Monday, 23 December 2013

Daily Life: Quick Update & Festive Cheer!

As I sit here typing, the Disney animation of Alice in Wonderland is playing on TV - as much as I love Alice, I feel like I should at least update before the year is out. The tree's been decorated, there are presents under the tree, we're planning Christmas Day, and I couldn't be more grateful for everything that I've been lucky enough to receive this year - unconditional love, new friendships, continued friendships, a job, insights into different countries and their cultures.. but I'm also thankful for something that I think most people forget.. The fact that I am still alive, happy and healthy, with a roof over my head, clothes to wear, and food to eat. We get so caught up in our materialistic wants and anxious worries that we often forget that being alive is already a blessing in itself.
I was lucky enough to go to Iceland this month; a rather cold country with the warmest and friendliest of people. I don't know how many times cars stopped and allowed us to cross the road despite their green traffic lights.. it's a small thing, but it really gave me that warm fuzzy feeling. Our stay was in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, home to ~120,000 people - a drop in the ocean compared to the 8+ million people living in London right now.
We stayed at Reykjavik Lights Hotel, which was very modern and well kept.
The Icelandic people who we encountered spoke fluent English, and the hotel staff were really helpful with everything. It seemed like everyone were very laid back, which sometimes meant tour companies arrived for pick up around an hour late..

On our first night, we had the famous hot dog from Baejarins Beztu Pylsur.
The hot dogs come with ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onions, and remoulade. I'm not really a big fan of hot dogs, but these were really amazing!! I think it was mainly the mix of remoulade and crispy fried onion pieces that did it for me, but I had two on the first night before dinner, and then 1.5 the next day! 
Although I didn't get to try any Icelandic delicacies like minke whale, reindeer, or puffin, this is certainly something that I would happily return to Iceland for!

On our second day, we went whale watching. We were taken from our hotel to the tour company's main office to collect our tickets, before being transferred to the harbour where the boat was waiting. The weather was beautiful - clear blue skies with a gorgeous sunrise.
I love being on boats - the different sceneries you can't see on land, the different perspective, the sound of the waves lapping against the ship whilst you gently bob along..
I must say it was very windy and bitterly cold! :P It was all worth it though, as we saw the whales come up several times and I even managed to snap some pictures! :)
We went to try our luck with the Northern Lights that evening, but they didn't appear.. 
Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Your screen is not dirty. Those are stars. Beautiful, bright, shining stars!

The next day, we took a tour of the Golden Circle. We saw the Faxi waterfall...
 The geysers...
Warmed our hands using rocks from the 80-100°C geothermal waters...
Waited patiently for Strokkur to erupt...
 Stopped off to see the Gulfoss after lunch...
 This was probably my favourite of the tour - such beauty and immense power!!!
We also stopped off at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Rift Valley.
On our way back to Reykjavik, our tour guide allowed a five minute stop for us to take photos with the horses.. but the sunset was too beautiful to not snap first!
I did end up taking a photo of the horses... but what's the good without a selfie? :D
He/She even posed for us ^-^
They were so unbelievably beautiful and sleek! Such classy and elegant animals ^-^
It began to snow that afternoon, and continued through to evening, which meant the cancellation of our second attempt at seeing the Northern Lights.
We flew back to England the next morning - our flight was delayed due to the snow, and we ended up landing in Gatwick 2 hours later than planned.

The trip was rushed, but it opened up my eyes to so many natural wonders of the world, just through the two full days that we had. I got to see a snow covered volcano that has been inactive for a thousand years, see and hear the power of the Gulfoss and Faxi, experience the boom and sight of an erupting Geysir, and walk along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Rift Valley!!

It was a good trip that left me wanting more - I will definitely be back to try my luck with the Northern Lights again, and I have yet to take a dip in the Blue Lagoon! But for now, I shall look back at these photos, and reminisce...

Thank you for being on this continued journey with me, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy 2014.


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Monthly Favourites: October 2013

As the weather has gotten colder and windier, my skin has not been behaving as well as it used to. I have always found it difficult to predict when my skin will decide to act up, besides that time of the month. The sudden change in weather has caused my skin to react negatively - breakouts and dry patches, alongside super oiliness for some reason. Luckily, I knew just what to feed those nasty breakouts... Sudocrem!

