Tuesday, 25 June 2013

It's all in the smell: Body Shop Japanese Cherry Blossom

Perfume has never been a big lust of mine; I would much rather have a new mascara than switch up my smell. And throughout my life I have flirted with only a few scents. 

In my early teenage years it was some sort of impulse body spray, until I was welcomed to the world of  "grown-up" fragrance. Even then I have been somewhat picky about perfume. My favourite for a long time was Ghost (the one in the classic curvy blue bottle) and then I discovered Marc Jacobs Daisy. 

This past winter I picked up a deeper scent - Hugo Boss Deep Red. But now summer is here I feel lotions and potions are so heavy on skin. But the lovely ladies at Body Shop gifted me with one of their fantastic fragrances, Japanese Cherry Blossom and I have fallen for it. 

It has this fresh and feminine smell and feels super light on my skin, perfect for summer. So I have one more bottle to add to the not so cluttered perfume shelf!

Monday, 24 June 2013

when the going gets tough...

.....the tough go tanning!

This last week has been pretty much a nightmare from start to finish which is the reason for my silence.
The heat has accelerated to scorching.
The humidity has made me lazy.
And I got sick mid-week which totally threw me off balance.
Saturday was spent in the sun, with ice cold lemonade and a pool, a mere three footsteps from me at all times.
Sunday was spent hibernating from said scorching temperatures and playing with the new tea set of my boyfriends sister (she is 3 by the way).

And here we are back at Monday.
This Monday is better than most. Its a public holiday. And I'm hoping it will last forever. Although I doubt very much that will happen.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Monday, 17 June 2013

it's salad season!

I realise everything has been overtaken by the heat; beauty products, food choices, outfit options, the list is endless. But that's the problem, the weather does affect everything.

So I have renamed this summer, salad season. It is literally all I am eating recently. But we aren't just talking a bit of lettuce and cucumber. I am going a bit experimental with the lettuce leaf. And thanks to the Zest magazine I picked up in the airport, I have plenty of options. 

There was a great little article, talking about the best combinations to ensure your salad is healthy, tasting and gives you the energy you need. While I am notorious for eating and enjoying my food, they have some great options which even I am happy with. 

And they included a great little pick'n'mix table to help you create the salad of your dreams. 

So I used this as inspiration and got crafty with the salad in my fridge. This is what I have come up with over the past few days. Note a distinct love of green beans recently! 

Baby Spinach, Green Beans, Mozzarella, Tomato and Lemon Pesto dressing. 

Mixed Leaves, Green Beans, Prawns, Yellow Peppers and Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

Iceberg Lettuce, Sweet Chili Sesame Prawns, Red Pepper, Cucumber and Lemon Dressing.

Baby Spinach, Courgette, Green Beans, Sun-dried Tomato, Walnuts and Goats cheese. No dressing.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

well travelled beauty products.

Every time I go to London, I say I am not going to spend a ridiculous amount of money on beauty products and every time I return with a suitcase filled to the brim. 

The thing is, beauty products in Cyprus are kinda pricey and they don't have the selection that I am used to. So it seems like the practical thing to do; to spend a months wages in Boots once a year ( I am exaggerating about a months wages by the way).

One of the brands I recently fell in love with is Simple. Their products are designed for people with sensitive skin and have no fussy smells and are super gentle. Recently my skin has been behaving a bit erratically, something to do with the hotter weather I think and I noticed more breakouts than usual. So I picked up these two. Oil Balancing Face Scrub and Moisturiser.

They are working wonders; the scrub is gentle enough to use everyday, but really makes my combination skin feel squeaky clean while the moisturizer is the perfect balancing base for make up, especially when its summer in Cyprus. No oily messy face thank you very much!

Now Soap & Glory is a brand I have been loyal to for a while, mainly because their packaging is so cute. But they do put out fantastic products also! I have been using the hand food since I discovered the yummy smell and the smooch operator balm seems to be the only thing that sorts my dry lips out. 

The Sexy Mother Pucker lipgloss is a gorgeous natural colour and a great gloss thats not too gloopy, while the Thick & Fast Mascara is the only mascara I have found to rival my love for Benefit's Bad Gal. I love the product names too, always amusing in Boots picking products like Off Your Face! 

And then there is Dove. A classic I have know for years. The smell of their beauty bar soap brings back memories of my childhood, watching my mum wash her face with it every morning (a trick I have recently picked up since she had great skin!). And their moisturisers are so nourishing for my skin; in the summer months, the sun, sand, salt water and sheer amount of times I shower a day (when it is this hot and humid even 2 showers is just the start) all mean my skin dries out a lot more. 

These two are helping me right out and they both have great smells. The beauty blossom is fresh and invigorating, perfect for the morning while the purely pampering is great for evening, the aroma seriously lasts! 

And this was just the start of my beauty haul from London. Well technically I was saving money. At least thats my story and I am sticking to it!

sunday sound #24

Thursday, 13 June 2013

beauty: turquoise nails

Do you ever find that sometimes the contents of a nail varnish bottle look a lot different in the bottle than out of it. 

