Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Beauty: Makeup Edit


I have blogged before about the beauty products I like and use. But it felt wrong not to share them again and add some new additions in this Beauty series I'm doing weekly. 
Is this something you would like to see more often? Would you like to see other people makeup bags? This is something I have been thinking about for some time now and I would love to hear your opinions!

From top and clockwise

Bareminerals Original Foundation: Another product I have used for many years now. I don't like using foundation, I hate using creamy ones, the don't feel right on my skin and I absolutely can't stand the cloginess so this light powder is perfect for me. This is light and even in the summer heat it allows me to feel fresh.

Great Lash Maybelline Mascara: Mascara is a bit of my hit-miss. I have tried many pricier ones, but I think my eyes are too sensitive and not all work well for me. Most makes my eyes itch and it's definitely not a great look. This cheery pink tube, while it doesn't do the incredible things other claim to offer, does the job incredibly well and comes very affordable.

Shu Uemura Eyelashes curler: Always wanted it but always thought it was pricey, finally 5 years ago I succumbed and haven't looked back. I think i's value for money so if you are thinking about it, I definitely recommend it. 

Nars Funny Face lipstick: I love the fuchsia/pink shade if it. Not red but still bold!

Nars Laguna bronzer and Nars Orgasm Blush: While I put them like this together I don't always use both. On a  daily basis I usually only use the blush on top of the BareMinerals, but if I'm going out and want to look a bit more sun kissed I love using Orgasm, it was the perfect shade. And I'm a sucker for nice packaging and I think Nars can't be beaten.

Tweezerman tweezers: I kissed many frogs before finding this. I think this says it all, best in the market and comes in an array of lovely colours.

Susan Posnick ColourEyeDefine in Bronze and Copper: I really like this. I love the pencil colour, and the idea behind the dual pencil is lovely. The shadow also works ok, but the reason I really use it is the pencil, depending on which side you sue it, the line can be think or thicker. Perfect.

Lancome Khol pencil in Black: I don't ADORE it but it's a good one. I love kohl but my problem is that it gets all smudgy after a while, it's either the way I apply it (probably wrong) or my eyelids (also possible too). Anyhow, 

Brushes: At the moment I use 3 different brushes

BareMinerals concealer brush: I love the handle and the size, applies my creamy concealer well. I use Benefit's Boi-ing which I completely forgot to photograph!

Real Techniques Buffing Brush (part of the Core Collection and not sold separately) and the Blush brush: I bought these after reading about them lots on man established fashion blogs. Great price and great quality. The Core Collection has 4 brushes, I only use one daily but the price was good (and I got them with my Boots points aka free) so it was a definitely good buy!


Makeup bag is from Paul & Joe, I bought it many moons ago, but they have a similar one here in a different pattern. Fits LOTS of stuff inside and is the perfect companion. A bit too big for your handbag but great for all your beauty essentials.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Make it: Gazpacho


Gazpacho is probably one of the well known spanish recipes and it's THE perfect summer soup. It's healthy, refreshing and incredibly easy to make. You only need a handful of ingredients (the better quality the better your soup will turn up of course) and anyone can make it. My mom made it last week and here it is for you today. 

Printable recipe here


 (serves 4)

4 tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 cucumber
1 onion
1 clove of garlic (optional)
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 slice of stale bread soaked with a bit of vinager
salt, pepper

homemade gazpacho recipe


Chop your tomatoes, you can peel them if you prefer then chop them in big chunks, peel and cut your cucumber, cut and de-seed your pepper, peel and cut your onion (and garlic if using it). Throw all your veggies in your blender, throw in the oil too and blend. Blend until smooth, once all is well blended throw in the bread and salt and pepper and blend again. Depending on how smooth you want it you can throw in some water, it will become more liquid. Serve it a bowl with crouttons or fried bread. 
Have it and I'm sure you will love it. 

homemade gazpacho recipe


Printable recipe here
All photos by A Diary of Lovely

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday Outfit


Phew, it's Monday again and it's oh so hot here in Barcelona! While I'm lucky to be here during the summer, I'm not used anymore to the Mediterranean heat! Anyhow, no complaints, it's always lovely being home, eating mom's made food and relaxing a bit. Today it's back to work! I bought this little black/dark grey dress off the Zara sale for a bargain, when I went to the till it was even cheaper than the label said, I love it when it happens! 
Tomorrow I have prepared a yummy Spanish recipe to share, I will also post about my makeup products later this week, I hope you enjoy it. Have a great week!


