30 November 2015

November Yays & Nays


Dear readers,

I'm a bit fed up with the boring title of my monthly empties so lets try something different. As I alway prefer to end on a positive note I'm going to list all my Nays first:
Druni nail polish remover: cheap one from the drugstore, nothing worth mentioning.

Kebelo Clarifying shampoo: this came in my Look Fantastic box a few months back but it contains sulfates and that's a big Nay for me.

Yves Rocher Comme une Evidence shower gel: this was my favorite scent but they seem to have changed the formulation since I last used it and it doesn't smell the same.

Caudalie Vinopure purifying masque: this was a freebie with some purchase a while back and I've used it all up as you can see, but it's just blah! Didn't notice any improvement in my skin's texture or appearance. I only like the scent as it smelled like rosemary or something similar.
As for my Yays:

Kinetics Hand & Soul hibiscus & rose water hand lotion: best hand lotion I've ever used, lightweight but moisturizing and with a fantastic scent. This is my second bottle and I'm going through my favourite scented one at the moment: mandarin & bergamot. 

Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express mascara: an oldie but a goodie, my fave drugstore mascara.

Garnier Pure Active Fruit Energy cleansing gel with grapefruit, pomegranate and vitamin C: I came upon this by chance and I loved it so much that I'm going through a second bottle. I love the scent and it removes my mascara like any other cleansing lotion/gel/balm/oil/etc. It leaves the skin squeaky clean and that's exactly what I'm going for with my super oily skin.

Babé Anti Cellulite Firming cream gel: another product I purchased by chance, it was on sale so I thought to try it out. The scent is masculine and rich, which I quite enjoyed and, although it's a pretty thick formula, it absorbs fairly quickly. It gives you time to work it into the skin in a circular motion like they tell you to do.

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque: I'm so thankful to Casey Holmes to share this product in her YouTube videos, it's a miracle product. It leaves the hair so nourished and soft that you won't be able to live without this ever again. I just ordered a big pot on Black Friday.

Enzymion Facial Moisturizer by Lush: this has been my go to daily moisturizer in the Summer time, it's a watery formula, perfect for us oily skin types. 

Darphin Melaperfect Hyper Pigmentation Skin Tone Brightening Moisturizer with SPF 20: longest name ever, I really enjoyed the formula but I can't say I noticed any brightening from just a sachet so I'd like to get the full size product and see if it can hide some of my annoying sun spots.

How was your month? Any (un)favorites you want to share with us?

28 November 2015

5 underrated but extremely helpful beauty tools


Dear readers,

These handy tools are in need of some love as they, more often than not, are left out of beauty talk, but to me they are most helpful and essential at times.

A heated eyelash curler.

It's battery operated, you turn it on and wait a moment for it to warm up. Meanwhile you apply your gazillion coats of mascara and before the final coat gets to dry completely you press your lashes with the device and hold it in the desired position so when the mascara dries it will hold the curl you gave your lashes with the wand. Don't use the wand like you would a mascara, moving it up the lashes as that will clump up them up, you don't want that. Well, at least I don't, if you love clumpy lashes, no judgement here!
Lash comb/lid guard.

If you are a beginner in make up this tool will save your life plenty of times. I still keep it within easy reach as I'm trying out different mascaras at the moment and I like to keep my lashes pretty natural looking. On one side you have a brush to separate the lashes and on the other you have a lid guard, you can either use it to avoid getting mascara transferred onto your eyelids or, what I like using it for is to brush the lashes against it so they are thinly coated.
Spatulas.

I never thought these would come in so handy. I've always worn my nails quite short so I never encountered any issue derived from wearing longer nails. When scooping up cream products these are your best friend plus this is way more hygienic than using your fingers. 
Is your hair in the way? Just clip it back or tie it up, whatever your choice it will keep your make up application fuzz free.
And for the most underrated item: a box of tissues. 

I keep one in every room of the house. Instead of using a towel to pat dry my face after cleansing I use these, that way I'm always using a clean one and not transferring bacteria from my towel to my face. To spot clean my brushes, I wet them with my MAC brush cleanser and dry them by swirling them on a tissue. There are many more uses I can think of but you get the drift...
Which are your beauty tool essentials?

25 November 2015

Christmas playlist: my top 10 movies


Dear readers,

Have you ever had the feeling that it wasn't really Christmas until you got to see a certain film? To me and the hubby it's Little Women. Either if it's the older version or this one with Winona Ryder we have to watch it once to really get in the Christmas mood. 