I kinda hate that. Especially since I have a weird thing about painting my nails almost as many times a week as there are days. You spend ages picking a great colour. Get it home and bam. It looks totally different on your nails after 2 layers!

Such a disappointing situation. That happened with this one. But nevertheless I was headed for turquoise toes. 

Its a brand called LECIEL and their display in store is like a rainbow; literally every colour under the sun in a bottle. 

It is fast becoming my favourite brand for many reasons. It has a great consistency, not too thick but still fantastic coverage and it dries quickly. Plus I find that with a good top coat, it lasts all week. Or at least until I get bored and change my colour. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

the 5 poses of millie

Now its hot, the dog spends most of her days moving from one cold spot to another and sleeping on my bed, since it is the only place that truly satisfies her thirst for the cold (my room never gets sunlit except at 6 am). She wants to unzip her fur coat, I know she does, but i'm she is actually getting used the heat in Cyprus and will cope much better with it this year around. 

midweek mix 12/06/2013







Tuesday, 11 June 2013

F is for Friendship

Friendship is ......

Pulling funny faces in the office when you think no ones looking.
Mornings drinking coffee.
Weekend beach adventures.
Telling it like it is, even when you don't want to hear it.
Supporting each other through no-carb week even if we fail on the first day.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Hair Attachment

I have never really been that attached to my hair. 

The last time I had long hair was when I was about 7 and for me, my hair has always been somewhat of a hassle to maintain and therefore my theory is the less of it the better! 

I am also kinda lucky that I have a face shape that benefits more from short hair; s for the past 6/7 years I have flitted between super short to long bob and back to short bob. The only common feature has been a hide-my-big-forehead kind of fringe. 

And while I go through phases of craving long, wavy beach style locks, I know the reality is far from glamourous. 

I have always wanted to go short short, but never quite worked up the courage to let the hairdresser practically shave half my head. And then Jessie J went and shave her head for Comic Relief and my whole idea of hair flipped around. 

She went from this. 

To this. 

And I think she looks amazing. Plus she did it for a fantastic cause and raised tons of money, but she even said it's the best thing she has ever done. I can only imagine how weird yet liberating it must feel to shave your head and it would certainly eliminate a lot of bathroom hours thats for sure! 

But short hair in Cyprus is somewhat of rarity. It was pretty early on, that I realised girls in general have a big attachment to their hair. And men find women with short hair somewhat of a tourist attraction (the looks I have had go to prove it). 

It got me thinking about how different cultures place importance on different aspects of a women's beauty. In London every other girl has half her head shave, or a super short bob. But in Cyprus the majority of women have long hair. Maybe it's more feminine for them, or maybe practically, the heat of the summer means you need to have long hair to tie it up and have it as far away from you as possible. 

Who knows. 

I think I will slowly work my way shorter and shorter, but I full shaved head....I think that's a step too far for me.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

food: flatbreads the Jamie Oliver way!

This week I got experimental in the kitchen and tried my hand at making bread. Ok so it was possibly the easiest bread in the world, but I am still kinda proud of this moment. Unfortunately, I have since realised that my intake of bread over the past two weeks is the reason for the rubber ring style bulge around my middle. So home made flatbreads are now reserved for special occasions. 

The recipe came from Jamie Oliver and it has just 4 ingredients so you really cant go wrong, especially since the technique is foolproof too. 

All you need is flour, yoghurt, salt and baking powder, a bit of mixing and in minutes you have dough, ready for grilling. I topped mine with roasted vegetables (courgette, peppers and aubergine), chorizo and goats cheese and popped them in the oven for a while too. But they would be great for breakfast with eggs and bacon, as a side to dips or with chilli. 

Et voila!

sunday sound #23

Thursday, 6 June 2013

when Primark met ASOS

I had heard a rumor from a friend "in the know" shall we say, that ASOS were going to start stocking Primark. Yes you read that right. 

Primark, the UK high streets, somewhat bottom line brand that has caused controversy yet maintained a huge appeal due to its affordability, has now joined the fashion holy grail that is  ASOS. 

The offering is pretty small with just 25 pieces, but I guess it's a starting collection and will grow depending on how it is received by the ASOS crowd. They have, however, covered all bases with the Primark must haves; skinny jeans, denim shorts and shirts, printed T-shirts and dresses. No accessories just yet ladies but let's wait and see what the future holds. 

In the meantime head on over to ASOS to find a little piece of Primark waiting just for you. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Art: David Bowie Exhibition

One of my favourite places in London is the Vitctoria & Albert Museum, in South Kensington. And how could you not, when a building that looks like this..... is crammed full with art, sculpture, fashion, ceramics, jewelry and photography. Oh and it's free!

So every time I head home, it's usually one of the first places on my list. And I just so happened to be around when the David Bowie Is exhibition was on. And my Dad just so happens to be a member of the Victoria & Albert Museum which means entry to special exhibits like this is free and no queuing! It's like being a VIP, for the art world at least.

"The V&A has been given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie. David Bowie is features more than 300 objects that include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs and Bowie's own instruments."

