Saturday, 28 November 2015

Daily Morning Skincare Routine

I'll be honest, it took me years to find the right products that actually suit my skin type.

I took after my mother in the break out department and used to have a full face of acne, and I didn't know better, nor did my family, so I popped everything and used a lot of wrong products. This left me a lot of scars and dilated pores.

At 23, I like to think I know my skin fairly well. I have an uneven skin tone, acne prone, enlarged pores and an oily t-zone, although it isn't the shiny type of skin. They call it a Type 3 Skin Type.

My skin definitely isn't the most perfect, but with the help of certain products, I feel that it is better. I find it smoother, less oily, acceptable of make up, cleaner, with smaller pores, less break outs, and above all, healthier.

Having a good skin care routine is almost a rule nowadays and like many of you I have sat down for hours looking up reviews of products I want to buy, only to sometimes, after reading so many good and bad reviews of the same products, to be as confused as I was before searching them away.

I'm a firm believer that for skin, if it suits you and is actually GOOD for your skin, price shouldn't be the main concern. There are always products that do the exact same thing and are a lot cheaper than the high end products some of us want to buy but can't. All we have to do is search and search well. And understand our skin.

Although the right products sometimes work magic on our skin, don't forget that you can't expect actual miracles if your not taking care of yourself. As silly as this may sound to some, food does affect our skin. Being healthy sometimes is the main key to having a pretty darn good skin. My before and after choosing to take care of myself and my body has done wonders for me.



After so many years on the wrong though, these are the products I use on a daily basis and that agree with me:

Since I have such enlarged pores that clog up quite easily, I need to keep them cleared out so they don't end up breaking out. For that, for the past year, I have been using the Clarisonic Mia 2 combined with the deep pore cleansing brush head (you have to buy this one separately). While I use this everyday, I do so because my skin isn't the sensitive type. For those out there with a sensitive type skin, I'd be more attentive and careful and perhaps only use this every other day.

Albeit there is a lot of controversial on the Clarisonic, personally, it has done wonders on my skin and I have never felt my skin cleaner than when using this product.

I use this along with the Dr Brandt Pores No More cleanser nettoyant. (According to the product it uses tea tree oil, willow bark and salicylic acid to dissolve impurities and decongest pores) On my skin it does just that. I feel like it also helps controlling the oil on my skin without actually drying it up like some products do.

After cleaning out my skin, I like to use either the Garnier Cleansing Micellar Water or The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner to make sure I've taken out every bit of dirt off of my skin. I use the latter more frequently but it's usually what's most at hand as I love both products immensely. The Tea Tree collection of TBS is tremendously good for oily type of skin and I own almost all products of that range.

When it comes to a moisturizer I go back and forth between two products, the Dr Brandt pores no more anti-aging mattifying lotion, and the Clinique Superdefense Daily Defense Moisturizer (Combination Oily to Oily Skin).* The first is nice and light and lasts quite nicely on my skin without making it oily at the end of the day and it's a great moisturizer. The latter - it's a love hate type of relationship. I used to love it, until they updated the formula. It's still great on the skin but it doesn't control the oiliness as much.

I've actually been curious on both the Origins GinZing moisturizer and the Origins Perfect world moisturizer so if you use any of those let me know what you think.

On the days that I'm breaking out, I like to use The Body Shop Tea Tree oil, under the moisturizer as I feel it helps and 'attacks' better the area, as opposed to putting it on after the moisturizer. It's honestly the kind of product that's easy to use (in the sense that you control how much you use), doesn't dry my skin and it's anti bacterial.This does not by any means, 'remove' already existent zits, but it takes out the redness and helps prevent it's growth / future zits.

Because I'm very insecure about my pores, and even though this isn't at all a make up daily routine, after applying my moisturizer and before applying either my BB Cream or Foundation, I like to use the Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector. There isn't much to say about this product other than it does exactly what it says and even smoothes out my skin, allowing the makeup to be applied easily. It works wonder for me. It also doesn't leave a shininess that most products that do the same, leave

* Product not shown in the picture above as I've ran out and have yet to buy one.