Nowadays we don't have the same issues we had when we were children, we can watch it either on Netflix, Apple TV, DVD, video streaming or whatever, whenever we feel like.

Love Actually is also a favourite of ours and I've lost count of how many times I've watched it. It makes me feel hopeful and reminds me that there's still good in people's hearts.
The Nightmare before Christmas gives you a totally different perspective on the holidays and is just a work of art. 
Scrooged is an all time favourite. I love Bill Murray, especially in Groundhog Day: best movie ever!
The Holiday adds a bit of romance to the Christmas season.
Jack Frost sends a message across: don't let your life go by without spending time with your loved ones while you can.
Maybe too childish for some, I still enjoy watching Tim Allen in The Santa Clause.
We watched New Year's Eve last year for the first time and we agreed on including it in this year's playlist. I like these kinds of movies where many separate stories blend together in the end.
The Polar Express adds some needed magic to our lives, being grownups we tend to forget about that sometimes.
A Christmas Carol: a timeless Christmas story that should never be forgotten: be kind and helpful to others, don't judge without knowing, be respectful and polite, always!
As a bonus I'm sharing with y'all what I like to watch on my last day off before going back to work in January. It can't be categorized as a Christmas movie but for some reason I enjoy binge watching it at the end of the year. I stay in bed that morning and I don't stop until I've watched them all. Funny fact is that I hated the movies when they first came out. I found them tiringly slow and boring but I feel like reading the books afterwards helped me fill in the blanks and understand the characters better as they leave many things unsaid and too much is going on in their heads that doesn't translate to the screen.

What's your all time favourite Christmas movie? 

23 November 2015

Sephora Times Square haul


Dear readers,

I've complained before about the Sephora stores in Spain. They only carry certain brands apart from their own range of products and they never do anything out of the ordinary like holiday or favorite sets like the stores in the States do.

Another added problem with trying out beauty or make up products is that you cannot return them to the store in case you haven't liked them. That leaves me few choices: do a lot of research online through other bloggers/customers who have the same skin issues as mine or, purchase a product and commit to using it up even when it doesn't turn out to be what I was expecting.
Sephora Holiday sets haul
Sephora U.S. opened their international delivery service not long ago but: 1. they don't deliver to Spain and 2. the shipping fee is too high to be worth while. My only alternative is to beg for friends and coworkers to bring me some stuff when they travel to the U.S.A. I've been quite lucky in that department and I did get the Too Faced Most Loved set a few months back and these two boxes, last Saturday.
Sephora Holiday sets haul
Mascara is one thing that lasts me a long time. I am aware that you should change your mascara every 3 months but it takes me up to 8 months to go through a whole bottle. Mini sizes are my best friend so when I saw this set of 8 mascaras I immediately added it to my wish list. 

Another great value set it this one by Too Faced. I love the pigmentation of the Melted Lipsticks so I can't go wrong there but I've never tried the Love Flush blushes. Hopefully they are blendable and long wearing. If not, I won't mind, they are so tiny and cute that I'll enjoy them looking at them.
Too Faced Melted Kisses & Sweet Cheeks
The Too Faced Melted Kisses & Sweet Cheeks is a 36$ set that comes with:
Too Faced Melted Fig & Your Love is King
Melted lipstick in Fig and Love Flush blush in Your Love is King. The lipstick comes out kind of purple toned in the picture but I'd say it's more of a muted mauve. I'm pretty sure this will my favourite of the bunch. 
Too Faced Melted Nude and Love Hangover
Melted lipstick in Nude and Love Flush blush in Love Hangover are peach toned.
Too Faced Melted Peony and Justify my Love
Melted lipstick in Peony and Love Flush blush in Justify my Love are a medium pink.
Sephora Favorites Lashstash
The Lashstash Mascara Sampler retails for 45$ and contains:

  1. Buxom Lash Mascara 6 ml/0.2 fl oz
  2. Make Up Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara 4 ml/0.13 fl oz
  3. Roller Lash Mascara by Benefit 3 g/0.1 oz
  4. Better Than Sex Mascara by Too Faced 4.8 g/0.17 oz
  5. YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils 2 ml/ 0.06 fl oz
  6. Blinc Mascara 2.4 g/0.08 oz
  7. Marc Jacobs O!Mega Lash Volumizing Mascara 2.83 g/0.09 oz
  8. NARS Audacious Mascara 3 ml/0.10 fl oz
  9. Tarte picture perfect eyelash curler
  10. Tarte best in faux lash extending fibers 0.3 g/0.01 oz
  11. Hourglass Mechanical Gel Eye Liner 0.06 g/0.0002 oz

