Surviving January (and let’s face it, February)

The party well and truly is over. When the summer comes to an end (and trust me, we stretch the feeling to the bitter end), we all start looking forward to the season to be jolly.

The celebrations usually start in early December, but with the shops putting the decorations up in mid-November, it is easy to get carried away by the festive spirit, especially when you love Christmas, like me. And it’s all fun and games.

We eat, we drink, we are merry. Too merry. Then January hits. Even worse, mid-January, when you had time to take a long, hard look at yourself… No bank holidays for a long stretch, dark, dark and cold days, we are poor from all the crimbo expenditure and our bodies are feeling the worse for wear after all the eating and drinking. It is truly dreadful.

So how do I plan to survive? By looking after my mind and body, that is.

The body works

I’ll reach out for the fake tan. I’ve been loving the Fake Bake Five Minute Mouse tan as I feel mega lazy. It’s quick, transfer free, little smell and develops into a gorgeous tan that lasts up to a week (I top up every 4-5 days).

Before bed, I lather myself with the Nivea Rich Nourishing 48h intensive moisturising care, which is perfect to treat your skin, battered by the cold and heating, overnight. It’s a classic that has been reformulated recently and it’s super creamy, delivering up to 48-hour hydration, thanks to the Nivea Deep Moisture Serum and almond oil.

And smells Nivea-comforting. It is very rich, but absorbs well. Next day, I can feel it “coming out as a shower”. This is serious moisturising.

I am a huge fan of pillow sprays and as much as they are for the body, they are for the mind. I am using the Feather & Down pillow spray, together with their shower cream and body oil before going to bed.

I absolutely love the fragrance and if you are not too keen on lavender, this one is definitely for you – so calming, relaxing and absolutely delightful.

Going back to fitness has been on my list for over six months, after being plagued with injuries. I am at a point I can ease myself into my usual routine, a step at a time.

I have just had a proper week of working out – four times, and closer to my old routine, including aerial pilates, ballet barre, an inversion class and circus conditioning. My injury seems to be ok with it and as long as I take it really slowly, it feels promising.

My diet will receive the attention it deserves. No, I am not going radical, but will stick for a while to the ketogenic diet my MSK specialist doctor recommended, to diminish inflammation, as well as taking good supplements like probiotics and immune system support, which worked a treat for me this year.

That also includes cutting down alcohol (dramatically? we’ll see about that), in quantity but mainly type as some are more irritable to my body than others.

I will also stick to my Zenii Radiance and Skin Health supplements as they do work a treat to fight dullness.

Minding the gap

My mental health will be a huge focus this year, so I’m starting strong in January to set myself up for the year. I will practice mindfulness, work to prevent thoughts from becoming compulsive and my actions turning obsessive and spiralling out of control.

Planning my budget and organising my life in general has always been a struggle, so I am aiming to put a realistic plan together. That should enable me from planning for the travels and hobbies I want to squeeze in 2018.

Attention will be focused on what matters; people who matter. Friends who are supportive, reliable and positive. Of course, no one is like that all the time, but it’s the give and take balance that is really important here. I will not be a sole giver. Unreliable friends make me anxious and why would I want to be around people show are not supportive? Exactly.

Creating rituals is important for me. I must go back to “face mask Wednesdays”, “mani Thursdays”, or “deep stretch Mondays”. You get the drift – something that is great for body and mind. Two birds and all that.

And the blog, which has saved me through so much, will continue to be my haven and I will (and already have been) paying more attention to it,

How are you planning to survive during these dark months?

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

 

 

 

2017: good riddance

You know when you are in the Crimbo limbo and start thinking about your life… well. Have a sit. But not beofre making yourself a cup of tea…

When 2017 started, I seemed to have it all: I was comfortable with myself, I was going to move to my very own flat and I had met someone who seemed perfect, late in 2016, and we seemed to be good together. Great right?

Plan and simply happy, I was soooo looking forward to it and waltzed into it full of hope. It turns out the world went a bit messed up, and hell, so did my life.

While the move into the new flat in February was smooth – and quite frankly, amazing (but we will get to the good once a I have a good old moan) – from there on things started to crumble.

And one of the most difficult things for me to overcome has installed itself in: my anxiety started creeping in as soon as the flat buying rush started to calm down.

“Perfect” man decided, well, that in retrospect, he wasn’t so perfect, and after almost four months, couldn’t “do us”, announced two days before Valentine’s, over the phone. I was left with a card and a gift which would never met their recipient, but worst of all, with a heart so broken, in so many tiny pieces, I still think it will never be mended. I was surprised that A) I was actually in love and B) he wasn’t. What?! And I cried.