What type of skin do you have? What's your favourite product to use on your skin? Let me know in the comments.

Ella x

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

Self confidence

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It's really hard to feel beautiful on a daily basis, and I think that everyone at a point or another, has struggled to feel beautiful.

Until about a year ago, I had never felt so. I had tried, but I always ended up thinking down on myself. It wasn't even about the people around me, it was my own self, bringing myself down. Last year I decided it was time to change that and since then yeah, I've allowed myself to feel beautiful.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't to say it's easy. It's still difficult. It's really hard. But the matter of the facts is that I try.

It's a cliché yes, but we are all very beautiful in our own way. If someone makes you feel less than you deserve then it's honestly their problem. Media doesn't help, showing off a representation of a woman that is nothing more than unrealistic and unattainable. By their own standards, it's hard to find someone who actually meets those characteristics.

It's not a shock that most women and even men, are unsatisfied by their appearance. We can't keep up with how fast the designation of beautiful changes.

So, we need to find our own designation. We need to be our own definition of beautiful. Can other people really tell us how good we look? Yes. But they do so by their own standards. That's the thing, opinions are opinions. We do not, by any means, have to agree with them. An opinion is like an ass, everyone has one and no ass is really the same.

I think that at the end of the day what we have to do is work on the opinion we have of ourselves. It's okay to have down days, but we need to understand that we're all we have. This is all we have. Thinking poorly of this thing that is our human body is only going to do more damage.

So we get up in the morning, and we believe that today is going to be a very good day. We're going to put on the clothes that make us feel good. And keep in mind that not everyone feels good in the same type of clothes. Some find a sweatshirt better than a skirt.

But we're going to look in the mirror and think "Today I look damn fine." It's not going to be easy. It's going to be really hard, but it's going to be worth it. I still don't like looking in the mirror, but I try. It's one step at a time.

We're also going to smile. We're going to stop comparing ourselves to everyone else around us. We're going to focus on the best instead of the worse. We're going to do what we like doing, whether that's exercise or going to the movies or read a book.

And we're going to remember that our inner beauty will always be more important. We're going to stop trying too hard to be someone we're not. we're going to stop destroying ourselves.

Work on you, instead of on those who don't matter. Be who you want to be. Believe me, that person is so beautiful.
I know I'm still a work in progress but one day, it won't be so difficult anymore.

Ella x

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Saturday, 14 November 2015

November


November is by far my favourite month of the year. Not only because it's my birthday month (16th) but because it's the month leading up to Christmas and Christmas is my favourite season.

It's the month that for me, marks the beginning of winter, and who doesn't enjoy staying in with a cup of hot chocolate? It's the month that seems to agree with me the most be it in terms of skin, humour, clothes, best nights of sleep, and food. Everyone around me always seems happier too.

Everything seems cleaner outside, it always rains, the flannel sheets are on, there's usually always something cooking up in the oven, fuzzy slippers are a thing, Christmas shopping lists are out, and I always end up wearing darker clothes than any other season of the year.

I don't know what winter entails for other people but for me it's easy: cosier clothes, boots, a lot tea, Sundays at home curled up on the couch watching Harry Potter, and getting out of hugging everyone because it's too cold to deny me one.

It's also the time of the year where I buy even more books than I should, and when all stores remember to have great collections that drive me crazy because I know I can't buy everything I want.

Let's not forget that there are also a lot of pumpkin related things, and pumpkin related things always taste better in November and December.

I'm just glad Christmas is coming and I get to be around the people I love most.    

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Friday, 6 November 2015

Wanderlust

There aren't many things in life that I'm sure of, and when I think I am, something always comes up to change that.

Travelling and wanting to see the world, so far, hasn't.

I have a lot of friends and a lot of family members that have been absolutely everywhere and that has always left a ping of jealousy in me. Having grown up with my grandparents and being a part of a lower class community I haven't been so fortunate.

I know what you're thinking - excuses. Well yes. I agree with you. But other expenses always come up. There are always more important things.

Over the years I've compiled a list of the places I want to visit and why. Today I decided to share this list.

ps: although not mentioned (yet), London is number one on my bucket list.