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Dress: Zara | Shoes: Clarks c/o Sarenza

Friday, July 26, 2013

The week's faves


This was the week a little Prince was born, wow I get it that it's an ok big deal, but wow the UK went crazy with HRH's arrival. Good for them! I hardly ever blog about royals or anything related (my friend Lauren does it better anyway) but I thought she looked lovely in her pale blue dress, cute idea, especially if you have to come in front of the world's eyes after giving birth. 

This week I also liked the new Ikea catalogue, especially this bedroom, which I actually noticed is NOT in the catalogue but anyhow I love it.


I also came across this incredible paradise on earth in Brazil. UXUA Casa & Spa looks like the most idyllic place to rest ad enjoy of a vacation, I love the decor of the houses.


And for those of you who missed it, this is what happened around here this week:

A 30th Birthday Celebration, my best friend turned 30 and celebrated it in style!
A Risotto recipe

Have a great weekend lovelies! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ideal Closet


It's boiling hot and humid in Barcelona these days, and one of the perks of working from home is to be able to wear pretty much anything. I get dressed every morning, and put some makeup on because I hate thinking I spend my working day in PJs or not taken care of. This outfit is perfect for a day in the home office, comfortable and ready to pop out for a stroll as soon as the work journey is over!

Get it here

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Beauty: Skincare


Today's Beauty post is all about skincare! It's all about what products I use regularly and like. I have tried all of these and they work for my skin.While there are a few things here, on a daily basis I mainly use 2-3 of these. Let's get the rundown, shall we? Clockwise

Shu Uemura Skin Purifier Oil Cleanser: I have been using this for the past 10 years. I know some people are against it because it carries mineral oils but I can't complaint. It cleanses my skin and also removes any dark mascara easily. Plus it leaves my skin subtle and soft. 

Creme de la Mer: Against i swear by this, I have blogged many times about it and will praise it to whoever wants to hear it. Perfect moisturiser. Expensive indeed but I don't want to give it up. Is there a cheaper alternative that you know and have tried?

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Eye Roll-On: I only recently started using this so I can't comment much. I like the roll-on form and its freshness, and also how easy it is to use. It claims to reduce the intensity of black circles and under-eye bags. 

La Roche Posay Effaclar Al - Targeted Breakout Corrector: I used it on a couple of small spots and while they did not disappear overnight they are not here anymore. I like the La Roche Posay products and it's packaging and everybody raves about this one I had to give it a go, the price won't break the bank and it seems to be working so it's a yes from me. 

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate: Using oils on me was a no no no. For about a year I switched the Creme de la Mer for the Rodin oil and liked it - but apparently didn't love it as I went back to La Mer? probably. This little blue bottle by Kiehl's claims to leave your skin rested and younger looking with just 2 drops overnight. I don't know about that, I'm not impressed easily I must admit, but I like it. It leaves my skin soft, non creasy and moisturised all while keeping it young(ish) and subtle. I also like the smell.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir: I liked the story of this one, but I don't use it as often. Apparently it hydrates and refreshes your skin, and while I like it I don't know where or how to use it often. Sometimes I spray it on my hands, rub and smell, it's invigorating, I read it somewhere by someone who is in the known. It's the small bottle and hence not as expensive.

Aesop B & Tea Balancing Toner: This takes out everything the Shu Uemura doesn't. All the dirt. And cleanses my pores, they are in deer need of a good cleanse... I think the Clarisonic is soon to be my new friend, but I'm a bit scared as most people rave but some few talk about it really badly. Do you have it, should I get it?

Ren Smooth and Renew Mask: This smells like some tropical fruit, is perfect for sensitive skin and I like the feeling of clean you feel after removing it with a facecloth and rinse your face with warm water. If you have sensitive skin but want to use a mask, I can definitely recommend this!

Bioderma Sensibio H20: This french product is on everyone's makeup bag for a reason. This cleansing water does the job better than... better! Get it if you can, it's cheap, lasts forever and is good for your skin.

WHAT are your skincare staples? I'd love to know what you use and love!


All photos via A Diary of Lovely

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Make it: Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms

About a month ago I posted a risotto recipe. This one is similar but I thought I would include it in the Make it Series with some more pics to illustrate the yumminess of this. Any kind of risotto is very close to my heart, the comfortness of the rice and the creaminess of this dish make it a go-to for many of my dinner with friends evenings. It is truth that you have to make it right bang before serving but I don't mind greatly cooking with friends. So let's crack on!

