Saturday, January 24, 2015

not that word

Even though it's been 9 months I haven't updated this blog, there's hardly been a day I haven't thought about it. Countless posts have been drafted and I still write down ideas in my notebook. This little online diary started one day back in February in 2008 when I was feeling hopeful for the first time in a long while, when I was preparing my move to London after feeling paralysed and stuck at home. It saw me moving from one country to the other and through changes I somehow stuck to it (albeit not very regularly). In the end of 2013, I started feeling weird towards this place, I felt like I lost my voice. It's hard to put it into words but I felt like I was using 'blog speak' instead of my own words. Too many superlatives got in the way. This is not a rant against the blogging world and its success, and the money and all that by the way. I just felt like I was following some word formula and got frustrated. I mean what is the point to have an anonymous diary online if you can't be true to your own voice? So I stopped writing here and I stopped reading blogs.
I didn't stop writing online though. I started a travel blog and kept taking pictures, which has become my favourite thing about blogging. It didn't matter that much in that context if my voice didn't feel totally mine as the blog was about places, not my dinky little life.
I think I got the control back on my own voice today and I always thought that it would be the time then to come back here. The desire is definitely there but I have to be honest with myself right now, I find it difficult to find the energy to dedicate to two blogs.
A couple of you have got in touch to ask me if I would write again on here, it touched me so much but also baffled me that anyone would care. My answer then was yes definitely, I feel like answering that today too I love this space and I love the freedom that comes with writing under a nickname and above all I love the little group of like-minded girls that would often pop by and tell me what they think in the comment section. 
I miss all that but I'm not strong enough (yet) to take on 2 blogs and make a good job of it. So this is not goodbye but au revoir, with the hope that 2015 will make me a better person xx

Friday, March 21, 2014

reads #20: december 2013

alexa chung it book

It (Alexa Chung, 2013)

For someone who expressed her disdain for blogs, Alexa Chung's book certainly reads like one. She takes us through the evolution of her style with a collage of personal pictures, photos of musicians and films and anecdotes of horse-riding and discovering the Spice Girls. Clothes, hair, make-up, she analyses all the aspects of her signature look we've come to know and love.
She also gives music recs and tips on how to take a selfie, improve your karaoke skills or what to pack for a festival. I enjoyed this visual diary but I think my favourite part was when she lets her 'British guard' down for a bit and writes about heartbreaks (not surprising as she wrote this while recovering from her break-up with Alex Turner).
I feel like you should get acquainted with the character before delving into It as her infamous self-deprecating humour can sometimes leave you confused as to what she's trying to convey. One passage in particular kind of rubbed me the wrong way where she rants at social networks while confessing uncontrollably indulging in them. She seems to try to hide her fondness for them behind some sociological platitudes like she doesn't know what to actually think or is worried about looking uncool?
But I guess that makes her more relatable in a way. If you enjoy reading blogs full of inspiration and moodboards, I've no doubt you will enjoy It

Favourite quote: I have googled 'how long does heartbreak last?' The result more popular than that was 'how long does heartburn last?' This implies people suffer from heartburn more than they do heartbreak which is a good thing because heartbreak sucks way fucking more than acid reflux ever could.

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Pictured: Ikea candle, Dior Lipstick in 476 Plaza, Dior nail polish dior in Incognito, Topshop Evil Eye and Triangle rings (old), jade ring from Morocco, Moonchild necklace from Nina Mantra, vintage plate)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

saturday: spring, mendl's pastry boxes & black forest

lemon waterOn Saturday, I started the day by making a bottle of lemonwater for the week. I get a bit lazy with these things so making a bottle keeps me on track as I know that the benefits of drinking a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning, are numerous and valuable (excuse the mess by the way, I was in the middle of cleaning candle jars as I want to make some homemade spring scented candles). 