/// Morocco.

It's an exotic city with its own personality and an unique culture. What more can you ask for? It's a city waiting to be explored, and that will enrich your soul once you do.

From everything I've researched throughout the years there's a lot I want to see. It's a spellbinding exotic and beautiful destination.

Here are a couple of things I want to do once I set my foot in Marrakech soil: the souks and markets, the heart of the city, also known as Djemma el Fna - during the day a shopping heaven, and at night, known for its entertainment. I will also definitely visit the Museum de Marrakech, the building alone worth a visit. The Hamman, a significant part of the peoples lives and beliefs. The Saadian tombs, surrounded by magnificent arched ceilings, marble and mosaics carvings. And, among other things, Medina: the historic centre of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site for Outstanding Universal Value.

Last but not least, Moroccan foods. Damn, does that couscous look delicious.

 

/// Italy.

I've done a lot of history studying: it's not a secret that I'm an architecture, arts, museums, history kind of girl. It's just my thing. So, it's only common sense to have one of the oldest cities in Europe on my list. I'd be nuts not to.

It's the perfect city to wander around, without any aim, and I know I'll end up finding something that'll leave me in awe. Let's start with its history spanning over 2500 years: considered the birthplace of western civilisation and its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There's history in every corner. It doesn't get better than that for me. Then there's the architecture: everywhere you look there's something - the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Vatican, the fountains such as the Trevi Fountain or La Fontana Delle Tartarughe, the neighbourhood of Trastevere, considered by many the Real Rome, The Temple or Hercules Victor, among others.

They also have the perfect trap to make me never want to leave: the food. The gelato, or the pizza, or the pasta, or their markets full of fresh fruit. Even the coffee and the wine.

I know I could stay there for months on end and still not see half of what there is to see. I could also write a novel on the reasons why I want to visit Rome, but I won't. I'll keep it to myself.

/// Italy.

I know what you're thinking: Venice, one of the best places to go for a romantic vacation. Well, I'm single, and I've been single for a while so that isn't the case. I'll do the romantic trip by myself. Its greatness is still well documented to this day.

Venice's architectural, cultural and artistic heritage is simply mind blowing. But Venice is mostly well known for four things: the wine, being one of Italy's most important wine growing areas, its canals, the Film Festival and the Architecture Biennale.

I mean, to listen to Vivaldi at La Fenice Theatre, to go to the Gallery dell'Accademia, to visit the city of Palaces, to take a tour on a Gondola or to visit the Acqua Alta Bookshop and the Coffee Museum. What more can you ask for when you're travelling? Consider me sold.

Again, like Rome, we could spend hours aimlessly walking, and we'd never run out of things to see.

Should I mention the food, or is it not necessary anymore?

/// France.

France is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. It's hard to find an area in France that's anything but outstandingly beautiful and interesting.

Provence has so much to offer: from its scenery (from the mountains to the panoramas to some of the most beautiful hilltop villages in the whole world), to the cuisine (shocker?), the cultural and, again, architectural heritage, the museums and exhibitions, the shopping, among many other things.

I also happen to be a sports girl, and I like adventure, and I've always been interested in kayaking in the river canyons, walking in the beautiful hills, cycle along the tracks and swim in the Riviera.

Let's not forget that it's also known for two other things: custom made perfume and vintage wines, such as Rhone Valley, legendary for the Chateauneuf-du-Pape reds and whites. Who doesn't like wine, or to create their own perfume?

I truly believe that Provence is much more than just a beautiful place to travel to. I feel like, anywhere I go to, there is plenty of good for the soul in the peace and tranquillity of this region.

Also, from what I've read and heard, everyday is a market day somewhere in Provence.

/// France.

Paris is the cosmopolitan city of France. It's widely known for art, culture, fashion, gastronomy, history and architecture. It's not a surprise that this is, even in this economy, one of the most visited cities in the world. It is known by many as the City of Light, City of Love and the Capital of Fashion.

I could compile a list what I want to do while there, but I'd probably never run of things to write, so I'll just give you a few pointers: the world's most visited museum, the Louvre, (Who doesn't want to see Mona Lisa live at least at a point in their lives?), the Pompidou Centre and the Orsay Museum or even the Cite de la Musique.

