Simple things in life

2016 is behind us and 2017 is here.

2016 for me was a year of adapting to a new way of living, where this little most wonderful creature came into my life and took priority over ‘me’. Even the poor little parrot had to move over in bed and his neck rub count has significantly declined. However, I am working on improving that. In fact the parrot is learning to dance.

After being on maternity leave, my attitude to work has somewhat changed and despite really enjoying the independence and ‘me’ time that working now gives me, I know that family and doing what one loves is what give true joy.

So this year I hope will be more about enjoying the simple things in life. Such as cuddling my little one, literally exploring the world and developing our senses. Whether it’s learning a new word or demonstrating what happens if you push a pen into a balloon..

Considering the disruption of the status quo in the world, it’ll be better to ride through the storm whilst learning some calligraphy, writing more post cards, reading a book or two and simply being serene. Whilst exploring some fabulous places, trying out some tasty food and broadening my horizons on beauty potions and lotions.

Happy 2017.

 

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Afternoon tea with Marie Chantal and M&S 

Recently I had the occasion to be part of a magical afternoon tea at Haymarket Hotel organised by Mothers Meeting for the launch of Marie Chantal’s new collaboration with M&S. For those of you who don’t know, Marie Chantal is a high end children’s wear brand. I only discovered MC randomly walking into their boutique on Ledbury road in Notting Hill where I discovered the cutest onesies for babies with angel wings. It’s funny how priorities change once one becomes a mom. I really tried my best to sneak out for an hour from the office to be part of his preview of baby clothes!

I couldn’t believe the stunning setting when I entered the room. The table was decorated with gorgeous balloons and there were pieces from the new collection to be seen – all 33 of them. With room full of inspiring and ambitious ladies, mothers, above all, I was somewhat surprised to hear that Marie Chantal, the founder, was there too. I did not actually realise, only until after the event, that Marie Chantal, the founder, is an actual princess. I call my daughter one all the time!

There was a magician attending to keep the children entertained, I was somewhat sad I couldn’t have my little girl with me. However, more of a reason to get to know other mothers. I was lucky to speak to Marie Chantal,truly an inspiring lady, who told me that the inspiration for her angel wings design was the birth of one of her sons, as his hair was silver and angel-like that the midwife was convinced he was an angel, or at least close to one.

Now the most important part was ,the revelation of collaboration between M&S and Marie Chantal. Meaning that the designs will continue to be as high quality, however they will be more affordable and my little girl will be able to have more dresses fit for a princess.

Like the one below, available at M&S from  1st November 2016.

Summer essential: Magic Organic Apothecary

I’m quite a fan of beauty products that have multiple uses. Mainly because I like being compact with my space and not carry unnecessarily large quantities of items with me. Hence its no wonder I’m quite keen on the MOA balm that was given to me at the recent Mothers Meeting. 


 It promises quite a few things on the package, so I was keen to try out it all in practice. And the truth is that it works. It works great for make up removal, got easily rid of the stubborn Urban Decay mascara. I have been unfortunate to have the 3xB – some burns, bruises and blisters and it has worked soothingly for all the three of them. It easily qualifies to the summer essentials list and works a treat for a summer festival, when one might get bitten by mosquitos and taking off make up is not on the priority list before crashing in the tent in the early hours. 

So what’s the secret ingredient of this green little balm? Yarrow. I didn’t put much thought into it initially, but yarrow is something my grandmother taught me to put on wounds when I was a child. Doh.


Turns out that Achilles, a mythical Greek character, used to carry it with him to treat his army’s battle wounds.

100% English product for 100% English summers can be bought on their website for £12.50.  Love it.

Beauty post-pregnancy: Oskia & Ilcsi face masks

I’ve noticed I’ve hardly done any posts on beauty after my pregnancy. To be honest it’s not that I haven’t taken care of myself after that. I simply have decreased the amount of make-up I use to non-existant. Instead I have wholeheartedly flourished on various masks, which is a fantastic reason to have a bath and take a break from feeding a ferociously hungry little girl. 

I like the idea of clay masks, but at home, the less messy the better it seems.

My two ultimate favourite masks are.. (Drums please) Oskia Renaissance Mask and the Ilcsi Sour Cherry and Blackthorn Gel Mask, which I like to call the Hungarian grandma mask.


Oskia’s Renaissance mask is super easy to apply, looks OK, just makes the face look slightly white and is also easy to remove. It makes my skin feel refreshed and in general, it’s so easy to apply and remove that there’s no excuse really for not using it. The mask promises to increase cell turnover, it works hard to remove tired skin cells and boost cell regeneration. The mask is supposed to reduce the appearance of fine lines, deep cleanses, illuminates skin, with ingredients including natural fruit acids and lactic acid to exfoliate and activate the renewal of skin.