Anxiety reached peak. I was on edge, my OCD kicked off into unmanageable levels. I cried some more. I had awful physical symptoms and my blood pressure went up.

I struggled to leave the house except when I absolutely needed to (basically work and pushed myself to go to blog events. I STOPPED DRINKING (what, you say? Who even are you?).

But I thought the summer would sort me out. Well, it didn’t. So I cried a bunch more – alright, a lot more –  and started the long road of (yet again) rebuilding my shattered self through therapy and the excruciating hard work on myself.

As in a Mariah Carey song, “you’re all smiles but in your eyes, your sorrow shows, yes, it shows”. That was me.

Then I got injured. Oh, yeah, twice. And recovery has been long. To be away from the one of the couple things that keeps me sane was a huge blow to my balance and self esteem. That pulled me inside that hole even further, together with the fact I could barely recognise my inflating, weaker and inflexible body.

Boys were generally rubbish. Although I did have all he fun, the ones I liked a bit weren’t that upfront with me, some came out of the woodwork after months of disappearing looking for an easy shag, some even reappeared not knowing I knew they were back with their exes. Yes, I knew [insert eyeroll here]. Yes, I liked him an awful lot. No, I didn’t see him again. No, I won’t ever see him again.

I became extremely sceptical and detached on the romantic front.

My ex of 7 years got married within 1.5 years of meeting this (also Brazilian) girl on Tinder I believe a mere 2 weeks after we moved apart, four days before my bday. Oh yeah.

For the record, I hadn’t already been in love with him for quite a while when we broke up and we did so in great terms. I knew he was engaged (he proposed on NYE) and going to get married this year, but I ended up finding out on Instagram on the day it was happening. NOT COOL, mate. Not cool.

Some parts of my small network of friends proved to be more flawed than I anticipated. I seemed to insist on non-supportive, unreliable, “I’ll be all over you when I need you but am rarely there when you need me” only to, surprise, feel let down and lonely.

One of my besties decided to move to Australia. Another great friend decided not to come back from Australia (Australia, I am starting to have a problem with you).

My grandfather passed away in Brazil, it devastated me, it is still hard to think (or write more) about it, as he was a huge part of my life. Then my aunt had some scary health problems.

The blog suffered. As the anxiety exhaustion kicked in, I felt little motivation to write. Traffic dropped and even when I came out of the worse patches of anxiety, the motivation was low. I started posting less and have struggled to get back into it.

What a stupid year, 2017. Talk about disappointment, I had high hopes for you.

So, I feel I HAVE to focus on the good things (I mean, did you read the above? Jeez). And it’s amazing how many there are when you actually think about it:

  • I bought a freaking flat. On my own. In London. And I made it up exactly how I wanted. I am f*cking proud of that.
  • I reigned back my anxiety. It was a long and painful process, harder than the first time it hit me this bad. Many times I just couldn’t see how I’d get out of that. It is still a day at a time battle, but when you started to have way more good days than bad, you know you’re in the path to controlling your mental health.
  • My anxiety had very little impact in my performance at work. And I am very proud of myself for that.
  • I found a twinsie friend.
  • I found support where I least expected.
  • Despite being sh*t at blogging this year, I actually got some amazing opportunities and am so grateful for that.
  • My family back home seems to be closer than ever, which makes me so happy all the way here.
  • Another bestie is expecting a much desired baby. I might even love a child for a change.
  • I rediscovered my love for glitter. Ok, I know, but I had to add this here.

So how I am taking 2018? At my pace; I have no shame to say it will be all about me (I mean, to be honest, it’s always all about me. I hate resolutions list but I will:

  • Put myself and my health in the first place. Mental and physical.  I will take time for myself, I will be mindful of it, I will go back to fitness and look after my body. Circus activities which I love so much will be back and I’m sorting out my diet.
  • Give toxic and unrealiable people no time. At all.
  • Give f*ckboys no time. I’m genuinely bored of ya.
  • Work harder on the blog. Actually pour in the love I have for it.
  • Dance more. Just go out and dance.
  • Not be too hard on myself. I really struggle seeing how good I can be, what I can achieve and always think I am not good enough.
  • Holiday more. I have only been to one holiday in 2017 and that, my friend, is nowhere near good enough.
  • Volunteer. I used to a while back and must return to it. I always felt I got so much more than I was giving!
  • Get a new hobby. I haven’t yet decided what I want to do, burlesque is currently at the top of the list, inspired by one of my besties.
  • Have a long hard think about my career and where I am going, where I want to be and if the path is right.
  • Concentrate on people who matter. Show them I love them, make an effort.
  • Be a little bit more sensible with money.
  • Nurture (and ideally grow) my network of friends.

