29 December 2013

iRobot Roomba 760 vacuum cleaning for pets and allergies


Dear diary,

I won't write a post about the things I've gotten for Christmas but one thing I had to talk about.

My mother gave me some money for Christmas and I purchased the perfect gift: a vacuum robot that cleans on its own so I can spend more time on my blog.

iRobot Roomba


Two weeks ago I finally decided on going to the allergist and they tested me for different allergies. It appears that I'm allergic to almost everything: some trees (olive, palm and pine), grasses, mites, cats, dogs and some other I don't recall. My allergies started when I was over 25 years old and it didn't bother me that much but as I'm getting older and weaker (I suppose) they have been improving or mutating and getting stronger and more annoying. This has also caused me an additional problem related to the fact that I'm not able to breathe normally as my nasal passage ways are almost always completely obstructed.

About three years ago I started having some problems with my voice getting hoarse. At first I didn't mind much as it went away after a few days and it didn't reappear until many months later. When it happened more frecuently I started worrying and I finally decided to go to the doctor. I've been visiting a speech therapist twice a week for an hour, but after 6 months and no improvement they put me on the waiting list for surgery: they have to cut out a nice polyp that I have gathered on my right vocal chord which keeps me from producing sounds above whisper volume.

The Allergist gave me a lot of written recommendations and as I cannot get rid of my cat, she's been with me since before the allergies came, I settled for the Roomba device instead. I was lucky enough to find a web site that was selling the 760 model with a 156€ discount.

We have programmed it to clean the house 3 times per week. The first time I got back home after it had done it's job it looked like the floor had been polished.

After two weeks my cat is finally getting used to the robot but she's maintaining a safe distance. She watches it carefully from the couch as she has found out that the robot is incapable of climbing up.

For the love of sharing,

27 December 2013

After Christmas mellow


Dear diary,

Sadly Christmas is over and we only have New Year to look forward to. But I'm still in celebration mode: I've taken a couple of days off from work and I've packed my bags for a one-day trip, just to relax and take a break from the holiday frenzy.

We had some Paradores points to cash in before the end of the year so we decided for one Parador/Hotel nearby. But on the way over we stopped at a big shopping centre as I had to go to Primark and buy me some pajamas. Tanya Burr mentioned Primark in one of her Vlogmas and said they had the cutest pajamas. As we don't have a store nearby I've never been to a Primark before today, this is what I got (among other things, of course, lol):

Pijama selfie

Before going to sleep I'm taking a bath using my last Twilight bath bomb from LUSH and some Yankee Candles:

Lush bath bomb & Yankee candles

But before that I'm anxious to try out the Glamglow Supermud I got at http://www.feelunique.com:

Glamglow Supermud and Youthmud set
We are also going to have a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant, I'll try to remember to take some pictures as I tend to forget to photograph food, I get sidetracked by how yammy and delicious it all seems and only remember my camera when my plate is completely empty.

For the love of food,

22 December 2013

Christmas lottery


Dear diary,

Yay! Christmas has started, at least here in Spain.

Since 1812 the Christmas lottery has meant the unofficial start of the Christmas holidays, it's commonly known as the "health day", I'll come back to that later.

The drawing of the numbers is done differently only for this particular day.

Firstly, there are two spherical vessels:
Sorteo Lotería Nacional El Gordo de Navidad
The biggest one containing 100,000 wooden balls, each with a unique 5-digit number on it.

The smaller vessel also contains wooden balls with the different prizes written on them:

1 for the "fat" one: El Gordo - 4,000,000€  - 400,000€
1 for the second prize           - 1,250,000€  - 125,000€
1 for the third prize              - 500,000€    - 50,000€
2 for the fourth prizes          - 200,000€    - 20,000€
8 for the fifth prizes            - 60,000€      - 6,000€
1,794 for the small prizes      - 1,000€         - 100€

People usually buy a tenth of a bill: "décimo", as it costs 20€ and not many people can afford to buy a whole bill so if you get lucky you have to divide the winning amount by 10 (second column).

The décimo can also be split again into smaller parts and sold from as low as a few cents, but those are not official lottery tickets. Someone buys one or more décimos and keeps them somewhere safe and prints out some smaller parts of that particular number to sell out, most of the time the price includes a small donation fee for some non-profit organization who will destine it to a good deed.

Secondly, all the 1,807 prizes are drawn by children aged 8-13 attending the San Ildefonso school and they sing the results in front of the public and the TV cameras for the national wide live feeding.

This year I only had 3 décimos, one I bought in Formentera, another in Santiago de Compostela and the third one, I buy every year to a friend of mine, is from my home town:
Décimos de Lotería Nacional sorteo de Navidad
And no guys, I've had no great luck so, as we use to say over here when you aren't one of the lucky winners: at least you have your health! That's why everybody is calling the 22nd December the health day. No winners just healthy people, lol.

I only get one of my 20€ back and surely I'll exchange that for a El Niño ticket: that's the second biggest lottery drawing in the year, it's held on January 6th, coinciding with the Three Kings or Wise Men festivity. This is when the Spanish children get their presents, even though more and more are changing to Christmas day in order to be able to play with them before school starts on January 7th.

Good luck or good health to y'all!

19 December 2013

Christmas treats


Dear diary,

As a kid I didn't care much for any kind of nut, I found they had no taste and where too dry for me to like them.

Every Christmas my mother used to fill the house with Christmas treats, what to her meant lots and lots of walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and such.

I am also not a fan of marzipan and the only thing I did like were the "polvorones" and "mantecados", these are a kind of crumbly and soft mini-shortcakes made of flour, sugar, milk and, yes you guessed it, nuts. You're supposed to take them all in your mouth and try to speak out the word "Pamplona", it's a bit disgusting when you think of it but hey, you don't mess with tradition right? Normally you'd spit out some of the cake when pronouncing the p's and everybody around would have a good laugh.