Printable recipe here 

Ingredients 

 (seves 2 generous portions, probably 3 normal ones)

300 gr arborio rice
1 cup of white wine
3 cups of chicken broth (you can make it, I use 1 1/2 cubes)
150 gr of mushrooms (I use button mushrooms usually)
200 gr of asparagus (1 bunch)
2 knobs of butter (2 tbsp)
grated parmesan cheese

Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms


How to Make it

This is a super easy recipe, it just needs a bit of prep, a lot of stirring and it's done in a whiff. Warm your chicken stock in a small pan, I don't know how much water exactly, about 1 litre will do, you can always add a bit more of needed later. 
Chop your asparagus and mushrooms and cook in a pan with a bit of olive oil (I recommend doing this while stirring the rice so its warm). 
In a large(ish) deep pan/pot heat up 2tbsp of olive oil, when hot (not sizzling though) throw in your rice, and stir nicely to get it all oil coated. Throw in the wine and stir until it evaporates. Put the heat on medium and start slowly throwing in the warm kitchen stock while you keep stirring nicely. When the liquid evaporated, throw in more and so on. It takes about 20 minutes for the rice to be cooked, but as always taste it beforehand, it has to be hardish outside but soft inside. Just before taking it out throw in the cooked mushrooms and asparagus and a big dollop of butter. Stir stir stir. take it off the heat and mix in the parmesan cheese. You will see how creamy it is. Serve hot but let it seat 3-4 minutes before. Enjoy

Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms
Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Printable recipe here

All photos by A Diary of Lovely

Monday, July 22, 2013

A 30th Birthday Party

My friend Eli turned 30 a couple of weeks ago and to celebrate this big one she organised a garden party this weekend. She put all her talent into action and created the most perfect day for everyone. Friends and family gathered together to celebrate and Eli brought out her very best; giving us yummy food and drinks and her charming self.


To start with she served delicious guacamole with nachos, yummy hummus with toasted bread, and incredible homemade gazpacho (spanish cold tomato soup). How cute is the idea of serving it in little yogurt pots with small straws? Everybody loved it. The hummus was served in individual small cones made of bamboo and displayed in a big bowl filled with... breadcrumbs! smart?


Not content with that, Eli also made an incredible fideua, a typical Catalan dish, wish I will show you next week. A massive (!) bowl of mojito was served to top it off! And because it was a birthday after all, the desert was something very special, mini donuts that we all know and adore around here. Dear Eli, massive thanks for having us all, and organising such a bash, it was all gorgeous!


All Photos by A Diary of Lovely

Friday, July 19, 2013

Beauty: Sun protection

When the sun shines... protect yourself! This is the first of a series of beauty posts I have prepared, I hope you enjoy them. 
This is more of a beach beauty/sun protection post but with the sun burning so much lately, face sun protection is a must. I wear bare minerals all year round with 15SPF and absolutely love it. Here are my summer heroes. 


Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect 30: I love the texture of this, it's watery which means you can just spray it and apply evenly without getting all sticky, to me that's a massive plus. This is my starter sun protector. I use it at the very beginning of my holiday (or when I start sunbathing in general). I assume some people even go higher when they start and I might regret it later but I think 30 is the ideal for my skin tone. This one is also very water resistant which means you don´t need to apply all the time but even if you want to the texture is great for multiple application. 

Hawaiian Tropic Dry Spray Oil 15: This one is one of my all time faves. It's for when you are already a bit (quite) tanned as it does't protect as much as the Garnier but I always believed it allowed you to tan better and faster (maybe it's a myth though so don't quite me on that!). While I don't love it's texture, I like the way your skin looks when slathered with oil. If your skin in fair I would avoid using such low protection factor.

Supergoop Everyday Face and Body Moisturizer 30: For the face go high or go home, is 30 high enough? I could probably go a lot higher and avoid nose sunburns indeed, but generally 30 does it for me. I tried this one last summer and I liked it, it's creamy but still light and it didn't irritate my skin so I'll use it again this year. 

Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Aloe Vera cooling gel: I love this! If you put it in the fridge it's even better. Aloe vera is great for your skin and works wonders for sensible skin that has been exposed to lots of sun (or sunburnt!) and the cool factor is a massive plus. I love it's texture, while it's a bit gooey I like that it refreshes your skin and soothes it.

And don't forget your hat!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ideal Closet

Finally I have had some time to look around the virtual world of shopping and put together an Ideal Closet post. I love doing these because it allows me to dream of outfits I might not usually wear. Not only because of the price tag, but sometimes I do put together stuff I might not necessary wear in general life or combinations that I don't dare wearing or or or, you know how this is. This today, is not one of these, I love this dress, it reminds me a bit of this red one (out of stock I'm afraid) and super easy to wear with any flat sandals and a fun bag. The denim waist coat is a bit of a versatile piece, I have a similar one I bought last year and I recall wearing it a lot in the evenings over dresses or a t-shirt/skirt combo. 