Sephora Favorites Lashstash
They are all black mascaras that I haven't tried out before, except for the Better than Sex one that I'm currently using as it came in the Too Face Most Loved set I spoke of earlier. I'm actually very picky with my mascaras as I don't like them to clump up my lashes or to smudge under my eyes and I don't like them too watery or too dry either. 
Sephora Favorites Lashstash
This will be the perfect chance to try out a bunch of different mascaras and find out if anyone compares to my beloved Lights, Camera, Lashes by Tarte. As for a drugstore version I like the Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express mascara.

Have you tried any of these products before? Any thoughts? 

21 November 2015

Katari Body Lotion Olive Oil & Aloe


Dear readers,

In a previous post I already talked about Katari soaps and reviewed their green tea soap, now it's time to talk about their body lotion.

This is what they have to say about it on their website:

Katari Body Lotion Olive Oil & Aloe has added to its formula based in pure olive oil as its main restoring and nutritive agent, the beneficial properties of Aloe Vera.

Aloe Vera is a powerful astringent that has the property of thoroughly cleaning the three layers of our skin. With this extensive cleaning, we achieve a complete unclogging of both pores and glandular ducts, allowing for nutrients and water to penétrate with ease all the way to the hypodermic layer.

Another property of Aloe Vera is its great regenerating capacity. This is based on the Vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6 and B12) and polysacarids present on Aloe Vera. Both together convert it into an active stimulant. It’s main functions are to flexibilize the elastic fibers of the dermis strengthen the colagen fibers and estimulate the production of epitelial cells. With Katari Body Lotion Olive Oil & Aloe you will give your skin the perfect treatment to keep it young and healthy.
Katari body lotion olive oil & aloe
I've been using it at nighttime for over a month and I'm ready to share my thoughts with y'all.

First, the packaging is quite simple but feels very luxurious with the gold detailing. The design is branded on the sturdy plastic bottle and adds a good grip to avoid slipping. I like that, as I hate when the stickers start to peel off the bottle and you end up with sticky hands. 

The scent is so faint but not enough to call this product scentless. It doesn't have a distinguishable perfume, is what I mean to say. 

As for the texture it's a very lightweight, milky formula that feels very silky to the touch, it glides on the skin and is quickly absorbed. 

Ingredients:

Aqua, Olea Europea, Glycerin, Isopropy Myristate, Paraffinum liquidum, Synthetic wax, Aloe Barbadensis, Propilene glycol, Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Glyceril Stearate, Sorbitol, Triethanolamine, Polysorbate 60, Bisabolol, Lactic Acid, Diazolidinyl urea, Potassium sorbate, Sodium benzoate, Tocoferol acetate, Sodium hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Butylphenyl methylpropional, Linalool, Limonene.

Contains 250ml and is made in Spain.
Katari soaps
My final thoughts on this product are that I've really enjoyed using it and will continue to do so. I don't particularly like thick formulas that take long to apply and to absorb although I miss it having a stronger scent which is why I will be sticking to The Body Shop body butters in the winter time and their more lightweight formulas such as the body sorbets during the warmer months. If you don't particularly care about the scent or are looking for an almost scentless body lotion that has some added benefits, I'd highly recommend getting this.

What are you looking for in a body lotion?

Disclaimer: PR sample. This is NOT a sponsored post, NO affiliate links were used. 


18 November 2015

7 reasons to love Real Techniques brushes


Dear readers,

When I started wearing make up on a regular basis I tried to save money on brushes as it seems expensive to pay up to 50€ on one item that's not even make up. After a while you realize that a brush can last you forever, if you take good care of it, so it's a good investment compared to an eyeshadow palette that you need to replace after 2 years (or so they recommend). I'm not saying that the more expensive brushes are better than the affordable ones as I've found duds within the higher end range and I've been gladly surprised with the cheapest alternatives.