When I started working at my current job I got some "turrón" given to me for Christmas, as I'd never liked it I wanted to give them to my boss but he convinced me I should try those as he claimed they were much better than the any of the other brands out there.

Turrón is kind of a nougat (not much, in my opinion) and is made of honey, sugar, egg white and toasted almonds. It's normally only eaten around Christmas and you have two original varieties, although some new ones, such as chocolate are gaining ground. They are commonly referred to hard or soft, although their real names refer to the town where they originated from: Alicante (hard) and Xixona (soft). The soft one is more like a very oily paste and the hard one is made with whole almonds surrounded by a caramelized and hard sugary surface.

Here is a glimpse of a variety pack I purchased this year:
Zaral dulces navideños
So the little ones wrapped like sweets are the polvorones, the round white one is the hard turrón and then I have two of the soft ones, the normal variety is the more yellow toned and the dark brown one I haven't tasted yet so I'm curious to find out if I like it more or not.

With the crisis and all we stopped getting them for free but I found out where to buy them: we have an almond factory in town and they make a small production so you have to get them early in December, I got these mid-November, I think. That's a way to tell you how much I did like them.

Merry Christmas to all food lovers out there!

16 December 2013

New find


Dear diary,

I've found a new use for my shower caps, I normally use the ones you get at hotels.

When on vacation I like to take as many as I can get, you know that they refill the amenities on a daily basis so I only use the first one and take the rest with me.

It's not that I've found a totally different use for the shower caps but now I'm keeping two of them in my shower. I use one between hair washes for its normal purpose and the other one I'm using when I have to wash my hair. Odd? Let me elaborate:

I first wash my hair like I normally would, rinse it and after applying my masque I like to leave it in for a few minutes so it deeply penetrates and moisturises my hair. As I keep washing my face, body and so on while the mask is working I use to get my hair wet from the showering water that splashes everywhere. Only last week I thought: why not use a shower cap over my hair to prevent it from getting wet while I wash the rest of my body?

I'm very happy with the results, especially with my Macadamia deep repair masque which is really amazing, my hair has never felt better!

So double up your shower caps as using clams isn't good for your hair either, especially on wet hair: it breaks it down.

For the love of sharing,

13 December 2013

All I want for Christmas is...


Dear diary,

I'm going to list all the products I'd like to get this Christmas. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure I won't be getting any of them, well if I'm lucky I'll maybe get one or two. If not, I'll purchase them myself as soon as I can.

I'm not much of a highlighter kind of gal but I'm pretty obsessed about:

- Hourglass Ambient Lighting palette

We can't get Hourglass here in Spain but I found an online store in the UK that ships to Spain for 15 pounds or so, unfortunately when I finally decided to purchase it, it was out of stock. I first asked a friend to get it for me when she visited her daughter in London but it was too short notice.

I already have a few Urban Decay palettes but none of them are the famous NAKED ones, this time is different, I'm in love with the:

Urban Decay NAKED 3 palette

I think I'll get a lot of use out of this one as I normally use a lot of pink shades.

I'm wanting to try out this brand as I don't own any of their products:

- The TARTE of Giving Collector's set and travel bag

I've been browsing Sephora, ULTA, Target,  etc... as a friend of mine is going to New York and I'm thinking of asking her to get me some holiday set. It's soooo much cheaper over there and we can't get hold of any of those hugely discounted sets here in Spain.

I've already tried to get this item, but to no avail, it's out of stock at Douglas:

- Crème de Rose lip balm by Chanel

I could get it online or at another store but I was given a 25% discount so that would make it a bit less of a splurge as it normally retails for 25€, if I'm not mistaken.
I have severely dehydrated lips and nothing seems to work, I've already tried the NUXE rêve de miel lip balm and it's pretty good but not amazing so I'm still on the lookout for a great lip product.
A lot of youtubers are raving about the Chanel one so I'm really wanting to try it out.

I'd love to have the chance to try out these brushes:

- SUQQU

they are Lisa Eldrige's favourite and they seem so soft that I'd love to have them, sadly they are way too expensive for me.

This product I've actually already purchased and waiting to get delivered shortly:

- Glamglow sexy gift set

everybody is raving about this mask so I purchased it online when I got a 15% discount at www.feelunique.com, yay! Can't wait to see if it's as superb as they say.

It's been years since I've purchased any perfume so it's high time, for my all-time favourite:

- Ysatis by Givenchy

Last but not least I'd love to get some:

- Konad stamping plates

I've gotten much better at painting my nails but I'm still not prepared to decorate them freehand, I've watched some tutorials with the Konad stamping nail art and I think I could manage that. My favourite youtuber for nail tutorials is Janelle from http://www.youtube.com/user/elleandish she has the sweetest voice and her creations are absolutely gorgeous.

Well, it's not that large a list, don't you think?

Of course I have another list for some non-beauty related items but I'll keep that for myself and I need to say that I take greater joy in gifting than in receiving.

For the love of Christmas,

9 December 2013

Starwood Hotel Marqués de Riscal Luxury Collection Elciego-Spain


Dear diary,

I've just come back from a short but great vacation.
Starwood Hotel Marques de Riscal
One of my BFFs works at this psychedelic hotel, design by Frank Gehry, in a town called Elciego (Spain). We stayed at her place, not the hotel, for a few days and had the most amazing time.

We've been visiting a few vineyards, this is a picture of the so-called graveyard at R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia:
Wine bottles
Yes, those are wine bottles covered in layers and layers of mossy mold, they don't even clean them up before selling them, they just clean the top to be able to stamp a sealing wax and then they wrap them in tissue. This prevents the wine from being shaken and it also helps to keep it at the same temperature.