I'm not a huge Bowie fan, but this exhibition is a.m.a.z.i.n.g! It is set across three huge rooms and really draws the audience in, with it's multi-media approach. Before going into the exhibition your given a headset. The exhibition rooms are littered with sensors that pick up your movements and play the right narration, music or interview clip depending on where you are in the room. I could have spent all day in there if it wasn't for a lunch date.

It has been extremely popular and online tickets are now sold out, but if your in London before the 11 August, head over to the Victoria & Albert Museum because tickets are on sale daily. More information can be found here

And if you can't get in, well you have a huge victorian building filled to the brim with things to see. Oh and the restaurant has been lovingly restored and still has original tiles and rooms that look like this. 

It's worth it just for that [and the fantastic cakes and teas of course].

Monday, 3 June 2013

beauty: Body Shop Cool BB cream & Vitamin C Moisturiser

So a few weeks back, the lovely ladies at Body Shop Cyprus invited me along to learn about some of their products, perfect for summer. 

The Vitamin E Cool BB Cream* was one that I was most excited to get my hands on mainly because my face has been doing the rounds of many other BB creams of late. And as Cyprus is starting to get pretty HOT, I wanted to see what this cool thing was all about. 

I think I was expecting more of a menthol hit like other "cooling" products and instead I got a soft and fresh feeling which is probably a much gentler way to incorporate such a thing into a make-up product.

Now let's talk about coverage, a big sticking point for me with any product. I found it's super light texture really stood up for itself and covered my uneven, oily skin and even did a decent job of covering the blemishes on my cheeks. 

And for only one shade, it has a great blending ability, something which is perfect as my face starts to change colour with the sunshine. It eliminates my need to buy 5 different shades of foundation for the summer!

One thing I learnt early on as an expat in Cyprus is that SPF is your new best friend. The Vitamin C Moisturiser with SPF 30* is one of those products that will become invaluable in my summer beauty routine as it's packed with protection including UVA/UVB.

So yeh, your face will pretty much thank you for it 40 years down the line when your [almost] wrinkle free. 

Sometimes sun-care products are a bit heavy and oily for my combination skin to handle. Not this one. The texture is rich but not greasy and it sinks into my skin like a dream. And then there's the smell. The scent of a product is really important to me, especially when it's on my face and so close to my nose. 

I have to say the first sniff of this stuff and I was a bit dubious but the vitamin c element of this moisturiser really brought a fresh, citrusy aroma that grew on my as the mornings went on. 

I started testing just over a week ago. It worked perfectly as a daily moisturiser and still stood up the harshness of the beach with no pink, sore skin in sight. There was one negative about this product. By the end of the day, my make-up had started sliding, but I don't know if this is down to the product or the heat in Cyprus! 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

food: chickpeas

I think the temperature has jumped up 20 degrees in the last week. And as the temperature increases, strangely enough my appetite declines. 

Actually that's a lie. 

I just want to eat different things; something lighter and fresh that doesn't make me feel like a hot, sweaty polar bear in the desert. And that's where salads come into the equation. Whether they are leaf based, filled with pulses, packed with protein or veggie heavy, salads are a summer meal time staple, 

And in pursuit of inspiration, I headed over to pinterest, where I found this fantastic recipe, using chickpeas, on the Dashing Dish website. Note to all readers, this website is worth a visit because it has great healthy alternatives and seriously yummy food photography. 

In a nutshell, Mediterranean Chickpea Salad goes a little something like this. 

drain chickpeas and rinse in water. 

chop red onion, cucumber, tomato, peppers and parsley.

combine all ingredients with the chickpeas and mix together.

add the feta and pour over a dressing made with olive oil, lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper. 
Ok so I made some small changes to the recipe but basically its the same and it tasted a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

Go check out Katie's great healthy ideas for yummy food, here. 

sunday sound #22

It's only 1 minute, but it's amazing.
She has an amazing voice, even live.
And she shaved her head for charity.
(the attachment to your hair will be a topic discussed later on this week).

Saturday, 1 June 2013

The 1st of June is for planning and tanning

Blog everyday in May was a total success as far as I am concerned; Jenni came up with some great prompts that kept everyone inspired and she read our minds, throwing in a few easy days, just when we needed them the most! 

And now I am staring into the black hole that is June and I feel anxious. I set the standard in May with a post, if not two, everyday. So there is only one way June is ever going to to be able to live to those expectations and thats by PLANNING

I always start planning posts for the week ahead, so I have a foundation to work on, but I seem to never stick to or develop said plan - which is quite odd since I am a very organised and methodical person by nature. But one thing I learnt from the May challenge is that prompts and planning are the key to success. And that the smallest thing can spark the biggest inspiration. 

So today I am getting well and truly organised and filling my notebook with ideas, prompts and words that could inspire me later on in June and I will even try to come up with some solid posts ahead of time. Fingers crossed on that one. 

Oh and I am heading to the beach for tanning. Well tanning is part of the planning process, all in the name of research. I am testing some great products as mentioned earlier, and since they are sun-care related, the beach is the best place for them. 

*I was about to paste the html for the blog everyday in May badge and then remembered it's not May*