22 December 2016

Easy to store Christmas decorations


I can't take credit for any of the affordable Christmas decorations that I've tried to recreate in our home as they have all been found on Pinterest, but I wanted to share them with you anyway.

We used to decorate only our living room for the 10 years that we have been living in our 3 bedroom apartment (one actually, the others have been transformed, one into a walk-in-closet and the other into an office/make up station). As we don't have much storage space we tried to keep it to a minimum: a small artificial tree that I actually adore, tiny, tiny tree decorations and lots of fairy lights.
Last year I made an effort to include more decorations and decided on a few easy DIY. This year I've upgraded to better quality paper for the printables I found on Pinterest so I can reuse them next year as I haven't found any that I loved more than the ones I printed out last year.
I ordered 3 christmasy cushion covers from H&M, unfortunately a 4th (in red) was sold out and I had to leave the green and white in the back. They were pretty affordable but I used a Black Friday discount code to save the extra €.
The new winner this year has to be wash tape: no need for storage once the holidays are over! I already had a small but unused collection so when I saw these patterns on Pinterest I finally put them to good use. My fave is the reindeer, I've been obsessed over reindeers for the last 2 to 3 years and I love, love, love how this one turned out.
I think I did a pretty good job with the snowy mountains, they aren't perfectly symmetrical by any means but they are 1.5m wide so it wasn't an easy job to get them right all by myself. We have a bare wall in our bedroom just in front of our bed and it makes me extra happy when they greet me in the morning.
This is what the rest of the bedroom looks like: the lamp I got from my in laws, they brought it back from their recent trip to Myanmar and is just stunning, it's made of paper with real flowers embedded in it. The star is from Primark, I have a Christmas Garland Yankee Candle on my bedside table and the duvet cover I got this year from La Redoute. The printables are from Pinterest and the throw in the corner I got in Carrefour for only 14€ and it's super soft and fluffy.
This silver wire tree has been with me for ages and has a special place in my heart. The copper fairy lights are from Primark and the berries I can't remember where I got them but I've had them for a couple of years. The pine cones I just found in the wild and gave them a festive look by using discarded nail polish on them. Not sure I'd recommend it though, it takes ages to paint them and the final product is just not worth it, better to spray paint them!
And finally and example of my doorknob decorations, they are all different. This is the one for our bedroom, isn't he just adorable? They don't take up much space, I only keep one medium sized plastic storage box full of Christmas related things and a small box for my Yankee Candle holders.
Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas to y'all!

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31 August 2016

August Yays & Nays


I've really been enjoying the extra free time from not blogging regularly but empties posts are one of my fave to read and watch on YouTube and I've always enjoyed talking about the products that I've loved or not so much.
First, the Nays or Meh! products:

Macadamia Weightless Moisture shampoo

It says it's supposed to give texture to baby fine hair (such as mine) and lift, bodily and volumize it. Well, I can't truly say it doesn't exactly do that, the downside is that it makes my hair greasy a lot faster and that's definitely not what I'm going for as I already have very oily hair as it is.

Yves Rocher Protectyl Végétal after sun lotion

Although I loved it last summer my skin's not as dry as it was back then so I haven't enjoyed the texture as much as I used to.

Alterna Bamboo Color Hold hair conditioner

I enjoyed the shampoo from this range but the conditioner would leave my hair feeling very coarse and frizzy so I ended up using it as a shaving cream.

Refan deodorant

I 'd never heard of this brand before. It doesn't contain aluminum and it has a nice manly scent which I enjoyed very much. It's the first non aluminum deodorant that I've been able to use consistently without falling back to the anti-perspirant ones. It worked great in the winter time but during the warmer months I had to switch to another brand that didn't make me sweat as much as this one did. 
As for my Yays, most of them are my ride or die products:

The Body Shop Grapefruit shower gel

I've been switching between this scent and the Satsuma for a while now and I've never looked back. I also enjoy the Orangeasm by Soap & Glory but it's harder to get here in Spain.