They make an excellent white wine, it won't peak for ages (well, for many many years, at least).

When visiting Santo Domingo de la Calzada we had the best bombón coffee ever, you can see the three different layers: condensed milk at the bottom, the coffee and the cream on top, absolutely delicious. We will go back to Café Tertulia for sure.
Bombon coffee
From there we visited Ezcaray and stopped at Troika bar for some refreshing and very well mixed gin & tonics:
Gin & Tonic
Before leaving my friend's house we made a picture of some empty wine bottles we had for lunch, dinner or whatever:
Empty wine bottles
The first time I went to visit my friend there were only 3 Caudalie spas in the world, this one in Marqués de Riscal, the original one in Bordeaux and another at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Now you can find a couple more in France, two in Portugal and one in Turkey.
Caudalie Spa Marqués de Riscal
I've tried some of their products and I'm dying to try out the Premier Cru cream my friend brought me when she came visiting in November. I just asked her to tell me the retail price as she gets an employee discount but instead she gifted me the cream as an early Christmas present.

Tati from GlamLifeGuru has mentioned this cream over and over again until she made me want it very badly, I hope it's worth it. Although I really won't mind because I love trying out new products, I can never settle for the same one for too long.

For the love of sharing,

4 December 2013

Blueberry-chocolate cake


Dear diary,

I'm taking a few days off and going to visit a friend who lives up north (brrrrr) so packing has been a major pain in the butt but I think I'm done now.

I've prepared a cake to share with my friend for breakfast.
Blueberry-chocolate cake
Ingredients:

- 300gr flour
- 300gr sugar (I've used half white and half brown sugar)
- 90gr butter
- 100gr dark chocolate
- 125gr blueberries
- 6 large eggs
- teaspoon of baking powder
- sprinkle of vanilla

Grease and flour a tube pan. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks + butter + sugar until achieving a very smooth and creamy mixture.
Chop the dark chocolate into tiny bits.
Stir together the flour and the baking powder and then beat the flour and chocolate into the creamed mixture.
Beat the egg whites stiff and gently fold them into the mixture.
Spread the batter evenly into the pan. Add the blueberries on top.
Bake for 45 minutes.

Hopefully I'm not forgetting anything too important.

For the love of food,




1 December 2013

November empties


Dear diary,

December is finally here, I'm so excited for Christmas this year that I've already started decorating the living room and putting up the tree and the nativity? Sorry I don't know the word for "Belén". The rest of the house I leave as a Christmas-free zone, one because I don't own that many Christmas decorations and two because I feel it would be a bit too much for spanish standards.

This year I'm particularly fond of candles, mainly because all my youtube make up gurus swear by them and have them all year round. I find that Christmas is the perfect time of year to go nuts and have a lot of candles with lingering scents all around the house.

Well, I'm getting a bit off topic with this intro, I only wanted to share the products I've used up this last month.

My first dry shampoo ever:
Schwarzkopf Gliss dry shampoo
A 200ml spray bottle with a nice fresh scent. I bought it at my local drugstore Druni at just below 5€. It worked fine but I had nothing to compare it to so I recently got the Batiste one and can say that the latter is much much better that the Schwarzkopf one. As for the price difference there isn't any so I'm continuing with the Batiste even though it comes in a 150ml bottle as I feel I don't need to spray that much product to get better and more lasting results. I have very oily and thinning hair and had to wash it every other day, which is very bad for your hair as it strips it from it's protecting oils, so now I can go for 3 or even 4 days without washing my hair without it looking greasy and gross.

Next is nothing beauty related, well I suppose in a way it is that's why I've listed it here:
Listerine Zero mouth wash
My daily mouth wash, this was a sample I got at the dentist when I finally finished wearing braces. It's very soft, containing no alcohol, but still leaves a very fresh and clean breath.

Mary Kay TimeWise Repair with volu-firm skin care treatment:
Mary Kay Timewise repair day & night cream
It comes with an eye cream, which I'm still using, and a serum. The serum only lasted me a couple of months and was empty before I started blogging so I didn't keep the bottle to post a picture.

I bought it with a discount around Mother's day, I think it retails for 200€ and I got it for 120€. Even with the discount it was a pricy product but taking into account that you get 4 full size products I felt it wasn't so bad. The day and night cream come in 48gr and I loved the packaging, it has a sort of pumping device: when you open the lid you don't see any cream at all, what you have is a plastic lid with a pump on one side and the cream comes up the other side when you press the pump down. It's a very clever way as to keep the product from getting any germs and bacteria.

I liked that the day cream has a SPF 30 but the downside was that it had a very sunscreen-like scent, which I really hate.

As for the product itself, I haven't seen any improvement in the way of a more firm or tight skin, it's a bit too dense and thick for my taste as I have oily skin, didn't like the scent either so I won't be purchasing it again.

My favourite drugstore mascara to date:
Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express mascara
The Falsies from Maybelline is highly recommended by Tanya Burr http://www.tanyaburr.co.uk so I purchased two: one for me to try and another as a present for a friend of mine. I got them for 9€ at https://www.perfumesclub.com/es/

I love that it holds my curl perfectly for hours and hours, it doesn't leave my lashes clumpy at all, I really hate it when mascaras do that, and it has never smudged on me, something a lot of other mascaras I've used always did.

MAC PRO Eye make up remover:
MAC PRO eye make up remover
Sorry for all the MAC lovers out there but this is a never ever again product for me, it stung my eyes like crazy, it left them all read and irritated.