Phew. Thanks for hanging in there. Please send some cheer and tell me you had a better year. How did 2017 treat you?

written by Dani

When one scent is not enough…

Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal from scentaddict by the Fragrance ShopUntil a few years ago, I stuck to the same fragrance. It was my thing, my signature.

Then, something happened. Maybe I started realising I was one and many a person… maybe I just got lured by the many scents on the market, bombarding my senses. Who knows?

Enter scentaddict by the Fragrance Shop celebrates the need to change fragrances ever so often, with little guilt. In fact, it lets you “date” it for a while, before deciding if you want to commit.

I don’t know about you, but usually the very base notes on fragrances are the one I do not like, do to know I really like a perfume, I need to wear it for a while, see how it develops on my skin and how it lasts throughout the day.

The deal

atomiser - scentaddict by the Fragrance Shop

With scentaddict you can do just that. For a monthly subscription of £12 you get 30 days (8ml) of your chosen fragrance, including luxurious, expensive ones, to try in a lovely refillable atomiser.

To start with, you add up to 12 fragrances to your account and the first one will be with you in about 2 weeks. You can choose to receive the another fragrance you selected the following month or the same one.

Should you really fall in love with a scent and decide that’s the one for you (you know, it an happen), you can redeem the£12 towards the cost of a full bottle.

As it’s a subscription service you can pick a different scent every month until you find the one! It’s a really a discovery service and you can stop at any time.

The one for me 

I got Scandal, a delicious John Paul Gaultier fragrance which has the most relatable pin-up legs up – if you cannot make up the relation to me, have a scroll through my Instagram. It might become apparent.

Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal from scentaddict by the Fragrance ShopThe top notes are citric (blood orange and grapefruit), and I am not a citrus fragrance person. Having said that, the opening is rather sweet and crisp.

However, it was the delicious heart of honey and gardenia that really hooked me in, offering a mellow, sweet smell finished with a strong patchouli base. It’s a world away from the classic JPG that is not quite my cup of tea.

Plus, those heeled legs? I mean, what’s not to love?

You can get all the info on scentaddict by the Fragrance Shop on their website, where you can subscribe and start flirting with a plethora of scents – there are more than 100 to try!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

That peeling face mask…

Oh face masks… is there anything that screams being pampered more than a lush face mask accompanied by a fluffy dressing gown?

BLAQ mask (£14) is a peel-off facial mask with activated charcoal to target toxins and draw out impurities.

I must admit I’ve been a bit scared of peel-off black face masks as so many people seem to have had some asphalt mix that set on their faces, was damn hard to peel and took a layer of their epidermis off when finally pulled out, leaving them with that newborn panda look.

But when I got my hands on this, I could not resist and I am glad I didn’t.

After cleansing and using a warm cloth to open pores, I applied an even layer of the mask avoiding hairline, eyebrows, lips and eye area.

I waited around 15 minutes and I went off to peel the shiny layer of face mask that was set like plastic on my face.

Laugh away:

I found a little spot to grab on to and started. It did come off quite easily, and although I could feel the pull, it wasn’t aggressive on the skin, but there was a little bit of redness.

After a few minutes, my skin felt super soft, clearer, calmer; blackheads were pulled out.

Together with the face mask, I also got the BLAQ Hydrogel Eye Masks (£22), which I have to say, I’ve been very excited about.

The slug like patches come in a solution and are extremely soothing and cooling upon application.

After 15 minutes they easily come off and the area felt de-puffed and had a glow, brighter and tighter. Sounds a load of rubbish, but I did noticed a visible change.

It contains glycerin, witch hazel extract, bamboo charcoal, Irish moss powder (0.1%), konjac fibre, algin and citric acid.

Finally, the BLAQ Meteor Shower scrub (£19.95). I mean, just to start with: pretty. It fells lovely on the skin, and really exfoliates, leaving it soft, shimmery and glowy. It is perfect to prep for tanning!

I find it quite sweet that you can “track” the origin of the meteorites used on your scrub. Each pack has a number, here’s mine:

It contains sea salt flakes, meteorite powder, mica, activated charcoal, soybean oil, sugar and olive fruit oil. The meteorite powder as found in the scrub is 100% biodegradable; the scrub has no preservatives or additives, and BLAQ does not test on animals!

You can get them all at blaq.co.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Urban yoga

My body has now entered rehab mode. My gluteus tendonitis, which is an office injury, means that circus is, for now, off the table.

So I am giving my body time to heal and what better than yoga to help the process? Add all the much needed mind benefits and there I was, with a smile on my face to be invited to the launch of the Karma Sanctum Yoga brunch club.