Garnier PureActive Fruit Energy gel cleanser

This is my third? bottle already, it's very affordable and does a great job of removing leftover make up. I love using citrus scented products when I'm showering in the morning, they really help in waking me up.

Garnier Delial Golden Protect SPF 30

I've been in love with this formula for as long as I've been blogging but sadly it's time to say goodbye as it has been discontinued, whyyyyy???

EX1 Invisiwear liquid foundation

I've been switching foundations looking for the best formula and when I recently went back to this one, I fell in love. It's weird as I didn't enjoy it that much the first time around but compared to the L'Óreal Infallible Pro Mat or the Forever by Dior it lasts a lot longer and looks more flawless on my super oily skin.

15 August 2016

3 Year Blogiversary



image taken from pusheen.com

It's been quite an adventure and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world but lately I've been feeling like this stage in my life is coming to an end.

I feel like I've learned all I intended to and then some and it's time to move on and leave room for my newest hobbies.

Thanks for reading and see you around!


9 August 2016

Pokémon Go is taking over my life


I was in my late twenties when the Pokémon TV series were aired. Although most friends my age wouldn't dream of watching anime or cartoons unless their own kids made them watch, I've always enjoyed them. I remember being in Uni and setting my alarm to 8:00 on Sundays just to watch X-Men and go back to sleep afterwards.

When Pokémon Go was released I was thrilled. I've never played any Pokémon game before because I was born a generation too late but hey, I'm catching up!

This is a short post to tell y'all how this game has affected my life so far:
These are my strongest Pokémon so far. They're not exciting by any means but I'm waiting to pass level 20 and catch some higher value friends so they can evolve into powerful buddies.
I have a PokéStop just in front of my apartment and I can load up on PokéBalls from the bedroom if the GPS is feeling generous. Last Sunday, the hubby and I went down to the beach and I actually picked a spot within range of the PokéStop so I could fill up my bag every 5 minutes. I even used the countdown option from my phone so it would ring every 6 minutes (for good measure).
I didn't enter any gyms until late in the game as I was still finding out how things worked and how I was supposed to combat much higher CP Pokémons. I've recently found a gym near my office that I can take down every day during my coffee break. So far I've only been 6 times, that's 60 gold coins that I will exchange for an incubator once I've saved up enough of them.
Later today I'm going to head out with the hubby and try out the improved sightings feature that is supposed to be working now. My goal is to catch a few more MagiKarps in order to evolve one into a mighty Gyarados, only 50 left to go... wish me luck!

My favourite Pokémon from the TV series besides Pikachu was Charizard. He'd crack me up when he refused to fight, that's so like me, disobedient and lazy.

I also liked Vulpix and Eevie because they're sooo cute and fluffy. I've managed to capture a few Eevies but not enough yet to make a Vaporeon although I like Flareon better, but he's not near as good as his water counterpart in combat.

What about you? Are you playing Pokémon Go? What level are you at?

5 August 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!!!


Last Wednesday I turned 44, that's loads of ducks y'all: 22 + 22, lol.

As a birthday present to myself I took the day off from work yesterday. On the day itself I had lunch with my mom, her boyfriend (he's the one on my right) and my dear friend Tania.

They had a very nice and sweet surprise prepared for me: a delicious chocolate cake. I wish I had taken some pics of the view from the restaurant but as I live so close to the seaside I tend to forget that it really is something special.
My mom had given me some money that I put to good use. I was in need of some new sunglasses (I wear prescription glasses as I'm a bit nearsighted) and I chose these by Prada, you can see them better in the picture below.  
The lighting was awful in the store but hey, I'm all for keeping things real...
And last, but certainly not least, the hubby gave me the best present of all: an iPhone 5s. My old one had been stolen from my car back in February and I was making do with my old iPhone 4s. When I downloaded Pokémon Go it wouldn't work properly so he took pity on me.

On the day itself I finally got to catch my first Pikachu, yay!