The Nude Magique BB cream from L'Óreal:
L'Óreal Nude Magique BB cream
I didn't like it at first as it's light coverage but I've been using it almost daily this last month and I'm really loving it now that it's empty ha ha ha. I'll probably purchase it again in the future but I want to use my other foundations and BB creams, first. Even though I hate to have a shiny face this product leaves a beautiful glow, so no shine, glow is the key here. It has a scary color at first, it's a sort of taupe-grey, but when it blends into the skin it leaves a very natural and healthy looking finish. The only thing I didn't like from the beginning is the low SPF, I think it's 15 or 20, it doesn't say on the bottle: another thing I hate. Oh, and it's 30ml for just below 10€.

And last:
Dettol antibacterial hand wash
No, I'm not showing you my hand wash, I use this to clean my brushes and make up sponges. It's antibacterial and has a very nice flowery fresh scent, it says it gets rid of 99.9% of all bacteria, is antiseptic and contains aloe vera and milk proteins to soften the skin, in this case, the brushes.

I will talk about my brush cleaning routine in my next post.

For the love of sharing,

26 November 2013

Black Friday


Dear diary,

I'm trying to "celebrate" my own Black Friday but it's a tad more difficult when you're not living in the States.

I've been preparing for this coming friday for weeks now, browsing online stores and looking for information about the possible online offers.

As I live in Spain and we don't celebrate Thanksgiving over here I've been trying to find out which stores have special discounts prepared for the following day. Unfortunately the two conditions I need to be able to purchase online bargains never seem to meet: either they only sell to US addresses or they don't offer any special discount.

As for make up bargains or must have/splurge items I'd like to gift myself for X-Mas:

I have a friend who is in London right now only I found out late and she'll be coming home tomorrow. I managed to ask her to get me the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette but I don't know if she's had the time. I know I can get it shipped to Spain but they charge 15 pounds, so I'll wait for her to get back before purchasing it online as this really is a big splurge for me.

Another friend of mine is going to New York for a few days next week so I've been browsing Sephora, Ulta and other similar stores like crazy. I've been also getting a lot of information about the products from my trusted Youtube make up guru-friends, this vlog I'm particularly thankful for:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R4nE7CA9eQ

I'm really torn between the Tarte of giving collector's set and travel bag and the Ocho Loco 2 eye pencils from Urban Decay both of them sold at 59$ at Sephora.

As for online purchases that are shipped to Spain I'm thinking of getting the Elizabeth Arden red hot croc color collection for either 50 or 300 pounds, depending where you buy it from, mmmm difficult choice, don't you think?

I'm sorry I'm not posting any pictures but I don't own any of these products and the quality of the pictures from the online stores is really awful. I will leave you the links instead:

Hourglass Ambient Lighting palette:
http://www.liberty.co.uk/pws/ProductDetails.ice?ProductID=93510

The Tarte of giving collector's set and travel bag:
http://www.sephora.com/product/productDetail.jsp?keyword=TARTE%20The%20Tarte%20of%20Giving%20Collector's%20Set%20%26%20Travel%20Bag%20P382568&skuId=1553700&productId=P382568&_requestid=77831

Urban Decay Ocho Loco 2:
http://www.sephora.com/product/productDetail.jsp?keyword=URBAN%20DECAY%20Ocho%20Loco%202%20P382583&skuId=1550631&productId=P382583&_requestid=75392

Elizabeth Arden red hot croc color collection:
http://www.feelunique.com/p/elizabeth-arden-red-hot-croc-color-collection?curr=GBP

For the love of gifting,

22 November 2013

Miracle hair care


Dear diary,

I've been wanting to write a post about this miracle hair care treatment since I got it.

The best part is that I didn't have to purchase any of these products, I got them all for free. Ok, they are sort of sample size bottles but even so, it was an excellent deal and I have to thank Casey Holmes of Caseyholmesbeauty for recommending the Macadamia Deep Repair Masque on one of her vlogs.

Short after I had watched Casey's vlog I started looking for an online store where I could get the masque when bam! I got a newsletter email from Look Fantastic where they were advertising a great gift set for any purchase over 40 pounds: the Macadamia Natural Oil Luxe travel kit.
Macadamia Natural Oil  Luxe Travel kit
OMG what a coincidence! So I run to their web site and quickly ordered a couple of things I had in mind purchasing anyway: the DUO eyelash glue, the Seche Vite Top Coat, the Real Techniques travel essential kit and some random shampoo. So I only spent 45.59 pounds and they sent me:

- Healing Oil Treatment 30ml
- Rejuvenating shampoo 100ml
- Deep Repair Masque 100ml
- Moisture Rinse 60ml
- Nourishing Leave-In Cream 60ml
- Healing Oil infused comb
It all comes in a travel pouch with a product brochure and it's valued at 50 pound.

I have been using these products for over a month now and I have been loving each and everyone of them.

The comb comes in very handy for detangling wet hair without breaking it. The rest of the products are awesome on its own or used together for an even better result. My hair feels really soft and extra shiny, it also feels lighter and cleaner, I have never felt anything like this with other hair care products. All the frizziness I had in my hair has magically disappeared since I've been using this hair care treatment.

Even the nourishing leave-in cream is amazing, I usually doubt this type of product as they tend to weigh my hair down, but not this one. The healing oil is also much better than the argan oil I was using from Redken, so I am definitely hooked on Macadamia products until I find something better, which I doubt.

For the love of sharing,

18 November 2013

Sweater weather


Dear diary,

I am sooooo excited to tell you guys that I've found some gorgeous sweaters at the market this morning, especially because I just posted an entry last week about how difficult it is for me to find cosy, warm winter sweaters which won't itch on me.

So this morning I had to go to the farmer's market to get some spices to prepare the Chai latte tea I was talking about in an earlier post. I'm having some days off from work just to relax and do almost nothing as the rest of my vacation days I've spent on traveling.

As I haven't found any nice sweaters online, and believe me, I've been searching like crazy, computer headaches included from the many hours browsing and selecting, I thought I could have a look at the weekly market here in town.