Throughout those years (not many, I'd say 5 in total), I've ended up with more brushes that I'd need in my life, even if I quit my current job and became a make up artist. From all the brush brands that I own I have to choose the Real Techniques brushes of having the best price-quality ratio.
Real Techniques brushes
From left to right: the blush, multi-task, expert face, foundation, setting and domed shadow brushes. If I had to pick a must have, I'd go for the setting brush, I use it for multiple tasks: to blend and to set concealer, to apply powder to specific areas not having to powder your whole face and end up looking cakey, it's also perfect to apply highlight on the cheekbones and I sometimes even use it to dust an eyeshadow base to my eyelids.
Real Techniques brushes
My top 7 reasons for loving these brushes are:
  1. They are super soft
  2. They never loose their shape
  3. They don't shed
  4. They are a dream to clean, I don't know what they're made of but they get clean faster than any other brush
  5. They also dry quicker than other brushes
  6. They are sturdy, have a good grip and are pretty to look at
  7. They are affordable (6$-10$)
Real Techniques brushes
Have you tried RT brushes? 
Which one's your favourite (RT or other)?

16 November 2015

Spanish delicacies: Piononos


Dear readers,

There won't be any Mani Monday posts for a few weeks until I get my nails strengthened and ready for Christmas so I thought I'd continue with this food related series.

My downstairs neighbor and friend is originally from a small town in the Granada region. He visits quite frequently and when he does he always brings back some kind of food. Last time he went he brought me a box of Piononos
They came in a box like this, there were 12 of them and they were deep frozen so they could survive the journey (about 4 hours drive).
The ingredients are very simple: water, sugar, eggs, starch, flour, glucose, spices and cream of tartar.
The only way I've come up to to describing this is by comparing it to a plain muffin with a wet consistency and a sugared toasted cream on top.

According to the Wikipedia a Pionono has two parts: a thin layer of pastry rolled into a cylinder, fermented with different kinds of syrup which give the pionono a sweet and pleasant texture, crowned with toasted cream. 
I had never tried them before although I knew about them. They were very nice and I ate half the box but I have to say that they aren't mind-blowingly delicious so I won't be having them again unless my neighbor comes knocking on my door with another box.

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

13 November 2015

Easy and affordable Christmas Decorations


Dear readers,

It may seem too early to start decorating for Christmas but I needed to share my first ever DIY advent calendar with y'all. With Pinterest as my inspirational guide and the help of some talented bloggers I've been able to make the easiest advent calendar and spruce up my blogging space by adding some cute and festive printables.
Let's start with the advent calendar. I wanted something that wouldn't take too much work and at the same time easy to store away without taking up much space. I came across this post and was immediately sold. I already had a decorating ladder that I could use so I only needed to download and print out the envelopes. I got some Christmas themed ribbon when shopping at Primark for 2€ each and a pack of 50 tiny clothespins from my local supermarket for 1€. As for the illustrations for the envelopes I got them from this site and printed them out on adhesive sticker paper. 
The lighting was quite rubbish this afternoon but I had no other time to take the pictures for this post as I will be spending the weekend at a friend's for a surprise birthday party. 

My computer screensaver is from dottywrenstudio, it's a monthly calendar that you can download from their site at the beginning of the month, they do the cutest designs. In October they had one with cats, who doesn't love cats?
Speaking of cats, this is what mine was doing while I was taking the pictures for this post.
I can't remember exactly how I came upon these printables but I'm leaving you a link to the site in case you want to download them. I ended up printing them on regular paper so I imagine they would look even more stunning if printed on better quality paper and adding some shine as these are the matte version. 

The Merry and Bright one had some white peaking though the borders so I took some holiday themed masking tape I got from Tiger and covered the entire rim. The frames are from IKEA, I kept the prints I had on them behind the new ones so they are easy to change back come January.
My newest addition to my Christmas decorations are the bow and berry lights from Primark, they are 2.2m long and feature 20 battery operated fairy lights. 
They were 6€, a bit more expensive than the basic fairy lights they sell for 2€ but these are much more festive, don't you agree? 
Last but not least, our new Christmas mugs. I have a thing for stags and reindeers this year so when I saw these in the shop I had to take them with me. They were 3.95€ each and I chose the prancing reindeer while the hubby settled for the knitted sweater printed one, so cute!

Are you as excited for Christmas as I am?

11 November 2015

Vitamin C Anti Aging Serum by Maple Holistics


Dear readers,

Vitamin C, used topically, has great anti aging properties: it improves collagen production and it boosts the anti oxidant properties of Vitamin E. This translates into: getting firmer, smoother and brighter skin. It seems like a dream, doesn't it?