makeup du jourPictured: Zara White Jasmine Perfume - Wet'n'wild H20 Proof Eyeliner in Ultra Black - Topshop Neon Rose Blush - Essence Black is Back Nail Polish - Sally Hansen Mega Shine Top Coat - Real Techniques Stippling Brush - Real Techniques Brow Brush - H&M Eyelash Curlers - Maybelline 24H Color Tattoo in On and On Bronze - Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in Bright Blue - Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer 51 - L'Oréal False Lash Telescopic Waterproof - Maybelline Colorsensational Shine Gloss in Cashmere Rose

I then got ready to get out. Lately, I've been enjoying putting blue in my waterline, I think I've been inspired by my trip in Lisbon and all the blue tiles (azulejos) there, as before, electric blue didn't really appeal to me. I'm looking for a blue varnish (something like Nails Inc's Baker Street maybe) but I haven't found anything I liked so far on the highstreet. Do you have any recs?
spring is hereJust checking that Spring is here :)

smithfield market place Smithfield's Market Place under the glorious blue sky. It felt almost a shame to go to the cinema on such a beautiful day...

grand budapest hotel leafletsAlmost! As I couldn't have been more excited that day to watch the new Wes Anderson's release: The Grand Budapest Hotel! (it was sooo good).

light house grand budapest hotel party aftermathAfter the film, I had a mosey around the Light House Cinema to look at the aftermath of the previous night's party, themed after Wes Anderson's characters. There was a tent in the middle of the room just like in The Royal Tenenbaums and a wall full of drawings of Margot.

urbun cafe light house cinemaWe then made our way to the cinema's café as something quite magical was set up at the back of it. Two glass displays holding some real props from The Grand Budapest Hotel!

mendl's boxes grand budapest hotel book Turns out that the film's lead designer is Annie Atkins a Welsh graphic designer based in Dublin. She worked on the look of all the paper-related items in the film (passports, labels, letters, correspondence, etc..) and she kindly loaned all her copies to the cinema. It was a truly amazing experience to stand a few inches away from all the beautiful objects she created and that contributed to make Grand Budapest so special.
If you want to see more pictures of the exhibition, hop over to my travel blog, I dedicated a whole post to it.

daffodils in the window interesting sign on capel streetI then crossed back to the city centre to take the bus to Magda's. It was nice to see daffodils everywhere on my way and I also spotted that interesting sign on Capel Street. Might have bothered with the theory test if the signs were all looking as pretty.

magda's black forest cakeMagda greeted me with a scrumptious looking black forest. Food blogger friends are awesome, don't you think?
  filomutu I was experiencing major cat withdrawals after babysitting her cats for 3 weeks last month so it was nice to see their little whiskers again.
  cake timeWe sat down and chatted about finding your passion, boyfriends vs. tidiness & the Polish bra revolution.
  good nightIt was then time for me to go home and crash into bed in a cake-induced coma. Though not before quickly framing my new postcard!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

reads #19: november 2013

jd salinger raise high the roof beam, carpenters and seymour an introduction book

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters/Seymour: An Introduction (J.D. Salinger, 1955)

I was a bit hesitant to pick this one up from my to-read stash. I had kept it for bleak days like a long-saved, fancy chocolate in a tin box. Bleak month, November was; so I treated myself to my last J.D. Salinger. Well, it isn't exactly the truth, there is the short story Hapworth 16 1924 floating somewhere on the interweb and revelations were made following the recent biography/biopic on Salinger that he had planned 5 publications to be scheduled between 2015 and 2020 (among which some new stories featuring the Glass family!).
I'm glad I read these two novellas last as I feel they hold the key to who Seymour Glass really was. He's always been depicted through his younger brother Buddy's eyes, and I feel that the latter had not been entirely straight with us, readers. It took a few pages of Seymour's diary to realise how fragile he actually was, and this lifted the veil of mystery surrounding his suicide and turned it into something 'real' for me. Buddy clearly put his brother on a pedestal and the traits of a jaded, unflinchable, zen figure were probably more his than Seymour's. He finally makes sense and he feels so tangible to me now that I feel physically unable to shine an unflattering light on him, but he had his flaws and Buddy refused to see them.
The first novella Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters follows Buddy as he goes to New York during a military leave to attend Seymour's wedding. But this one doesn't show up. Ensue awkward conversations with the bride's family members and friends. This is where Buddy will stumble upon Seymour's diary, possibly the most important moment in the Glass stories.
Second novella, Seymour: An Introduction, is Buddy attempting to write about Seymour and his loss. It is written in a stream of consciousness style, probably to reflect that Buddy is as honest as he can be, but it is not a genre I enjoy so some sections were more arduous than others. For me, the easiest, more enjoyable ones were about Seymour.

