaged one.
Druni outside Black Friday but wanted to include it in here:

Clarins Ever Matte foundation 20.37€
I run out of my favourite high end foundation and wanted to try out a different brand. As I've been loving Clarins skin care products as of late I thought I'd see if their make up was any good. I've only used it once but it had a streaky application, the coverage is not that good and it strongly smells of perfume.

Maybelline Colorsensational matte in 975 Divine Wine 4.95€
This is a gorgeous deep red brown that suits me so well. I love the formula of these lipsticks and they are fab for the price.

L'Óreal Color Riche nail polish in 423 Feline Sauvage 2.95€
This is an emerald green with a glittery appearance although it's very easy and quick to remove. It's the most perfect shade to wear for the holidays. I've already talked about the formula and easy application of these, I think I have most of the shades by now. 

L'Óreal Infallible Pro-Matte foundation 8.95€
I think I may have found my ride or die foundation, both high and low end. It gives a flawless medium coverage and you can even apply it with fingers as it blends like a dream. It has the most lightweight feeling that I've ever found in a foundation, you don't feel it sitting on your skin. It's not a flat matte either and it wears beautifully for hours. I've never found a foundation where I didn't need to blot my skin after only a couple hours' wear. It also doesn't make my pores stand out like other foundations do. I'm not saying it hides them as that's just impossible but they aren't as visible to the eye as usual. 
Of course I also got my most expensive purchase: the iPhone 5s in gold, but I already talked about that as I was too excited and couldn't wait to share it with y'all.

What was your Black Friday like? Did you make any purchases?

19 December 2015

Christmas Decorations Haul

Dear readers,

We've been using the same small sized artificial Christmas tree for a few years and I'm quite fond of it. It doesn't shed pine needles everywhere and I'm not sad when it dies, like the real ones do.

As I've grown out of my liking for the typical Christmas baubles we've been slowly building up our tree ornament collection until we finally get it right. This year, though, I've been unable to find any store that sold cute tree decorations so I had a browse online and I found the following on offer (3 for 2) at Paperchase:
Most of them turned out to be too big to hang on my tiny Christmas tree but I'm sure I'll find another cute way to display them around the house. My favourite of the bunch are the one's right above, they are the perfect size and super cute, don't you think? Luckily they arrived in time as I'm still waiting for some of my Black Friday purchases to be delivered and these I ordered last week from the same country.

Enjoy the weekend!

16 December 2015

Christmas Care Package

Dear readers,

This year we got pretty much the same Christmas box as last year's but as I love me some haul posts I thought I'd share it with y'all anyway. There's about 500 of us at our company and we all get the same box full of goodies, mostly food and beverages. I don't particularly care for the sweet stuff so I always gift it to my in laws or my mom, who has a huge sweet tooth. 
The kitty was obviously curious about a new box arriving home and she had to give it a sniff.
The same brand chorizo, salchichón and cured cheese as last year. I think I only had the cheese and got rid of the rest, we'll see how it goes this time.
These were a bit different from last year: foie gras, tuna, asparagus and red peppers. I think I may use some of this tinned food to serve as an appetizer for Christmas dinner. The asparagus are mouth watering.
Dates and nuts. Always good to have in house, I like to use dates as a sweetener for my smoothies and you can never go wrong with a small bowl of nuts when you're entertaining guests.
This was also new to me: chocolate filled cookies and Lindor chocolates. I'll actually keep these, that's a first as I usually don't like the sweet snacks that they throw in the box, such as the "turrones" that come next.
And of course, the same type of turrón as the last 11 years: almonds, chocolate with almonds, egg yolk and Jijona (also with almonds but this one's soft).
Another turrón de Alicante (hard) and some mantecados (more on those here).
And last but not least, the booze!!! A couple of white and a red wine. This red is pretty tasty so I'll put it to good use but I don't drink white wine, not because I don't like it but because I tend to gulp it down too quickly and enjoy a nice hangover the following day.
Cava aka Spanish champagne, some weird flavoured cream liquor and apple cider. Don't like any of these so I'll either use them for cooking or gift them to someone.