2 August 2016

July Yays & Nays


I think I'm the only person rooting for the summer to end. Don't get me wrong, I love the heat, going to the beach and the longer days. What I can't stand are the crowds of tourists taking my parking space, filling up the beaches and walking around town in their swimwear, yuk!
July Yays
For my monthly empties I have a few Yays to share with you:

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil: I only used this to take off my eye make up as it easily dissolves mascara and liner. It's pretty gentle unless you leave it on for too long, then it starts to sting the eyes. 

The Body Shop Satsuma Body Sorbet: I love the scent and the refreshing gel type formula but I feel like it doesn't hydrate as much as a regular lotion.

Soap & Glory Hand Food: It's my forth tube already, I like that it dries fairly quick despite the thick consistency. I tend to go for fresh scents but this one's just the right amount of sweet.

Bióre UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50: My go to daily sunscreen. It's extremely lightweight and doesn't make me any oilier unlike European SPF brands.

Douglas nail polish removal pen: It's very helpful in getting rid of unwanted nail polish that has somehow transferred to the skin.

Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging eye cream: It's very creamy and hydrating but feels lightweight at the same time. I haven't had any issue with any brand concealer creasing on me when I'm wearing this underneath so it's definitely something that I'm going to repurchase in the future.

The Body Shop Vitamin C serum: I love the silicone consistency, one pump is enough and sometimes I feel like my oily skin doesn't need a moisturizer on top. I'm already going through my 4th bottle.
July Mehs
As for my Nays, I don't have any this month. The two products above are more like Meh! 

Lancôme Bi-Facil Instant Cleanser: This came in my Glamour Beauty Festival goodie bag otherwise I wouldn't have purchased it. I don't usually like these kind of two-phased cleansers. They work ok but I don't like how sticky the skin feels afterwards.

Hema Quick Dry Top Coat: I use more affordable top coats on my toes as the polish last me for ages. I can't get in Spain, though so I'll have to ask my Dutch friend Myrthe to bring me some next time she comes this way. Last time she brought me this nail strengthener so I suppose I do have a big Nay after all: never going to use that ever again!

Sorry my post didn't go up on Monday as usual but: no Wifi, you know #firstworldproblems. Although, does Spain even categorize as a first world country? You got me! Just kidding, not kidding.

28 July 2016

My Summer Home Scent: Zara Home Candle in Nordic Leather


The Nordic Leather line by Zara Home has been a recent and very pleasant discovery of mine. During the winter sales I picked up 3 candles of their new released scents and this one became my absolute favourite at the very first whiff as I love the smell of incense.

When the summer sales kicked off I immediately went online and ordered a few more candles as back up and a diffuser. Both the large and medium sized candles burn up to 80 hours and the 100ml diffuser will last you for a month. 
On their website the scent is described as follows:

"Dreams of incredible journeys through mysterious lands. Vibrant spicy notes are followed by mystical notes of incense intermingled with leather. A sensual base of amber blended with the creaminess of sandalwood."
I also love the pretty packaging, unfortunately they have just updated it to a basic white and grey. Hopefully they haven't changed the scent as well. I like this one much more than any of the Yankee Candle I've had before plus they are very affordable when purchased in the sales.

They've also come out with a hand wash and lotion. I'm so going to try those.

Have you tried any Zara Home candles?


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25 July 2016

Out of Order #6 + Coupon Codes

Pokémon Go
It's official, I've become one of the million freaks that are walking around trying to catch as many Pokémon as possible without being run over by a lorry or bump into a tree. I've only been able to collect 36 Pokémon so far because the app isn't working properly on my brand new iPhone 5s. 

I downloaded the game when I was still using my old iPhone 4s and it drove me crazy as it took ages to load up and would close the app by itself after a few minutes when left unused. Luckily, the hubby gifted me the iPhone 5s as an early birthday present, love you hon!

Unfortunately, the game still doesn't work properly as it freezes when capturing Pokémon. When I start the game up again the supposedly captured creature doesn't appear on my list, it's very frustrating. It also decides to freeze entirely by itself sometimes or it doesn't load up properly.
As I don't have anything new to share with y'all in the beauty department, I'm leaving you some discount codes that were sent to me with my most recent purchases. 