Other J.D. Salinger books I reviewed: Franny and Zooey Nine Stories

one day david nicholls book One Day (David Nicholls, 2009)

I was keeping this book for a beach kind of holiday, hoping for a fast-paced read to get me through lazy days. Well, the beach holiday never came but I was in dire need of an easy read after going through a classic and still struggling with Martin Amis' London Fields.
I think it is more of a summer book (as the book takes place every 15th of July between 1988 and 2007) but even though I picked it up in the midst of Winter, it filled its purpose nicely. Plus I was in that weird mood in the run up to Christmas of watching English romcoms (blame it on Love Actually) and I was eyeing up the film adaptation with Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway.
It is a bit of surprising book choice for me I guess but it was a spontaneous charity shop purchase spurred by the soon-to-be released adaptation and a vague recollection of Sandra Beijer writing about her being touched by the story (and I trust her).
I actually enjoyed this read. It is not mind-blowing but it is moving. The story follows the relationship of Dexter and Emma, starting with the very night of their university graduation, when life in all its possibilities vertiginously pans out before them. Then for the next 20 years, we meet them again every 15th of July. David Nicholls admirably used this storyline device without falling into the trap set by fastforwards and flashbacks, there were no clumsy catch-up paragraphs. Everything flows perfectly and it's a hard one to put down. 
It actually reminded me of Nick Hornby, it is full of pop culture and that sort of 90's-00's English sense of humour. It did linger in my mind for a while after I read the last page as it made me think of my own temporality and stuff like that.
I've read complaints online about the extra chapters after the story's actual resolution, that they were a bit pointless, but in my opinion they were what made the book. I thought that the parallel the author builds between Dexter's daughter and Emma was actually quite special. Also you get to witness the core of their special bond, which I thought gave more substance to this love story.
I enjoyed the movie for what it was too, the storyline device didn't work as well and the meaning conveyed in the extra chapters of the book didn't come as striking. But still, a nice romcom, alright!

**Special thanks to Magda for letting me play with her props & cats for the pictures.**

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Friday, February 14, 2014

happy valentine's day

{Pictures collected on my pinterest, click through the pictures to find the sources}

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lisbon Day #2: pastries in bed, pink fish & a platter of cheese

lisbon oceanarium 3 lisbon oceanarium 1 Day 2 started slow, with pastries in bed. Although, it was nice outside, it felt like an indoors kind of day to me, so we headed to the Lisbon Oceanarium, one of the biggest in Europe.
It is a bit out of the way but it was the perfect occasion to try out the metro, which I'm happy to report is really easy to use, as well as cheap!
A great array of species were represented, we spent hours inside... although I think it has more to do with the fact that I really enjoy taking pictures of wildlife in general, and especially sea creatures. The highlight for me were the playful otters, the puffins, the vibrant pink fish and the fascinating jellyfish.
lisbon oceanarium 5 lisbon oceanarium 2 lisbon oceanarium 9 lisbon oceanarium 4 lisbon oceanarium 6
After all this underwater exploring, we sure worked up an appetite so we set up on finding a place to eat. But first we sat down at the sea front as we couldn't pass up on the amazing view: the night falling on the giant suspended bridge where cars were twinkling brighter and brighter as the night was falling. 
My guidebook recommended a pizza place just a few steps from where we were sitting so we checked it out but it turned out to be closed...well the door was technically open and someone was sleeping under a table but we weren't sure what was going on there so we decided to head back to the city centre, more precisely in the Bairro Alto. We climbed up Montmartre-like stairs to access the Santa Catarina miradouro which is home to a concept restaurant I had read rave reviews about online.