Get it here


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Make it: Pesto Salmon

I saw today's recipe on Lauren's Instagram, her friend Teri made it and it looked so yummy and healthy I had to ask her if I could recreate it and share with you guys, Lauren obliged and here it is!


I didn't have a recipe on hand but I thought it couldn't be too complicated, I make pven baked salmon often at home and this looked like a different version of it.
Let's do it then, gather your ingredients:

Printable recipe here

(serves two)
2 fillets of fresh salmon, 1 bunch of asparagus, 2 potatoes, 300gr of cherry tomatoes (about 8oz)
2-3 tbsp of pesto (I bought it but you can easily make it too, I have tried this recipe and loved it, I added parmesan cheese to it)
Salt, pepper, olive oil to season



The method is as you can imagine beyond easy. 
Preheat oven to 180º - 200º (350F - 400F) mine is a very old oven but I would say it corresponds to that. Place your salmon fillets in a baking pan (skin side down), drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes, take the pan out and add the asparagus and tomatoes, drizzle with oil and add salt and pepper too. Coat your salmon with some pesto. Cook for a further 8-10 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork and the veggies are nicely cooked. 

While your salmon is in the oven, wash the potatoes, cute them in chunky bits, boil them for 10 - 13 minutes, drain them and cook them lightly on medium heat in a small pan (add some olive oil), while cooking crush them softly. 
Serve and enjoy a uber healthy and delicious meal. Perfect for a summer soiree. 


Massive thanks to Lauren and to Tina for allowing me to share this recipe here today. 
People, make this, it's easy, healthy and delicious.

Printable recipe here

***
More recipes you might want to try

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sunday Outfit

Lovely friends hello and happy Monday! What a glorious weekend we've had here in London. London becomes the most incredibly gorgeous city when the sun shines, I have said it before and I'll say it as long as needed. I'm wearing my new romper from Topshop, I had saved it on my faves some time ago and then I say Courtney from Babyccino (with her incredibly long and thin super legs) wearing it and I had to have it, I'm a big fan of rompers and jumpsuits for this time of the year, they are versatile, easy and fun! I'm off to Barcelona today for a while, can't wait to blog lots from there and show you some of the beauties my city has to share, stay tuned for lots of fun new posts!




Shop the Post


Romper: Topshop | Belt: New Look (similar, similar) | Bag: Michael Kors c/o Sarenza | Sunglasses: Ray Ban | Hat: Anthropologie (similar, similar) | Sandals: Zara (similarsimilar)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hush PJs giveaway

Don't we all love spending a good old Sunday lounging around, enjoying mundane things, reading a book or watching a movie? And wouldn't it be even better if you were to do all of the above while wearing a pair of PJs from the lovely Hush? I know for me, it would make it a lot lot better. 


So don't fret, here I am to solve this, Hush and A Diary of Lovely have teamed up to give you the chance to win one of their super cute PJs. For real are you saying? Oh yes! Don't wait, go ahead and enter for your chance to win, it might be your lucky day!!


Enter here - the more entries the more chances!


Winner will be picked at random 
Giveaway open worlwide
PJs worh up to £49.50

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

C.P.Hart: the Waterloo showroom

A couple of weeks ago I showed you what my perfect bathroom would look like, it would definitely involve some C.P.Hart. Last week I joined the 4 other bloggers that took part in the Ideal Bathroom challenge and visited the Waterloo C.P.Hart showroom in London. We were treated to yummy nibbles and bubbly wine, were given some feedback about our boards, they shared with us some great bathroom design ideas and we were told a bit more about what the trends are and what the team at C.P.Hart do. 



We were also given a full tour of the very big showroom and I was impressed by the many choices availbale, it's one thing to see all the options in a catalogue or online and another to see it live where you can really see the feel and look and touch everything. At C.P.Hart you can find pretty much anything your heart desires, from modern bathrooms to the mode traditional look and even something like the below. Definitely a very glam version of your day in day out bathroom, not especially my cup of tea but definitely impressive (you see that chandelier? there is a shower head underneath, how luxe is that?)


I also realised that even though I love free standing bath tubs I love LOVE a good shower, a well designed shower can please as much as a long bath. At the C.P Hart showroom they have created small bathrooms with gorgeous showers.


Many thanks to the team at C.P Hart for welcoming us t their showroom, it was fun learning more about designer bathrooms and daydreaming a little bit. 
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