Naked Wines: 60£off a case of wine priced 99.99£or more (UK residents only).
Code: PBK66
Password: ASP32XYN

Natural Blender: 10£off your 1st superfood smoothie kit (UK mainland only).
Codes: PBKN615 + CNSNB615

Simply Cook: 1£trial offer on your 1st box of restaurant quality meals (UK only).
Code: chef70

Brewhive: 24 beer bottles for only 19£(UK only).
Code: PK25B

Graze: Free snack box (UK only).
Codes: 123H4W456H4W + 456TGN + 123TGN

Vision Direct: 10% off your first order of contact lenses (delivery options).
Code: LOOK

The White Company: extra 10% off sale prices (UK mainland only).
Codes: AM583 + AM439 (until 23rd August 2016).

Happy hunting for those of you who are playing Pokémon Go!

21 July 2016

Charlotte Tilbury on Offer


If I'd known about this awesome offer I would have waited a few months to get the Filmstar Bronze & Glow set. I've used it every day since as it it gives the perfect amount of both bronze and glow as the name suggests. 

Which product would YOU choose? Be quick before they run out!


* this is NOT a sponsored post, NO affiliate links have been used

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18 July 2016

Chic-Nic


I'm not being clever with the title for this post although I certainly thought so at first. Google proved me wrong and gave back a few results including a whole Italian vintage festival held in 2015. 

The hubby had always commented on how he would love to have a traditional wicker picnic basket to take me out for lunch or dinner. We have it really easy as we live by the sea and the countryside is very nearby. I was trying to find a fitting gift for his birthday this year and somehow the picnic basket popped up into my head. After some online research I decided on this model that I ordered from Les Jardins de la Comtesse.
Last Friday we went to the beach carrying our picnic basket, some chairs and an oil lamp. It had gotten very late and there barely was any light left so I decided to take a picture both with and without flash. Both are awful quality but it's the best I could accomplish.
The basket comes with ceramic plates, wine glasses, cloth napkins and cutlery for 4 people, salt and pepper shakers and a bottle opener. The inside is fully lined with a cotton plaid material. The right side features an insulated bag that can keep your food fresh and cool. There's still space left on the other side after filling it with the plates and glasses so you could carry more food. In the middle there are two slots where you can fit two bottles, we carried a bottle of wine in one slot and some water and a baguette in the other.
The wine glasses that came with the basket were so tiny that I decided to take these ones instead. In the north of Spain it's very common to use these kind of glasses to drink beer or wine from. They are commonly know as "txiquitos" or "chatos". The first name means tiny but they can actually hold quite a lot. They are easy to stack up for transport, they don't take up too much space and are pretty sturdy.
For food we kept it quite simple: a few cheese varieties, a tomato and cucumber salad and some mouthwatering Iberian ham.

We've decided to have a weekly chicnic on Friday night as long as the weather allows so I can hardly wait for the weekend to come.


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14 July 2016

9 Disappointing TV Shows


Ascension: A mini series that makes no sense whatsoever and ends without you getting to know what the story was all about.

The 100: A story about kids learning to survive back on Earth after some nuclear disaster that took place almost a 100 years back. The storyline and dialogues were aimed at a younger audience, I suspect.

Extant: a boring and slow show that I only watched for 1 season as I wanted to see if it would get any better, I didn't.

The Returned: It picked my interest and I watched the whole season just to find out what made people return from the dead but no such luck.

Firefly: I only started watching this because it's mentioned in The Big Bang Theory and I wanted to know what the fuss was all about but I had to stop after watching a few episodes, soooo boring!

The Shannara Chronicles: a friend recommended this tv show and I made it through the 1st season but never again. I may have liked this at a younger age, who knows?

Sense8: Netflix in Spain has barely any tv shows yet so I needed to fill my evenings with something to watch, anything, up to a point. Doesn't make any sense (lol) and is tragically slow.

Breaking Bad: I just can't see what's so good about this series. I've only watched 3 or 4 episodes so maybe I need to give it another chance.