And then there is the Ilcsi Sour Cherry and Blackthorn Gel Mask. It smells like cherry jam your grandmother has prepared. And it also looks like a jam. Putting it on your face makes it look like there are some huge red spots all over your face. Not most flattering, but as long as you’re applying it in the safe surroundings of ones home, it’s fine! Has lovely gel-like texture and skin truly feels refreshed afterwards.

Similarly to the Oskia mask, it includes fruit sugars and acids, to tone and hydrate the skin. Blackthorn is rich in iron, which helps regenerate the skin and improve circulation. I’d be pretty tempted to try out other products from Ilcsi as well, looking at their website with products like pumpkin and orange or apple and lemon gel mask, feels like you want to eat it from the jar!

Grandmother’s potions

  Roaming around my grandmother’s  garden when I was little is probably one of my fondest memories from childhood. She gave me a book, which listed all the healing properties of various herbs and plants. So there I was, plucking camomile blossoms and mint leaves, to lay them out to dry under the sunshine and make them into a comforting brew, when the cold came around.

When I had a baby, my grandmother sent me a book that lists all the natural remedies for illnesses, from garlic and aloe vera to lemon water. My mother brought me chamomile and tilia blossoms and it’s true, herbal teas, only from back home, are what I instantly long for when I’ve got a flu. 

It’s now that I’m a mother myself I really appreciate turning first to nature and then to Calpol and its equivalents. With spring’s arrival I cannot wait to soon pick some blossoms myself to tuck them away ready for next winter.
 

Gentle beauty regime for Janury

   
January is all about trying out the presents found under the Christmas tree. As I’m spending a large part of January in the tropics of Mauritius, my face is, for the large part, make up free. However, it’s still impacted by the sun, sea and the general hot weather. My morning cleanse & moisturise routine has become one of my favourite moments on the day. It awakes the skin AND my eyes. The two favourite products I’ve been using are REN’s Evercalm cleanser and Lumi moisturising day cream.

REN’s Evercalm is just so blissfully cleansing and feels indeed very gentle on the skin.Pretty much does what it says on the tin. It also creates a kind of refreshing sensation, very soothing to apply, so it’ll help you face the day nice and relaxed, not with a big splash.

Even though REN’s Evercalm has left my skin pretty moisturised, I always apply a moisturiser afterwards. I got a fantastic cream from my sister for Christmas, Lumi’s antioxidant day cream. The list of powerful and boosting ingredients is so impressive, that it would be unfair for REN’s Evercalm to post them here. However, the main ingredient is hemp oil, which I didn’t know, “is a valuable source of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, vitamins, chlorophyll, and a rare source of Omega-6 gamma-linolenic acid”. The moisturiser also has an SPF of 6, which is a slight little bonus for that bit of sunshine one might get. The cream feels relatively thick when applied, but I think it still works in +30 or -30 Celsius. All of LUMI’s products contain hyaluronic acid  and lactic acid, which are not the main ingredients, but much loved by other beauty bloggers I’ve followed.

All in all, two excellent products, my skin is happy and the bottles are soothing to look at.

Travel essentials for Tropics

Holidays for me very often involve going somewhere with sea, sun and wind, partly to accommodate my husband’s passion to kitesurf, partly because it’s just damn wonderful. 

I always travel with a very light bag, even for a longer trip, as it’s not like you need very much. These essentials are might just be enough.  

Sunglasses are a must, to delay those crows feet from appearing. It has been difficult for me to find the right fit, however in the end I got there through the help of a Style Guide for Face Shapes Finlay&Co have on their website and an expert honest sales advisor, who led me in the right direction (i.e. don’t buy these, black doesn’t suit you, buy those). 

Sun cream is another must for everyone, however being particularly pale, I do have to take good care. Which I at times forget, I admit. Green People Sunscreen for Children is a great cream I discovered, being for children it’s particularly gentle and doesn’t contain ingredients I prefer not to have, from parabens to petrochemicals. And it lasts very well, even after a good soak in the water.

Hair conditioner is pretty much the only thing that can fight frizzy, sun damaged hair. There’s a fantastic all in one milk by Davines which I’ve been using, which you just have to spray in your hair after towel drying. Smells lush and has a long list of functions such as ‘adding shine, promoting softness, eradicating tangles, minimising frizz, enhancing volume and increasing the longevity of your chosen style’ which means only one bottle for everything is needed. Have to say it does do all the above and has kept my locks moisturised and shiny.

Anything made out of silk is good to take with you as it’s the perfect beach wear, lets your skin breathe, feels luxurious, looks good and most importantly, hardly takes any space in your bag. There are nice, but pricey ranges from Juliet Dunn and Matthew Williamson, but there are always sales. Also check out the selection from Cloe Cassandro, I still regret myself I didn’t get one of those long dresses when I had the chance.

Good book is not really an essential to take with you as at times there are books that other travellers have left behind wherever you go or you could just get one where you go. However I always take one with me, just in case, not worth the risk.

Here’s to holidays!