I've been extremely lucky this morning and have found not one, not even two but four sweaters for 10€ each, yay! Two of them are to wear in between seasons with long sleeves, round neck, loose and made from a very soft and thin cotton, one in burgundy and the other one in taupe. The other two are warmer and will really be nice for those cold winter days, they are made from a very soft, fluffy material, are more fitted and have a V neck, one in an electric medium blue and the other in a greyish beige color. I've also purchased a plain burgundy scarf and something I've been wanting to have since this summer: a chevron print dress. Yay!

As I spent so little I gave myself a little present and purchased a very cute bag for my new acquisition: my macbook pro 13" laptop computer.

Total spent: 60,75€

For the love of sharing,

13 November 2013

2014 Blogger Challenge


Dear diary,

Gaby from AnotherGirlyBlg has come up with a wonderful idea for all kinds of bloggers: the #2014BloggerChallenge.

The participants will get some topics to write about twice a month, so even though my blog posts are mostly beauty related I am very much liking the idea about having to write about something completely different.

I am not the greatest writer and I have known this since forever but I started this blog as a means to improve my English and maybe get lucky by getting to know more beauty obsessed people like.

If someone is reading this blog and wants to join in the fun please visit: Anothergirlyblg for further instructions.

I want to thank my first made blogger friend Zoe Archer for posting the info for this event.

For the love of sharing,




10 November 2013

Invierno


Querido diario,

Llegan esos días en los que has de ir disfrazada para no pasar ni demasiado frio ni asarte de calor.

Este año al paracer los dias de frío se estan haciendo de rogar y por mí estupendo. No me gusta nada el invierno por el simple hecho de que me cuesta encontrar ropa de abrigo con la que me encuentre cómoda. No soporto la lana ni los tejidos acrílicos por lo que comprar jerseys de invierno me resulta bastante complicado.

Cuando voy de tiendas y veo algún jersey que me guste me tengo que parar para rebuscar por dentro hasta encontrar la dichosa etiqueta que me confirme que la composición es 100% algodón y comprar en internet resulta igual de complicado. Lo normal es encontrar jerseys de algodón horribles o que los que me gusten sean de lana o alguna mezcla de acrílico.

Creo que tengo jerseys en el armario que tendrán mas de 10 años y no los puedo renovar por lo complicado de encontrarles sustituto. Menos mal que el verano está ya a la vuelta de la esquina ( quien no se consuela es porque no quiere).

Todo esto porque acabo de ver un video de la encantadora y siempre feliz Tanya Burr en el que muestra sus compras de otoño-invierno y enseña un jersey monísimo con motivos navideños y si hay algo que me guste del invierno es todo lo relativo a la navidad: decoración, villancicos, dulces, pasar más tiempo con tus seres queridos y sonreír más a menudo. Corriendo me he metido en Asos para mirar jerseys similares al de Tanya pero al ver la composición me ha cambiado la cara: acrílico bua bua bua.

De momento me tendré que conformar con mi calendario de adviento de Cadbury y mis velas con olor a manzana y canela...

Empezando la cuenta atrás para las navidades,



6 November 2013

New tea discovery


Dear diary,

You know how much I love tea: I make ice tea with lemon juice in the summer and lots and lots of hot tea during winter.

Last winter I alternated between the classic Earl Grey, the recently discovered very fragrant and strong lapsang souchong and the lighter and flowery scented alternative: the lychee-jasmine tea.

As they found a polyp on my right vocal cord and while I'm awaiting the subsequent operation I was recommended not to drink any too hot beverages. I didn't think I could give them up but apparently I'm more strong willed than I thought to be: I patiently wait a few minutes until my tea is lukewarm before I take a sip and enjoy it just the same as before. I was also told to take thyme infusions, so I did, and they are really not as bad as they sounded. I found a local supermarket that sells a mix of thyme, rosemary, eucalyptus and mint, it tastes really nice even without sugar.

At work I take the thyme infusions to soothe my throat and prevent my voice from cracking down, I always keep some cookies in my desk drawer and nibble on them while I type response emails to my customers/taxpayers.

When at home, I don't care that much about my voice so I take regular tea, normally after dinner and sometimes later in the evening. In the weekends I take a huge cup with breakfast and then some more during the day.

It's not that I don't drink enough water because I do, I take up to 9 big glasses of water while at work and maybe two or three more glasses at home. In the past I hardly drank any water at all but when I started working at a pharmacy I learned the importance of drinking enough water. What really convinced me was the fact that water is food for the skin and since I'm so obsessed with skincare it really convinced me to drink more.

I think the meaning of this post is to say that you can make changes in your routine that may appear a big deal but afterwards upon looking back they don't seem to have cost you that much. You only need to take it step by step and try not to make too many changes at the same time. You need to learn how to crawl before you can walk, or something like that.

Next on the list is cutting down on salt, boo hoo hoo, I really don't think I can manage that!

The real reason for this post is to talk about my recent tea discovery: the Chai latte
Chai Latte
I tried it last year for the first time and I loved it, but never thought about it again until last weekend my good friend Tania invited us for a barbecue at her place and offered us a cup of chai latte after supper. In one word: heavenly!

She mixes Twinings Chai Tea bags with a cinnamon stick, two pieces of star anise, two pieces of cardamom and some brown sugar. She lets this steep for 5 minutes or so and serves 2 big cups or 3 smaller ones. You can really modify this recipe to your own taste, also by adding more spices, for example: cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, fennel. It is also said to be served with honey instead of sugar but I particularly don't like putting honey in my tea as I need half a bottle to taste any sweetness. I know I said I don't sugar my tea but in this case it's just as important as the other ingredients. Imagine yourself asking for a Moroccan mint tea without the mountains of sugar they serve it with! You would get flogged for sure...