Sudocrem has never really been a secret to the blogosphere, but I always feel like this pot of nappy cream never gets as much love as it should. Sounds dramatic, I know, but besides the E.L.F. zit zapper, this is the only thing that works for me to help reduce developing, developed, or developed and super menacing spots. This works well without drying out my skin, which is great - I hardly need flaky skin when my skin is so chapped already!

I have been using the Avene Micellar Lotion for a few months now, but it has been great in helping to make my skin feel less dehydrated in this chilly weather. I've had this since July, and I've only used about a quarter of this 400ml bottle!

I like how quick and easy this is to use, and the super fresh and rehydrated feeling I get after. It's kind of gross but satisfying to see all the dirt you can wipe off your face and neck too!

I have being sticking to basic concealer and powder recently, and the Maybelline Instant Anti-Age The Eraser Eye Perfect & Cover Concealer is the only one that I have been reaching for. It gives good coverage, doesn't settle in any lines or slightly dry skin, and dries to a beautifully silky and matte finish. It has also been great to use on my red areas and any spots, but I do worry about the hygiene of the sponge, despite the 'anti-bacterial' claims. Nevertheless, the product works great, and I can see myself using it all through the colder months.

The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencils are super creamy and pigmented, but what I love the most is that the creamy, smudgeable formula dries totally waterproof. My eyes have been watering quite easily in the cold, but the waterproof formula means that I don't have those terrible black tears running down my face every time the wind hits my eyes. (The Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal is very similar, but I will be doing a comparison post on that another time.)

Before I purchased the Lioele Auto Eyebrow Pencil, I had only ever done my brows using the E.L.F. Eyebrow Kit, or an eyeshadow along with an angled brush and a spoolie. The Auto Eyebrow has been great in that the colour matches perfectly, and the single stick itself contains the product on one side, and a spoolie on the other end where the silver cap is. This made it great for the travelling that I have been doing this month.

The shade I have is in 01 Grey Black, and the product itself is like a waxy crayon, and the colour intensity is very easily controlled by how hard you draw each stroke. The colour lasts all day, and it has not broken me out. Compared to the E.L.F brow kit, the Lioele pencil is victorious in the fact that the colour matches a lot better, and there is no tiny brush to mess around with. I will still be using my combination of eyeshadow + angled brush + spoolie, but I will be keeping that for days where I want my brows looking more soft and less defined.

The spoolie is hard to clean, but it is very handy for brushing out the colour and evening everything out. I have really enjoyed using this brow product this month, and I regret not getting a back up because I just know I will be using this all the time..

The last make up favourite of this month is the MAC Frost Blush in Margin. I would never have picked this out to purchase, but after a trip to the MAC store to get matched to the Mineralised Skinfinish Powder, I asked the make up artist what shade of blusher she would recommend. 

She asked me to pick out a shade I liked, whilst she would pick one that she thought would suit my complexion. I ended up going for a pink shade, whilst she went for this brown-y, coral-y, gold-y, hard-to-describe shade. I was so convinced it would look terrible, but it came out looking so natural, I ended up asking my sister to help me buy it at the airport.

I love this blush because it's natural looking, and it acts like a highlighter, a blusher, and a bronzer all in one.. it's difficult to describe, but the frosty finish of the powder does not turn your face into a disco ball, but leaves you with a healthy, glowing complexion.. I never used to wear blush every time I wore make up, but now I never wear make up without this blusher on my cheeks!

The last product for this month is the Clinique Take The Day Off Make Up Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips. I used to have sample sized bottles of this product, given to me by a relative, and I enjoyed using this right up until the point I ran out. I naturally went looking for a replacement, and lived happily with my Olay Eye Make Up Removal Cream until recently when I discovered that my eyes were starting to get dry and red after using the cream. I decided to revert back to the Clinique, which is an oil and water mixture that I like to use specifically for my eye area. You shake up the contents, and then pour it onto a cotton pad to wipe away your make up. I like to use my Avene Micellar Lotion after this, which also helps to get rid of any remaining oil/water mix. It removes my waterproof eye make up easily, and a little bit on a cotton bud also helps to get rid of tight-lined eyeliner, without any irritation at all. 

Finally, totally non-skin care or make up related..

How cute are my Aldo earrings? :D

What have you been liking this October?
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