The Pharmacia restaurant is part of the old pharmacy museum and in the spirit of the place, has a wonderful medical theme going on. Boxes of pills are stacked on the shelves, the water is served in brown medicine bottles, meals are layed on surgical dish and the bill comes in a prescription tub. So delightful! And to top it all, the food is actually delicious! We ordered way too much cheese, but hey, that's what holidays are for, right?!
pharmacia restaurant 1 pharmacia restaurant 2 We meant to end the night on the miradouro, sipping on something nice while looking at Lisbon by night but the cafe was closed and there was some tension on the esplanade as some people were fighting. So we just headed back to the hostel instead. It was just as well as the cheese was sending us into sleep mode and a full day of sightseeing was awaiting us in the morn.

You can read our first day in Lisbon here

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lisbon Day #1: falling in love, tropical plants & broken dolls

lisbon pink facade Is it too late to wish you all a happy new year? I think technically I'm allowed until the month of January ends so may 2014 bring you joy and love, keep you prosperous and in good health.
My 2014 started rather lovely with a trip to Portugal which was a belated gift for my 30th birthday from my very thoughtful boyfriend.
Let me get this question that has been nagging me out first? Why the heck are people banging on about Paris when there's such a city as Lisbon? It has to be one of the most romantic places I've ever been, it is quite difficult not to walk your nose in the air with all the buildings being so beautiful and intricate, and the atmosphere is so relax and friendly... Can you tell I fell in love already?
If I had to use two words to describe Lisbon, apart from romantic, it would be 'hills' and 'pastries', which I think is a great combination as you sure don't feel guilty stuffing your face with those famous pasteis de nata (custard pies) after you've climbed steep hills all day, errday.
lisbon 2
On our first day (it was actually the 2nd day but as we arrived on a rainy evening, nothing much happened), we decided to check out the area where our accommodation was located, in order to get our bearings. I noticed in my guide that some glasshouses were a few minutes away, taking it as a sign of fate, I decided this would be our first port of call (after sampling our first pasteis de nata in a local pastelaria, bakery, of course!). It looked a little like this:
estufa fria 3 estufa fria 2 estufa fria 1 We then walked down the Avenida da Liberdade, which is one of the main arteries of the city of Lisbon. It looked so atmospheric through the smoke coming from dozens of street stalls roasting chestnuts. From there, we climbed up to the neighbourhood Bairro Alto. calçada do duque flower shop lisbon There, we stopped to admire the view from Sao Pedro de Alcantara Miradouro (one of the city's viewpoints) and smelt the heady cedar tree in the Principe Real park. It totally inspired me to try and recreate the smell with essential oils (possibly a future perfume diy for the #acleanerlife series?).
One thing I'll say that it's not an easy city for vegetarians (I can't even imagine how painful it must be for a Vegan) as fish and meat are heavily featured in the local gastronomy. For lunch, I had bookmarked a Tibetan vegetarian restaurant in my travel guide but looking at the menu, I felt underwhelmed by the plat du jour of brown rice and veg (although the rose petal ice cream was kind of calling my name).
lisbon balcony praça do comércio We decided instead to walk down to the sea front, to the infamous Praça de Commeirco. We had a cheeky falafel kebab and explored the city centre.
We then went back a bit northwards to Praça da Figueira where I was keen on visiting the Doll Hospital. Super creepy but also super amazing, our guide was so very nice! doll hospital 1 doll hospital 2 As the dusk was engulfing the city, we felt it was time to start our journey back to the hotel so we walked up the hill, passing through the saddest 'West-End', empty theatres and restaurants, even the neon signs were turned off, there was literally not a soul about (probably because it was winter time) and went grocery shopping for dinner. We found ketchup crisps, which is my favourite ever flavour, so all in all I'd say the day was a tremendous success!lisbon

Monday, December 30, 2013

reads #18: October 2013

I slacked on my reading between July and October and I think it's down to two things. First, I just wasn't in the mood, my mind felt very fidgety. And secondly, I had started London Fields by Martin Amis after going to London and it just wasn't happening. It is still not, to be fair, I'm still trying, but it is just a very confusing book and I think it makes me angry too. I don't like unfinished books so I'll power through and hopefully write up a review in the coming year... In the meantime, if you can handle the unbearable suspense, you can follow my slow progress on my very mount everest of a book on goodreads.