And it doesn't need to be expensive. I was sent this Vitamin C serum by Maple Holistics for review. It's only 11.77$ and it contains 30ml or 1 fl.oz. I've been using this for over a month and I'm 1/3 through the bottle so it should last me another 3 months, at least. I've been using it at nighttime only as I was already using a different Vitamin C serum during the day. I suppose that if you use this day and night under your moisturizer/treatment it will last you for 2 to 3 months.

List of ingredients:

Water, Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate), Vegetable Glicerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Vitamin E Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ferulic Acid, Algae Extract, Pullulan Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate. 
Vitamin C Anti Aging Serum by Maple Holistics
It comes in a brown glass bottle with a classic dropper. The bottle is opaque to prevent the light from oxidizing the Vitamin C, although I would have chosen a pump bottle in order to keep it shut at all times and not let any air (oxygen) into the bottle every time you open it. 
Vitamin C Anti Aging Serum by Maple Holistics
You need the tiniest amount (2 to 3 drops) to cover you face and neck. The formula is like a watery gel, at first it looks like an oil but when you work it into the palms of your hands it breaks down and expands like water. Instead of rubbing my face I like to gently pat the product onto the skin letting it set for a minute before applying my night cream. Right after application, the skin feels kind of sticky but it will dry down to a silky smooth texture. As for its scent it faintly smells like oxide when you're applying it but I like that they haven't added any artificial perfume and used all natural ingredients.
Vitamin C Anti Aging Serum by Maple Holistics
I do have some large sun spots (from not wearing proper sunscreen when I was younger) and I don't expect the Vitamin C to get rid of them but I've noticed quite an improvement in my skin's brightness. I have very oily skin but since using this I feel my skin looks more glowy* not to confuse it with shiny.
Vitamin C Anti Aging Serum by Maple Holistics
I've read somewhere that using Vitamin C topically can make your pores appear darker (due to the oxidizing) but I haven't noticed any of that, even though I have very large pores. Therefore, they recommend to exfoliate regularly (once or twice a week) while using a Vitamin C treatment, so keep that in mind. My skin being almost bullet proof, I haven't noticed any irritation but as it's an acid I guess that it can irritate some types of skins. If you have sensitive skin use it with caution and try putting it on a small patch of skin, first.

Maple Holistics are a U.S. based provider of holistic and therapeutic personal care/beauty products. You can purchase their products directly from their web site or through Amazon

Maple Holistic products provide beneficial formulas and ingredients to nourish and maintain a safe, healthy lifestyle. No unnecessary additives, no synthetic fragrances. All products contain pure, undiluted formulas with authentic essential oils. Real ingredients, real results.


Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. NO affiliate links where used. The product was sent to me for review as a PR sample but the opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. Any mistakes in or lack of information are entirely my fault.


9 November 2015

Mani Monday fail


Dear readers,

If you read my previous Mani Monday you'll know that I attempted to repair a broken nail with a piece of tea bag and some eyelash glue. It didn't work out the way it was supposed to and it broke off entirely the following day when it got stuck on my scarf.

I wanted to leave it grow back until it reached the same length as the rest of my nails but I noticed a few other nails looking a bit brittle so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to use my Dr. Lewinn's Renunail nail strengthener and give my nails a well deserved break. 
Dr. Lewinn's Renunail nail strengthener
I already used this product in May and I really noticed a huge difference in the appearance of my nails. Afterwards, I've been able to maintain them long for quite some time. The first time I used it, though, I didn't liked it at all but I gave it another chance and I'm very pleased with the results. 
Dr. Lewinn's Renunail nail strengthener
The way this is used is by putting on two coats the first day, another coat on top for every day for the following 5 days and remove it all on day 7; then start all over again and repeat for 3 more times. The formula is very gooey and thick and it smells awful so I'd advise to keep a window open when applying. I'm one third down the bottle so I'd say you can get 3 to 4 complete treatments.
Dr. Lewinn's Renunail nail strengthener
My fingers look so weird with short nails but I'm not too sad as this is the way I've worn my nails until very recently. Before, I just couldn't be bothered and only wore clear polish and used a nail clipper every other week, I'd never even used a nail file in my life!

What's your favourite way to wear your nails?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Japan Candy Box giveaway, it's open worldwide!