Game of Thrones: I know, I know. I'm the only person on the face of the Earth who's life isn't revolving around watching the next episode. I read the first book on a recommendation before the show came out. Even though I had disliked the book I started watching the series in the hope that they would be better than the book, I was mistaken.

11 July 2016

Skincare: Citrus Haul


Taking advantage of the sales I decided to stock up on some summer favourites:
The Body Shop was having a 25% off sale. I ordered the body lotions in Pink Grapefruit and Satsuma, the Vitamin C serum that I'm running low on (this is my 4th bottle) and a new item to try out: the Vitamin C energising face mist. As soon as I get home from work I take my make up off but don't apply any kind of product on my face afterwards as I have extremely oily skin so I thought this would give a boost to my skin whilst being lightweight and refreshing during these hotter months.

From Kiehl's I was receiving regularly newsletters but never any discount so I jumped at the chance to order this Vitamin C serum at 45€ instead of 57€: the Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. I had read some reviews on Vitamin C products and lots of people were mentioning that the one by The Body Shop is plain silicone and doesn't contain a great deal of Vitamin C  and therefore not being that great. I particularly enjoy the silicony texture as it feels like a primer and it leaves my skin feeling silky soft but if that's only an illusion I wanted to compare the two products side by side. I'll let you know my findings once I put it to the test.

Having mature skin means that I'm always looking for anti-aging, firming, brightening and, in this case, antioxidant properties in my skincare products. This article by Paula's Choice is great in explaining the great benefits of Vitamin C to your skin. 

7 July 2016

Trind Nail Revive Natural


My nails have been extremely brittle for the longest time. Not that unusual to me but this time I haven't been able to grow my nails since last November. I'm wearing them super short and every Sunday, when I'm supposed to care for them, I find that I either need trim them or file all the growth off as some of them have started to split.

From YouTuber, Pinky Polish I heard about this Dutch brand that specializes in nail care and she said that their products worked wonders: Trind Cosmetics.
Trind Nail Revive Natural
When my dear friend Myrthe told me she was coming to Spain I jumped at the chance and texted her to bring me a bottle. She got this from Etos, I think for 14€ a bit up there in price so I had high hopes for this product.

The instructions read as follow:

For beautiful strong nails apply daily for at least four weeks directly to the nails. Before re-applying remove the former coat with the TRIND Nail Polish Remover.

You can now continue to use Trind Nail Revive as often as you like but apply at least one coat weekly to keep the nails strong. Shake well before use. After use, clean off the rim of the bottle.

Tomorrow it will be 4 weeks and I've only failed one day in re-applying the polish (I was too tired yesterday and I couldn't be bothered).

My nails are as brittle as when I started this treatment so I would say this hasn't worked out for me. I have to confess that I've used a regular nail polish remover but I don't think it would have made a huge difference to use the one from the brand.

What I have noticed, though, is that my nails are in much better condition whenever I'm taking supplements, like collagen or biotin tablets. I suppose it's time to start taking those again.

4 July 2016

Healthy Snack Box


Recently I've been cutting on carbs and trying to eat healthier or at least be more aware of what kind of food I'm ingesting.

I'm also going to the gym more often, who would have said? I went to ballet lessons when I was a kid until I was old enough to hate my lean body and flat bosom. So I quit classes and have never ever again found any kind of exercise that I truly enjoyed. 

I've been going to the gym on and off, more off than on as I got bored and I preferred staying home and watch Netflix, not that it existed back then, but you get the drift.

About a year and a half ago I started to go to Aerostretching once a week and I loved it. At the beginning of this year I included some aerial pilates and regular pilates into the mix. I've also been taking a few aerial silks and hoop classes lately and I'm absolutely loving them. 

At my gym they have been offering us pretty affordable Lipo Laser treatments once a week to get rid of superficial body fat. I chose to reduce my waist area and I'm down from 83cm to 79cm in only 4 sessions.

Sometimes I crave for a snack but I'm not very sure of what I can have without messing up my diet so when I read this newsletter by The Hut Group I was immediately on board. I haven't tried it yet as it's the first I've heard about this box until today but I totally wanted to share this with y'all.