october read

Dracula (Bram Stoker, 1897)

I had to whip my mind back into reading shape and put Martin Amis aside, at the start of October, as I needed to get ready for the Bram Stoker Festival here in Dublin. I wanted to cover it for my travel blog and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to finally read the infamous vampire classic.
I was astonished how much of this book has seeped into the general conscience, to the point where when I was reading it, I felt like I had read it all before.
Something I didn't know was that Dracula was actually an anglophile and his dream was to colonise England. The story starts in Romania, where Jonathan Harker, an English solicitor travels to meet the Count in his isolated castle, to hand him the title of his property recently purchased in Essex.
Dracula proceeds to orchestrate his transit to England, where weird happenings ensue. Jonathan Harker and his friends realise the danger England is facing and they gather their forces to put a stop to his evil masterplan.
I hadn't read horror ever since my Stephen King phase as a teenager, and I had forgotten how wonderful it is sometimes to give oneself the heebie-jeebies, especially in the weeks running up to Halloween, when it's cold and windy outside and you're all bundled up in a duvet and a onesie, your book in one hand and a cup of hot beverage in the other. Pure shivering bliss.
One thing I'd like to add though, is I wasn't on board with the treatment of women in this particular read, and I strongly winced several times at their portrayals. It's the old good women versus bad women, the fragile hopeless species versus the evil sensual temptresses thing. Like they could be one thing or the other. Bram Stoker describes his women as something not quite on par with men, 'things' that should be kept away like delicate glass figures, very pretty but generally useless. And when a female protagonist display initiative and courage, they're perceived as extroardinary as if they're owning traits usually belonging to men. Heavy sigh.
I have to say I hadn't read pre-1920s literature in a long long time so my annoyance probably results from my lack of contact with Victorian culture. But if you can go past that, I think it's a fantastic read, if only for its iconic status as a foundation of the horror genre.

Favourite quote: These friends - and he [Dracula, ed.] laid his hand on some of the books - have been good friends to me, and for some years past, ever since I had the idea of going to London, have given me many, many hours of pleasure. Through them I have come to know your great England; and to know her is to love her. I long to go through the crowded streets of your mighty London, to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity, to share its life, its change, its death, and all that makes it what it is.

haruki murakami samsa in love

Samsa in Love (Haruki Murakami, 2013)

I think I let a little squeal of excitement out when Katie tweeted about the new Murakami's short story published online in The New Yorker, last October. I dropped any responsibilities and proceeded to read these 8 pages of joy immediately.
I didn't read Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis but from what I can gather this short story is its plot in reverse. George Samsa, formerly a cockroach, wakes up one morning as a human. He is lying on his back, in a bedroom he doesn't recognise. We then follow him for the duration of day, discovering his own new body and his surroundings. It all happens inside a house, during Prague Spring. We know that thanks to a little hunchback lady who came to repair a door's lock in the house. Through this encounter, George will make the most important discovery about being human...
This is a wonderful little read that will put chirpy cheers inside your ticker. Go read it!

Favourite quote: He was glad to be human. For sure, it was a great inconvenience to have to walk on two legs and wear clothes. There were so many things he didn’t know. Yet had he been a fish or a sunflower, and not a human being, he might never have experienced this emotion.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

a Christmas DIY

snowglobe diy

I thought I would bring you a little DIY on Christmas day. Probably too late for a gift, but I think it would make for a nice afternoon of crafting if you want to entertain the kids during the holiday. The snow globe DIYs have been mushrooming all over the interweb the past couple of winters. But I thought I would post about mine and share my tips, in case it can help anyone. The best I've seen so far is the one from Cat from Take Courage (check out her Christmas diys, the girl has been on a roll). She very cleverly used glycerine so the snow is slow in its fall. Also, I love her idea of using a polymer clay mount so the figurines are on better display.
  snowglobe diy

Here is what you'll need to make your very own snow globe:

- an empty jar
- figurine(s) of your choice (I went for a tree and a bunny as it was intended for my friend who is quite the rabbit lady)
- glitter (white, holographic or silver are classic options but go for a colourful one to add your personal touch)
- strong glue
- glycerine (optional)

1. First you need to glue your figurine inside the top of the jar (or as mentioned above, use a polymer clay mount to stick your figurines to). I used super glue and it worked fine. You might need to sand the surface first so there's a better grip for the glue. I'd then advise to leave it overnight to dry, but if you're impatient like me, 2 hours seems to have done the trick.
  snowglobe diy

2. Now here comes the 'tricky' bit. Something I haven't seen mentioned in any of the DIYs I've stumbled upon is that the type of glitter you go for is of vital importance. I'm not sure you'll be able to make it out from my pictures, but the glitter I have is of the flat kind. Very pretty, but troublesome when added to water as they tend to stay on the surface of the water and cluster if you add just a smidgeon over.
If this is the only glitter you can get your hands on (as it was in my case), you'd best skip the glycerine altogether. I did several tests with it and found that the best results are achieved when you add a tiny splash of glycerine to warm water, stir well, let the concoction cool down then add 7 to 15 pinches of glitter. But it's risky business and the difference is honestly not noticeable as the glitter is too light for the water anyway (for the same reason fake snow, which is even lighter, won't work too well for this DIY).
The ideal glitter you should be looking for is of the sandy, gritty texture. It is much heavier and that's where a spoonful of glycerin comes handy.
  snowglobe diy

4. Fill the jar to the very brim over a sink and screw the top back on. And voila, your very own handmade snow globe!

snowglobe diy

I hope you're all having a lovely christmas day surrounded by loved ones and filled with good food. I have been missing this space and reading you all. Weirdly enough, I have kept drafting posts and taking pictures, but I didn't feel like putting myself out here for some reason. Maybe I'll try to schedule some catch-up posts, but I don't know if they'll feel offensively irrelevant. Not that I ever write anything relevant…
Is anyone watching Downton Abbey tonight? I'm quite excited although I have to say Julian Fellowes makes me nervous with his taste for tragedies.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

natural skincare | #acleanerlife

natural skincare holland & barrett aloe vera gel - atlantic aromatics rosewater - dr. organic rose otto eye serum - trilogy lipgloss - dr. organic rose otto night cream - so'bio étic floressance huile universelle - chemins du nil masque visage au lait d'anesse

I started getting into skincare about 5 years ago, which coincided with my arrival in Ireland, and the fact that I got into the 'late twenties' bracket. Any girl living in Ireland will know that the constant change of weather/temperature, coupled with the hard water is rather tough on the skin. I had been pretty careless with my skincare previously due to its oily nature, I rarely felt the need to moisturise and such. Some people might scream in horror after the last statement, but I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't try to substitute to your body's natural functions with artificial ones. I strongly disagree with so called 'skincare gurus' who make it sound like skincare is the be-all and end-all of good skin. Following a good diet should be the top priority, hydration should come from what we eat and drink. That is in an ideal world! We all have dehydrating habits, be it wild week-ends, too much cereal, not drinking enough water, etc, etc... So it's good to rely on a proper skincare when you know you've been a bit on the naughty side. Especially as, when water is distributed throughout our body, vital organs come first, skin comes last.
So during these last 5 years, there had been loads of trialling and erroring in my skincare routine. I knew I wanted to go down the natural route; but some brands' greenwashing marketing techniques often got me astray (I'm looking at you Body Shop and Boots botanics). I was about to either throw the towel or sell a kidney to afford organic luxury brands, when I stumbled upon the brand Dr. Organic in Holland & Barrett and fell in love.

Morning Skincare

To be honest, my morning routine is pretty much the same as my nightly one, but for the sake of precision, I'll detail it anyway.