When looking for more information about the chai tea I especially liked this post: Simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chai/

I also read some articles about the benefits of the chai latte, I've listed only a few:

- Black tea: rich in antioxidants, prevents cardiovascular diseases and protects good cholesterol
- Cinnamon: balances blood sugar and has digestive properties
- Cardamom: supports immune system, helps detoxify the body and improves circulation
- Cloves: pain reliever, antiseptic and antibacterial
- Black pepper: supports metabolism and circulation, alleviates chronic coldness
- Nutmeg: helps with digestion, eases sciatica and treats kidney and lymph problems
- Star anise: is a good cough remedy and can also be used as a breath freshener
- Ginger: stimulant for the circulatory and the immune systems
- Fennel: treats kidney and ocular problems as well as laryngitis

Thanks to Tania for introducing me to a world of anti-ageing benefits,

2 November 2013

October empties


Dear diary,

I've been busy and lazy this week so it's high time for a new post.

It's time again for my monthly empties:
Helena Rubinstein Golden Beauty after sun
This is a face after sun cream that I like using when I've spent too many hours sunbathing so it has lasted me a long time. I normally only go for 2 two hours on the weekends but when I'm on vacation or are really having a great time at the beach I like giving my face a special moisturizing and calming treatment, even though I always put on a 50+ sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours. I think it cost me about 20€ but I have not repurchased it as I like trying out different brands. It was alright though, it has a thick consistency and is very moisturizing, about the calming properties I cannot say as I haven't burnt my face in a really, really long time...
Pureology Antifade Superstraight hair serum
This is a sort of silicone based heat and color protecting serum for the hair. I've had it for the longest time, I have had a love-hate relationship with it and just when I was beginning to really like it it died on me. But I'm happy again as I'm loving my Macadamia Natural oil luxe travel kit I got for free when making a purchase at Look Fantastic.
Make up remover wipes by Deliplus
I finished my cleansing face wipes as I only had a few left and I don't like to leave them dry out. They come in handy when I'm really tired but don't use them very often. They aren't special, just a cheap supermarket brand. I don't need to repurchase them as I got a pack of Uriage micellar thermal water wipes for free when I bought a one-year subscription to ELLE magazine.
NIVEA Dry comfort deodorant
My favourite deodorant to prevent BO: it only costs 2€ and is very gentle on the skin, it doesn't leave any ugly marks on my clothes, and most important I like the scent.
Mary Kay Timewise 3-in-1 cleansing gel
My face wash: the 3-in-1 cleanser that says to cleanse, softly exfoliate and refresh the skin. It's a very gently cleanser even though it contains a few exfoliating granules, I use this on a daily basis, normally in the morning, I have a different one for my evening skin care routine. It cost me about 25€ if I'm not mistaken but it has lasted me over a year, you only need the smallest amount. I'm trying out a different brand now but I'll definitely repurchase it in the future.
Vasenol aloe fresh body lotion
And my last product is a body lotion I use at night time, it's not sticky, which I hate and is quickly absorbed by the skin, it leaves a faint fresh grassy-like scent. I've already repurchased it and has cost me  2,59€ for a 400 ml bottle.

For the love of sharing,

27 October 2013

Field of stars


Dear diary,

This year I made a long time dream come true...
Compostela
I walked the Way of Saint James, well at least the last 100 Km that is needed to obtain the certificate and dragged my husband with me, lol.
We decided to take the original way and started off in Lugo and walked the first 18,5 Km until San Romao da Retorta where we had the 12-bed hostel all to ourselves, well maybe not quite...

This first stage was pretty easy, even though I'm not used to walking long distances and had never carried a backpack before in my life (school bag doesn't count).
The second stage was more difficult as we went through mountain passes with lots of ups and downs until we arrived in Melide. We walked about 30 Km that day in the hot sun and stayed at the overcrowded pilgrims hostel.
As a special treat for having walked so far we had a humongous T-bone steak at Casa Quinzan where Mariano, the manager, was nice enough to share his own dulce de leche and made me some pancakes.
The third day was the worst, my feet started to hurt so we stopped at Ribadiso to soak them in the icy waters of the Iso river. We continued our journey to Arzúa but I could hardly walk anymore, my feet were full of blares. My husband suggested we should walk back 2 Km to Ribadiso and stay at their beautiful hostel but I was so frustrated to go back instead of forward that it took him a long time to convince me. Total walking distance: 14 Km + 2 Km back: 16 Km.
We were lucky to have stayed at the Ribadiso hostel, even though it was full, the layout and partitions of the big dormitories where better made for having a quiet night's sleep. I rested my feet and took good care of my blares but best of all was that I could watch the F1 race at the restaurant, yay!
The following day we started off badly, my feet still hurt a lot and I only could walk at a really slow pace. After a 3-hour walk we stopped to have lunch and I took some Ibuprofen for the pain, something I never do as I hate taking meds. There we met a group of very nice people and we continued with them until O Pedrouzo but it was still early (13:00) and there were only 18 Km left to Santiago de Compostela so we decided to continue and give it a try.

In fact, we had planned to stay at the Santa Irene hostel but my husband was so wrapped up in his conversation that he didn't hear me scream his name when we passed by. As I was also having a good time and felt much better I let it pass and we walked the extra 4 Km.

What should have been a 5 day journey ended up in a 4th day nightmare, we wanted to arrive to Compostela so badly that the last 5 Km seemed endless. My blares started to burst so I had to walk the last 3 Km in my flip flops and my husband's knee started to hurt so much that he really couldn't have walked any further. But we had made it! A total of 40 Km on this last day proved to be a bit too much for us. Tears were running down my face at the sight of the magnificent Cathedral:

We stayed at the Parador Hotel:
And enjoyed the Galician gastronomy:

The best anecdote from this journey was that I got attacked by a ferocious hungry feline:
For the love of sharing,

25 October 2013

Nighttime skin care routine


Dear diary,

I usually take a shower before going to bed but before that I take most of my make up off.