Sorry for the lack of beauty posts lately but I still haven't received all my Black Friday purchases and I'm trying out some new products that I wanted to test out before I shared my final thoughts with y'all.

Christmas is only a week away, eeeeeeek! What are you most excited for this Christmas? 

14 December 2015

Spanish Delicacies: Polvorones & Mantecados

Dear readers,

I don't think anybody missed me last week but to those of you who were expecting my usual Wednesday and Saturday post I have to apologize: I just didn't feel like blogging. I haven't taken any break in blogging this year, except maybe one other post that I missed so, I thought a little break was well deserved.

With Christmas around the corner I wanted to talk about what kind of sweet snacks we like to eat for the holidays over here.

Polvorón comes from the word "polvo" that means dust or powder. It's a soft and very crumbly sort of shortbread covered in sugared powder, hence the name, that comes wrapped up individually, like you can see from the picture above.
Polvorón de Chocolate
The usual polvorón is only made out of flour, sugar, lard and almonds but I've found one that comes with dark chocolate chips: super yummy!
Polvorones are a variety of mantecados which I also quite enjoy but I prefer getting these brand of polvorones as they are hand made using the best quality Marcona type almond. The almond factory is located in my home town and you can only get these from mid October to begin December as they are usually sold out long before Christmas.
Ingredients: 34% Selected Marcona Almond, wheat flour, sugar, lard, cinnamon and lemon zest. It can contain traces of soy, lactose and egg. No additives or preservatives.

PolvorónAs kids we liked to eat them in one go while pronouncing "Pamplona", let me tell you: not a pretty sight!

Have you ever had Mantecados or Polvorones?

More on Spanish delicacies:
Sobaos Pasiegos
Miguelitos de la Roda
Flan de Huevo

7 December 2015

Bank Holiday : Christmas music

Dear readers,

We're having a long weekend here in Spain. It's Bank Holiday today and tomorrow so I'm not going to bore you with one of my usual posts. Instead, I'm leaving you with some Christmas songs I've recently discovered and have on repeat all day long. I hope you enjoy them but if you don't, please share your favorites down below in the comment section.

Have a great day, y'all.

5 December 2015

Spanish delicacies: Flan de huevo

Dear readers,

Flan is a classic, lightweight dessert that I love ordering after a plentiful meal. But only if it's homemade, of course.
Flan de huevo
It's sort of a thicker custard coated in caramel. The ingredients couldn't be any simpler: you just need water, milk, eggs, sugar and a bit of vanilla extract. It's extremely easy to make and only needs to completely cool down before eating. Although I've never made it myself I'll leave you a link to this recipe I came across just now.
Flan de huevo
Bon appétit!

More on Spanish delicacies:
Sobaos Pasiegos
Miguelitos de la Roda
- Piononos

2 December 2015

Black Friday haul part 1: iPhone 5s in gold

Dear readers,

I know I'm super late to the party but in my defense I have to say that I've wanted this phone ever since it came out only I couldn't bring myself to spend so much on just a phone, no matter how gorgeous. I think I've never spent over 100€ on a phone before and I only got the iPhone 4s in June last year because the hubby was fed up with my whining and offered to pay 100€ when it was on offer for 300€.
iPhone 5s in gold
At first I didn't intend on getting a new iPhone as mine is still working fine, although the 8GB has proven to be insufficient for my needs: damn you Apple with all your updates! 

On Thanksgiving I went online to find out if the iPhone would be worth getting and I finally decided that even the iPhone 5s was too much of a splurge and that I could wait a bit longer.

So it was well into Black Friday when I tried getting my online shopping done. I'd been a good girl and made a list before hand with all the items that I really needed to get, some with question marks, like the iPhone. Some of the items on my list were already sold out and others I couldn't get shipped to Spain so I couldn't take it any longer and ended up ordering the stupid phone. It's so pretty! I love it!

P.S. The hubby is giving me 100€ for my old iPhone 4s, lol.

What was your Black Friday like? Any haul worth mentioning?