Atlantic Aromatics Rosewater (7.50€) - this is the very first thing I do in the morning: a good spray of rosewater all over my face. Not only it is incredibly refreshing and helps me to wake up, but rosewater has great properties for the skin. It is moisturising, toning, antibacterial and it is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. If there is one thing I would recommend from this post is to include rosewater (organic if you can) in your skincare regime. First time, I tried it I couldn't believe how smooth my skin felt.
I use it again just after my shower to get rid of any water scale.

Dr. Organic Rose Otto Eye Serum (10.29€) - I apply this eye cream both in the morning and before going to bed as the gel texture penetrates the skin really quickly. It doesn't dirsupt the makeup application whatsoever.

Aloe Vera Gel (8.49€) (+ night cream)  - Aloe Vera Gel is one of those multitasking products that everybody'd find some benefit in having around. Its soothing properties make it a great treatment for irritations and (sun)burns. But it is also moisturising and its vitamins and antioxidants can slow down the ageing process.
It has the side effect to mattify, and the gel texture is pleasant on oily skins. During the summer I generally use it on its own, but when comes the colder months I mix it with my nightcream. It is a brilliant trick if you can't invest in a day cream, especially as you can adapt the parts according to your skin's needs (hydration vs. nourishment).
Do be careful when applying aloe vera gel near your eyes, the 'fumes' can be irritating.

Trilogy Lipgloss - I got this lipgloss free with the purchase of Trilogy Rosehip Oil. It acts brilliantly as a balm as the rosehip oil it contains is nourishing, repairing and hydrating. And it's not sticky!

Evening Skincare

So'bio étic huile universelle - this is the oil I use for cleansing. It is a mix of sunflower seed oil, sesame seed oil, argan oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil and apricot kernel oil. I originally bought it for my hair, but it turned out to be too rich to use it on my ends. It is probably too rich for my oily skin too, but I don't see it as a problem. It's great to take off all make-up (waterproof mascara included) and it nourishes the skin at the same time. I then remove the oil with a flannel soaked in hot water. It cleans the pores and gives a light manual exfoliation.
Once this bottle is done, I think I'll be making an oil concoction better suited for my skin type (or maybe a balm, if it's not too taxing) so keep your eyes peeled for that DIY coming soon.

Atlantics Aromatics Rosewater - A spray of rosewater all over my face to get rid of any water, oil and makeup traces. It also acts as a toner.

Dr. Organic Rose Otto Eye Serum -  See above

Dr. Organic Rose Otto Night Cream (9.79€) - Can I say how much I love the Dr. Organic brand? I think it's amazing that there's such an affordable, organic offering available. There is so much choice as well, creams, lotions, deodorants, shampoos, bodywashes, everything you could think of really. And so many ranges! Lavendar, Honey, Vitamin C, Olive Oil, etc... I've tried several products and I've never been disappointed. The only negative point for me is the packaging of the face creams. Because the jar is made of clear glass I found that the active ingredients lose their properties quicker than they should. But considering their low price, I don't think it's too bad.
I picked up the nightcream from the Rose Otto range (is it obvious yet that I have an obsession with rose?). The cream claims to be anti-ageing, moisturising and rejuvenating, which are known benefits of roses.
By consequence, rose-based products are a good fit for older skin types. Another reason I picked it up is that it contains rosehip oil. I had recently finished my bottle of Trilogy Rosehip Oil and I'd been so impressed with its effect on my skin, I knew that I wanted to keep some form of the oil in my routine. 

Trilogy Lipgloss - See above

Once a week

Chemins du Nil masque au lait d'anesse (5.90€) - it is not the perfect mask (it contains some fragrance), but I like the fact that it performs the double duty of moisturising (thanks the asses' milk) and cleansing/shrinking my pores (thanks to the kaolin clay).
I don't know which mask I should go for next, so if you have any good recommendation for a natural mask, I'm all ears! Or maybe I could whip up some DIY mask for this series, if you're interested?

Well for a simple skincare regime, that was a long post! I try to keep everything easy and if there's something I don't understand on the label, I tend to skip the product altogether. I quite like the 'if you can't eat it, don't put it on your skin' motto.
What about you? Do you mind the presence of parabens in your cosmetics? Do you find natural products disappointing? I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject as well as any recommendations!
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