This Healthy Snack Box is sold by Myvitamins for 11.99£delivery included (UK and worldwide).

Disclaimer: this is NOT a sponsored post, NO affiliate links have been used

30 June 2016

June Yays & Nays


I feel like I've gone through a great deal of products this month. I won't include all the different samples that I've taken with me on my recent holiday and comment only on the big guns.
For my nays I've included some rather meh! products:

Biotherm Biosource clarifying exfoliating gel: it's gentle enough to be used on a daily basis but I kept it to 2-3 times a week. I'm done with physical exfoliators as I've been sold on using chemical ones that can't damage your skin as the exfoliating particles can be somewhat uneven at times. 

Katari regenerating anti aging cream with olive oil and hyaluronic acid: it was too rich a formula for my oily skin, even though I used it only at night time.

Hawaiian Tropic sun lotion SPF15: very comfortable on the skin (it dries completely without leaving any sticky residue) and nice smelling but it's too low a protection factor to be using nowadays.
All of these I would repurchase, some of them I already have:

The Body Shop pink grapefruit body sorbet: it's a refreshing gel like formula that smells amazing, perfect for the warmer months. I've been switching between this scent and the Satsuma one.

Alterna Bamboo Color Hold + shampoo: for it being free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and sodium chloride it foams up pretty well. I hate using a sulfate free shampoo and needing to use a whole bottle to be able to feel like I've really cleansed my hair.

Le Petit Marsellais Orange Blossom shower gel: it smells amazing, fruity with a touch of floral. The perfect combination to make help you relax at the end of the day.

Cutex nail polish remover: I tried a cheaper brand to see if it could compare to this one but nothing beats this oldie.

Simply Supplements Multivitamins: I like taking them from time to time as a pick me up, especially during the spring when I'm feeling more tired than usual.

Garnier Delial Golden Protect SPF30: I've raved so much about this but it's time to wake up and face the facts. It's been discontinued so I need to say goodbye to this gorgeous lotion that made my skin glow under the sun. I have one last bottle that I'm going to stretch out as long as I possibly can.

Roc Anti Cellulite lotion: it's been a staple product since I found a website that sells them for a fraction of the price. It helps in making my skin look more firm although it hasn't been able to get rid of all the cellulite I've been accumulating on my thighs for years.


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27 June 2016

Casa da Ínsua: Hotel, Museum or Little Paradise?


Last week I already shared what I brought back from this Parador but I promised to show some pictures of the hotel itself:
Casa da Ínsua - entrance
The stone staircase to the lobby.
Casa da Ínsua- Inside yard
The inside patio. 
Casa da Ínsua - back gardens
A view from the back garden.
Casa da Ínsua - water lilies
A pond full of water lilies.
Casa da Ínsua - pond with ducks and swans
A larger pond with a swan.
Casa da Ínsua - swans
In fact there were two swans, one was a bit more aggressive than the other (the hubby almost lost his fingers when feeding them some bread crumbs).
Casa da Ínsua - ballroom
A ballroom with a piano and a huge fireplace.
Casa da Ínsua - Japanese room
The Japanese room.
Casa da Ínsua - portrait room
The portrait room.
Casa da Ínsua - old kitchen
The old kitchen that is now only used for wine & food tastings and workshops.
Casa da Ínsua - clockwork
A huge clockwork that occupied two stories (the pendulums went all the way down to the previous one).
Casa da Ínsua - chapel
The chapel that features the clock that I showed in the picture above.
Casa da Ínsua - bedroom
Our bedroom: the bed was huge and high up, I almost needed a staircase to climb on it.
Casa da Ínsua - bathroom
A standard but roomy bathroom.
Casa da Ínsua - sitting room
And we were upgraded to a junior suite (I'm still not sure why?) so we had a sitting room that we never got to use.

There still was much, much more to visit, so if you've liked the hotel so far I'd recommend you pay it a visit if you're ever in the area. The town is called Penalva do Castelo in Portugal.

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