Let's not forget the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysees avenue, Notre Dame, Chateau de Versailles (UNESCO world heritage), Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Coeur Basilica, La Conciergerie,but these are only historic landmarks. Like in Portugal and Italy and many other European countries, in every corner there is something to see, something to explore, so again, my list could be endless.

It wouldn't be me if I didn't mention the food: cheese, bread, croissants, the patisseries, the wines, etcetera, etcetera.

It's an energetic city you can't run away from: there will always be something to do here. And I think you'll leave feeling immensely in love with the country, and immensely creative.

I mean, it's Paris.

/// China.

From all the photos I've seen, it just doesn't look real to me. I mean, how in the world? So I've made it my mission to one day, just go see it with my very own two eyes.

It's no wonder why it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a United Nations Geological Park.

It would just be widely satisfying to take a cable car to the top and simply be, simply look at the view.

I don't know, I can't really put into words why I want to visit, but I know that I'll regret it if I get to 90 and not do so. I feel like the picture is self explanatory.

/// Netherlands.

It's a city I'd like to go to in the winter. Ever had that feeling where you know it's going to be cold as heck, but a place just looks warm to you nevertheless? That's Amsterdam to me.

I've always been curious to know what it's like to hop on a bike and wander the canals, and admire the beautiful views.

It's a place I'd like to escape to one day. Learn the language. Explore Begijnhof, go to the markets, wander in the neighbourhood that is Jordaan or De Negen Straatje. I'd also be a liar if I didn't mention the Anne Frank House or the Van Gogh Museum or the Hermitage Museum or the Foam Gallery or the Pianola Museum (I heard somewhere that you can attend concerts here, and that you basically listen to a playerless piano)- I mean, who could escape that??

Someone please take me there, I feel like I could lose myself - or better yet, find myself amidst losing myself in this city.

/// Meteora, Greece.

What an epic visit this would be, right? There's much more to Greece than the beautiful beaches and clear crystal waters. I mean, I wouldn't complain at all if I took a few weeks off and a beach somewhere in Greece was my destination. This is a whole landscape itself though.

But I still fee like there is more. Perhaps it's the thought of observing the landscape of Pindos and Antihasia from the mountains, that would probably make me feel like I haven't seen or experienced anything at all in the world. Or visiting all the 6 monasteries, still active, at the top of those mountains. Or visit the Church of Transfiguration,

Still, waking up in a place like this, with a view like this, must be an experience out of this world.

Would there be a better place to parachute at? Or mountain bike, or raft, or horseback, or ski at? I truly believe that if I have to do one of these things for the first time in my life, and I do, this is the place.

It also has the whole, warm, cheap, delicious food, incredible and friendly people vibe to it. there isn't much more you could ask for.

I also think it's pretty incredible that Eyrie of the Vale from GOT (Game of Thrones) is based on Meteora.

It's on my bucket list.

/// Peru. 

This is by many, known as the lost city of Incas. These beautiful mountain-top ruins were unknown to anyone living outside of the Urubamba Valley and nearby Cusco until 1911. This pretty much means the Incan architecture is still preserved to this day.

This is by many considered the trip of a lifetime and I want to find out why. This has so many natural and cultural treasure that still mange to fascinate everyone who visit, that there has to be a reason why, right?

I'm sure that, like many other countries, even those not mentioned above, it has an incredible history, available to find out through Museums, the towns and village, the ruins or even just by wandering around. I mean, the Inca Ruins are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the world.

I just know I want to do a guided tour around the ruins. I also know that Peru is absolutely beautiful, and it'd be silly of me not to have this on my list.

______________________

These are honestly only a couple of the places I want to visit. There are so much more. So many things I want to do in life, so many places I'd like to go to. There are what, 193 / 194 countries in the world?

I'm a lover of many things and although I haven't travelled much, I know travelling is a passion of mine. It's something I'll want to do until I can't anymore. And even then someone will have to tie me up on a chair somewhere.

Perhaps I'll give you more of the ones on my list some other day. Who knows?

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