With the help of a maxi cotton pad I remove my make up with a cleansing milk + toner or a two-in-one product, I like to switch products now and again so I use whatever I have at hand at the moment. When I'm really lazy or tired I take a cleansing wipe but a pack of 20 facial wipes can last me half a year or even more. I prefer not using them on a regular basis as they aren't that good for your skin.

As for the eye make up I have a special eye make up remover but when I haven't put on a real heavy eye make up look I can skip this step altogether, which is the case most days.

Once a week I use my Dermanew microdermabrasion system, I wrote a full post on this subject not so long ago. This is part of my deep cleansing routine.

While in the shower I use a baby shampoo to remove any left over mascara and eye make up, then I take a bit of facial wash for the rest of my face. I like using a facial foaming net I bought while in Tokyo earlier this year, it helps building up a lot of foam so the product can really work in your pores and cleanse them more thoroughly. You also prevent rubbing your skin with your hands, this is really a bad idea according to skin experts. The foam gets so thick that when you apply it on your face your fingers don't directly touch your skin.

I never use a towel to dry my face, instead I have a box of paper tissues in my bathroom so I pat-dry my face with those, it's more hygienic and soft for your skin.

As for moisturizing I start with a serum that I apply over my whole face and neck area, even on my eyelids, this time I use an eye cream on the entire eye area, lids included, as opposed to my morning skin care routine, and lastly a firming night cream.

A list of the products I'm currently using:

- Clarins One-step facial cleanser with orange extract
- MAC pro eye makeup remover
- L'Óreal micellar water
- Johnson's and Johnson's baby shampoo
- Clinique rince-off foaming cleanser
- Clarins Double-serum complete age control concentrate
- Mary Kay Timewise repair volu-firm eye renewal cream
- Mary Kay Timewise repair volu-firm night treatment with retinol

For the love of sharing,

21 October 2013

Best new product


Dear diary,

I've found the perfect body lotion for lazy people, like me.
NIVEA in shower body lotion
It's a new product from NIVEA, you have two options: one for normal skin and this one which is for dry skin. It contains almond oil, is sold in a 400ml bottle and cost about 4,80€.

And what's so new about a body lotion for dry skin, you may ask?

I don't have enough time in the mornings to use a body lotion, during summer I put a bit on my legs as I use to wear more dresses and skirts but that's it. It's in the evenings when I take another shower before going to bed and have the time to use a body lotion all over.

This lotion is meant to be used while in the shower, so it saves you a lot of time and you don't have to wait till the product is absorbed to dress yourself.

So, basically you apply this after having cleansed your skin with your regular body wash, soap, gel or whatever and you also rinse it off. After drying your skin with your towel, it leaves your skin feeling silky and moisturized for a long time.

Regarding smell, it doesn't have any scent so if you like using strong scented lotions this isn't the product for you.

They could improve the packaging as it would be more useful if sold with a pump system: it's a bit of a nuisance to pop it open and click it shut every time plus you have to be very careful not to drop the bottle when picking it up with your slippery hands. Another downside to this product is that it's kept upside down for practical reasons but this means that some product tends to accumulate around the cap which is a bit messy for my taste.

For the love of sharing,

17 October 2013

Microdermabrasion


This is what I've been using as a deep cleanser/exfoliator every week over the past year: it's the DermaNew Facial Rejuvenation System:
DermaNew Microdermabrasion system
It contains:
  • Dual action resurfacing tool
  • Crystal microdermabrasion cream 50ml
  • 1 large teardrop foam applicator (for body)
  • 1 small teardrop foam applicator (for face)
  • 1 soft-bristle pore cleansing brush (for face)
  • 2 AA batteries
  • Tool cap stand
Ingredients of the microdermabrasion cream:
  • mineral crystals
  • green tea (antioxidant)
  • Bacopa monniera (anti-inflammatory)
  • grapeseed extract (neutralises free radicals)
  • oat extract (soothing and nourishing)
It says to:
  • achieve smooth, even-toned, healthy-looking skin
  • polish and refine skin
  • diminish wrinkles, fine lines and pore size
  • decrease visible signs of aging and sun damage
  • reveal healthy new skin with a radiant glow
I really like to use the brush applicator once a week to thoroughly clean my face and remove any dirt and bacteria that is accumulating on my skin. I just remove all my make up first and then I put a bit of my usual cleanser on the brush, I dot it onto my skin and press the start button. I brush my whole face and neck area with a circular motion until the timer runs out (it stops by itself after 2 minutes).

Every other week I use the foam applicator with the microdermabrasion cream. It says you can use it 2-3 times per week but I don't like putting my skin under so much stress, I don't know it doesn't seem very natural to exfoliate that thoroughly so often.

I normally use the brush applicator on the lower speed and the exfoliator on the higher speed but that's the way I feel comfortable using it. The lower speed is intended for more sensitive skin types. I also avoid using it in the shower even though it says it's water-resistant and can be used safely.

I bought this on recommendation of Kandee Johnson and also because it's much cheaper than the renowned Clarisonic cleansing system.

I got it from: Dermacaredirect where it only costs 49.99£ whereas at a Spanish website it costs 84€, trust me, it's a huge difference.

To clean the sponge and brush applicators I use an anti-bacterial soap that I have for cleaning my make up brushes and sponges.

About the promises they make: I've noticed some improvement in the reduction of wrinkles and fine lines, not so much in pore-size, they still appear humongous to me. It hasn't improved any sun damage: I have 4 large dark spots from taking contraception pills and sunbathing, but I don't think there's a way to get rid of them unless I get them surgically removed and commit to staying out of the sunlight until my dying day: so no thanks!