Taking place monthly at the lovely boutique Karma Sanctum hotel in Soho, London, the experience has a whole hour Vinyasa flow yoga with Katie Silver, coconut water, Lululemon yoga mats, a goodie bag, bottomless healthy brunch at the lovely heated hotel rooftop.

Oh, and did I mention there is a hot tub you can also use after your practice? Of yeah, THAT.

Carol and I headed to the inaugural yoga session, which took place at their cinema room. I found Katie excellent; an instructor who delivered a class for all levels.

Her voice and presence are calming and soothing, her instructions paced and clear, her adjustments fair and focused on you, even on a large class. And the orange oil she used at the end was divine.

Carol also pointed out that Katie was very available (and smiley!) after the practice, talking to some attendees about their technique, how to improve postures, etc.

On the bottomless, al fresco buffet brunch menu devised by James Cathcart, coffee, rolls, pancakes, plenty of fruit, fresh juices, yoghurt, scrambled eggs and avocados (made into a delicious guacamole). Being able to mix and match is really great. The setting is calming and it was great to be outside.

Carol and I were expecting to perhaps see gluten free carbs opposed to white rolls and very healthy smoothies/green juices, but those were not available, although we were satisfied with the fresh and filling fare provided.

Then I got changed and took a dip on the fabulous hot tub, with some super relaxing jets that soothed my muscles post-practice. I left feeling light, relaxed and open. What a delightful way to reset for the new week.

Overall, I believe it is very good value for money!

If you want to snap up one of the 20 monthly spaces, go to sanctumsoho.com and get booking. Yoga sessions start at 10 and finish at 11, with brunch/hot tubbing going until 13:30 on a Sunday. The next one is on the 4th June, then 30th July and it costs £40 per session.

On the goodie bag, great brands such as Skin & Tonic (which I love!), Yogandha Body Oil, Gallinee Hand Cream, Potion London, Orelia and Hype Clothing, probably worth more than the session alone!

To find out more about Katie, visit her website.

Celebrating Real Beauty

This year, Dove is celebrating 60 years. A lot of those have been spent, apart from caring for our skin, supporting a healthy body image: all shapes and sizes hold #RealBeauty.

We all have our curves, edges and sizes that makes us one of a kind, unique, a very limited edition. So Dove gave their classic body wash a little makeover in these six limited edition 250ml bottles, in different shapes and sizes to celebrate diversity.

Needless to say, I was so glad to receive the bottles for what they remind me of: the sometimes very hard task to love myself as I am.

And it seems I am succeeding a bit when I am thanked for being an “inspirational woman (…) helping advance the real beauty debate; using influence to help women embrace their own individuality as a source of confidence”.

I try that, not only through the way I do love my body (most of the times!) and am not scared to show my individuality out there. Of course I do also look up to other women that make me strong in my quest!

I think recently the Instagram post below says a lot about it.

The body wash is creamy and has a gentle formulation containing NutriumMoisture which delivers natural nutrients, nourishes deep and helps maintain the moisture barrier for soft, comfortable and clean skin.

The Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash is widely available (RRP £2.55) and I personally love the smell of the classic!

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

More shower time bliss

Oh, shower products. 2017 is seeing a fab influx of great shower products: inventive formulations, better skincare and different textures. I love it.

Nivea, another brand very close to my heart, has some amazing brand new products to elevate the shower bliss: the Nivea Care Shower Milk Mousse (RRP £2.99) and the Nivea Shower Creme & Oil Pearls (RRP £2.39).

The Shower Silk Mousse contains silk extract, essential oils plus almond oil and is amazingly foamy. The soft lather applies heavenly on the skin, cleansing and leaving it extra soft.

It comes in three gorgeous fragrances: Creme Care, Creme Soft and Creme Smooth, and I love it has a scratch and sniff sticker on the lid, so you know what it smells without needing to open it.

The Shower Creme & Oil Pearls is a rich cream with Argan oil and vitamin E enriched oil golden pearls, providing intensive skincare and moisturisation.

Comes in Cherry Blossom, Ylan Ylang and Lotus, fragrances to relax you mind while looking after you body, for a luxurious showering experience at home.

It does lather very little as it is a créme. It does, however, feel amazing, during and after use.

You can also see the golden pearls that burst their goodness as soon as you massage into the skin. The fragrances really provide a bit of oomph.

Both the Nivea Shower Creme & Oil Pearls and the Shower Silk Mousse and their lovely variations are available from retailers nationwide.

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Beauty treasure trove

I must start this post with the admission that I fell out of love with beauty boxes a while ago but the March Glossybox really made me see the excitement with these monthly beauty delights.
The March edition came brimming with some of my favourite brands and two full size products I truly love (and *may* even have graced the blog before!).
I have said before that their hand cream are second to none, so it is only fair that I start with the superb Crabtree & Evelyn Somerset Meadow Hand Therapy Cream.
Of course, the formula is the amazing one we know and the Somerset Meadow fragrance is light and fresh: a sunny summer morning in green fields in a tube. And in its 25g, it is the right size for your handbag.
Then, comes the Sleek Eye & Cheek palette which I raved about before. It has everything for the flawless transition from day to night in a compact form for the makeup bag. I got probably the more party-like of the lot, slightly more tricky to use (but with a killer gold shadow and blushers).
The other three versions are much more neutral and I have the Midsummer’s Dream one and I am seeing the pan on most shades.  Amazing pigmentation and price. What’s not to love?
Now, I am a huge fan of this works. I don’t think there is a single product they do that doesn’t work for me (because, well, this works!) and I do have the full size of the versatile in transit camera close-up primer, moisturiser and mask.
It is reportedly a must have on Mrs Beckham’s travel bag so if it is good for her, well, I am in. That aside, it is a great product; a fantastic moisturising base for makeup which I use quite often, so glad to have a travel size.
Another brand I like a lot, Schwarzkopf is present in the form of the BC Bonacure Oil Miracle Brazilnut Oil Pulp Treatment, a rich hair mask to restore shine and nourishment.
To be used twice a week for 5-10 minutes for manageable, shiny hair.
Finally, a brand that is new to me (shock, horror): Oolution. The eye love is 100% natural and 65% organic.
It contains antioxidants and it is very hydrating to help banish puffiness and dark circles, morning or night! Behaves well under makeup and you just need a little bit.
Glossybox is available through monthly subscription for £10/month (+ P&P). Always five products, at least a full size one and they always bring special editions that sell out pretty fast!
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Pear-fect care and protection

When you are 100% sure you found your hands down favourite Dove deodorant scent, they bring out something completely different to confuse you. Meet the Dove GoFresh Pear and Aloe Vera antiperspirant deodorant.

I’m not usually one for fresh scents but this one hooked me in, so once again, the collaboration with Givaudan pays off for Dove.

The pear and aloe vera fragrance is fresh, but very feminine. The sweetness of the pear totally does it for me, if I am honest.

On top of that, Dove is always improving the formula on their products and of course you can count on the 1/4 moisturising cream, which is now, in fact, is using the same ingredients as luxury face creams, to care for your underarms’ skin, keeping it soft, as well as protect against sweat for 48 hours.

Worth remembering that when we shave our underarms, 36% is actually skin! No wonder that often neglected part of the body can feel dry and irritated.

The range contains the fabulous anti-perspirant in spray, roll-on and stick, body wash and the brand new shower foam, which I will have to talk about in a separate post as it is divine!

You can get the fabulous Dove GoFresh Pear and Aloe Vera range from retailers nationwide and products are priced from £2.65.

For more information on all amazing products from Dove, including the 2017 launches and their Self-esteem Project, visit the Dove UK website.

P.S.: Sorry about the cheesy headline. Obviously I could not resist!

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

A sweet shower

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-2What excites me more than cake? You guessed right: beauty products!

Patisserie de Bain has the most gorgeous smelling products around, with real delicious desserts smelling bath, shower and bdy products to indulge and relax.

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-3If like me, you are rather partial to a sweet scent, feast on their Strawberry Cupcake range, which combines the smell of strawberries and cream.

The shower créme (£3.99/200ml) is rich, gentle and lathers amazingly; skin feels clean and moisturised.

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-4The body lotion (£4.99/200ml) is silky and glides on skin, absorbs well, leaving skin soft and with the most amazing subtle scent.

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-5Who doesn’t love a bath bomb (£4.99)? Well, this one gives you a sweet explosion to tingle all your senses! It fizzles out for total relaxation!

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-6Finally, this little hand cream (£3.99/50ml), a delight to carry around in the handbag or keep by the bedside. Absorbs well and leaves hands moisturised and soft, and of course, with that fab sweet smell.

The Strawberry Cupcake range also has a cupcake soap and fancy, mini bath bombs on a delightful vintage glass  jar, hand cream pot and a soap cake slice.

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-1And they have all sorts of delights: cherry pie, lemon bon bon, sugared violet, cranberries and cream and orange crush, on top of some fab limited editions, such as the lovely créme patissiêre range I reviewed not long ago. All made in the UK to make you feel and smell divine, with a great value for money!

signature1

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains a mix of products I have bought myself and PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.