It certainly polishes and smoothes out the skin leaving a very clean, healthy and radiant looking skin.

To summarize: it only fails in one category, so for me that is quite an achievement.

Sorry I can't compare it to the Clarisonic but I have never tried it and I don't think I'll have it in me to spend three times the price of the DermaNew.

For the love of sharing,

13 October 2013

Asphyxia


Dear diary,

No, I'm not having trouble breathing, it's just my new Urban Decay eye shadow with which I'm so obsessed about since I bought it a couple of weeks ago. It's a gorgeous duo-chromed shadow in a light purple color.
Urban Decay Asphyxia eye shadow
I own a few UD palettes: the "old" Ammo palette which was my first ever UD product, the 15th Anniversary palette and the Smoked one, I also have the build your own palette which is why I thought of getting the Asphyxia shadow to fill my yet empty (but one) palette.
Urban Decay Asphyxia eye shadow
And no, I don't own any NAKED palette, I'm not that much of a neutral kind of gal, I love using color combinations and I don't need that many brown/copper/golden hues. I really wanted to purchase the LORAC PRO palette but I haven't been successful yet, I'll have to wait until March, when a friend of mine is going to the U.S.

I had nothing special planned for yesterday but as I've just recovered from a bad stomach flu I decided to get myself pampered up and put on a full-face make up only to go shopping for groceries:
Make up products
Face:

Lise Watier Base Miracle Pore Minimizing Primer
Base: Dior Airflash foundation in 300 medium beige
Foundation brush: flat kabuki brush from Coastal scents
Concealer: bo-ing in 01 from Benefit
Concealer brush: Real Techniques domed shadow brush
Eye primer: Urban Decay primer potion
Setting powder: Studio Fix from MAC in NW30
Powder brush: Real Techniques multi task brush
Highlighter: Pearls from Deliplus (Supermarket brand)
Highlighter brush: duo fiber from IQQU
Blush: sweetheart eye shadow from the Stila lovely eye palette

Eyes:

Make Up For Ever aqua cream in 01 Anthracite as a base, applied with fingers
Asphyxia from UD blended into the crease, C433 Pro Blending brush from CS
Polyester bride from UD in the tearduct area,  Frontcover rounder shader brush
Chinois from Stila on the brow bone, Frontcover fluff + buff brush
24/7 Glide-on eye pencil from UD in Perversion to the tight line
MUFE aqua eyes in 11L purple on the waterline
Black liquid eye liner from BeYu and blackout eye shadow from UD to soften the line
Dramatical eyes base for lashes from Shiseido
False lashes volum' express mascara from Maybelline

Lips:

Maybelline lip liner in 132 sweet pink
Dior Addict lipstick in 433 délice
L'Óreal Glam Shine gloss in 407 Magnetic nude glow

Setting spray: Baby face mist from ARITAUM

I wanted to give my recently bought Airflash foundation a second chance as I had only tried it once before and was not happy with the results. I only used the foundation without applying a base primer or any setting powder on top just to see how it would last on my oily skin: I was looking like light bulb within the first half hour. 

This time I decided to prep my skin carefully with a primer, powder and setting spray and the results have been completely different, I only had to blot my face twice at 5 and 7 hours of wear and after a total of 10 hours I still had some foundation left: a bit patchy but I'd only used one thin layer of foundation without building it up. 

As for the shade, it matched my skin perfectly thanks to the Sephora color IQ. It's very simple, you go to their website, choose a foundation you're currently using that matches your skin color and they give you a color IQ number, I'm IR09. So when you want to buy a different brand you only need to find the one that matches your number without needing to go in store personally, perfect for online shopping!

I also look for online pictures of swatches to be more certain before choosing the winner. I always choose the lighter shade when in doubt as it's easier to build up that down and many foundations tend to oxidize with time which means they get darker than what they show in the bottle.

For the love of sharing,

11 October 2013

Hot oil


Dear diary,

I’ve been recently loving this hair treatment. I “bought” it at my mother’s a few months back. She had like three or four packs stacked up in her bathroom drawer so I convinced myself that she wouldn’t miss them, well I first took one to try it out and as it proved to be an excellent product I went back a month later and took another.

I use it once a month or when my hair really needs an extra boost of hydration.
Hot Stuff Hot Oil and Conditioning Treatment
It’s a two-step treatment, first you wash your hair with your regular shampoo, you rinse it well and towel-dry your hair before using step 1. You leave it in for 1 minute, meanwhile you put the step 2 sachet in hot water (I use a mug) and leave it there to warm up for 1 minute. You completely rinse off the conditioner from step 1 and with damp hair, no need to towel-dry this time, you apply the hot oil from the step 2 sachet and leave it in for another minute, then you rinse it off and you dry and style your hair like always.

You can really tell the difference after using this treatment, my hair looks shinier and feels more hydrated and healthy, my stupid flyaways/babyhair (I really have a lot of them, especially around my temples where they tend to curl) are tamed down for some time so I would love to use this every week.

In the past I’ve used some similar hot oil products but they were nothing compared to this one. I’ll definitely find out where to purchase them in the future, but only after my mom runs out of them, lol.

I have extremely difficult hair to work with: hardly have any at all as its sparse, fine, oily and the ends split easily when it gets too long. But well, on the other hand I don't have many greys, yet... I dye my hair every two months or so and I do it myself so I can spend the hairdresser's money on something else.

I tried to get my first selfie especially for this blog, I have no make up on as I've been very ill this past week and this was the first day I ventured out for a walk, my hair looked nice though without having done anything special: I let it air dry and just combed it. I used no styling products at all, only the amazing hot oil treatment.



Can't find a picture of me with a bad hair day, though. I will upload one sooner than you think!

For the love of having a good hair day,