Decluttering Toiletteries: Makeup

This is a photo of all the makeup (foundation) I`ve got:


Contrary to my seven body lotions, these did not accumulate by themselves – I bought each of them deliberately.

At the very front, you see my all time favourite ever since I first tried it in 2008: Bare Minerals. I use the compressed powder (£26.oo plus £24.00 for the special brush at the back), as I found the lose powder too messy (clothes!!), and the liquid make up too thin/light. I think I`ll keep using Bare Minerals forevaandevaandeva, but there`s certain days in the month, where this is just not enough, which is why, over some time, I collected some other items:

First, I bought the stick from Bobbi Brown (£26.oo), which is incredibly fast to apply: I just draw a number 3 on each cheek and then blend this in with my hands. Great coverage while very natural looking, but oil based and makes my skin break out if I use it continuously for, say, a week.

That`s why I bought L`Oreal True Match (£ 9.99) as well. This doesn`t give me spots, but use any more than just a thin layer, and you can see it (Did I buy the right colour???), which is why it was joined first by a Blur Cream (£7.99 – waste of money! It`s meant to smooth out pores, which it does, but my problem is breakouts, which this does not cover) and then the Mac product (£ 22.oo). This is a yellow liquid which, applied on red areas, neutralises their colour and makes them less visible underneath your usual makeup. This works, while still looking natural.

A couple of weeks ago, I was given a sample of Estee Lauder`s Double Wear (£32.oo) in the small plastic bottle. They take a close up photo of your skin and then mix a color to match in front of you. I chose medium coverage, and was properly amazed at how it made my skin look – smooth, dewy, and not at all made up – simply perfect!! I would have bought this on the spot, if I didn`t have so much already (but previously, I would have!!)! Unfortunately, oil based, too, so what I think I`ll do is use up all the other stuff and then buy just this to use alongside my Bare Minerals on acne days and special days. May need a different colour for summer and winter, but at the moment, this one is what I think the best looking makeup I ever had!!


Decluttering Toiletteries: Body Lotions

This is a picture of (almost!) all the body lotions I possess :


Of the small Decleor one, I have two – they were freebies. There is a gel as well, which is not in the picture. The Aloe Vera gel was bought for use on sunburnt skin (didn`t do much), and the large one was for the gym (where I’m even less inclined to use anything! ). The Argan oil was meant for my hair, which it made greasy, so this was relegated to the body as well. The “funny” thing is – I don`t even use body lotion! I always plan to, but I`m notoriously lazy.

The only one that`s precious is the white bottle with the silver top – that`s a perfumed body oil, Teint de Neige. If every perfume was available as oil, I`d only buy those. I love the way you can rub it all over rather than just a few spots, it feels incredibly luxurious to apply, and (contrary to all perfumed lotions I had in the past) the perfume lasts all day.

Anyway, all but this one are now being used up and wont be replaced. If ever I re feel in need for a body moisturiser, I’ll always have some in the kitchen. It smells delicious (but fades quickly, so will not interfere with any other scent!) and puts loads of goodness into your skin, and both without a single additive. It`s also very affordable:


Extra Virginia coconut oil!

Next Project: Fitness

After I returned to Facebook and decided that not drinking is definitely a keeper, I`ve embarked on my next project at the end of February: fitness. I binge exercise, and not even work part time has got me into a proper, regular regime. When I got offered 2 free personal training sessions however, I decided to make this a jump start.

After the two sessions, I now have two training plans, which I`m alternating: one for the arms (weak!!!) and one for legs and core (strong, because I run). I was properly angry after my first session – it was so hard, and I constantly had to lower the weights, which did nothing for my self esteem. However, I`ve been doing all exercises ever since and, despite my strong scepticism, I`m already finding it easier and dutyfully increased *all* exercises to four sets as of last weekend. Because the workouts are brief (about 30 mins each), I find it easy to make the time. 45 Minutes are all I need to feel good about myself for the rest of the day, and into the next. For me, fat is definitely a feeling!!

When I`m not going to the gym, I try to walk longer distances outside. In good weather, that`s always been easy, but I`m surprised how good the weight lifting feels. I tried it on and off, but never stuck to it, as I simply didn`t enjoy it. But I now know what motivates me, and I enjoy that sensation of feeling so weak afterwards that I want to do no more. Feeling that weak makes me feel so strong, and I almost fondly remember this impossibly difficult intro session, that was only 3 weeks ago!!

Here`s an excerpt of my pedometer (pre-installed S Health for Android, also recommend Noom Walk for Android or IPhone) since I started. The columns indicate daily step count and turn green when I exceed 10.000 steps. The pink circles say I was at the gym, blue is a rest day.

My challenge now is that I had minor surgery and shouldn`t lift weights with that arm for 11 days (scar may stretch), plus full time work and going away for three days as well. It`ll be interesting to compare the difference after I kept working one arm but not the other…

Malta: Gozo

When you see pictures of Malta, and everything is looking really old, and it`s not a city (Valletta), then you are likely to be looking at Gozo, a small island 25 mins (by ferry) off Malta.

Gozo was stunning – very pitorescque, and almost historic feeling. Although there are 4 hotels on this island, you`ll find none of those modern high rises that spoil St Julian`s.

This is how Gozo greeted us when we arrived:



The world`s second oldest man made religious structures – Ġgantija, the neolithic temple dating back to 3600 BC. We weren`t even allowed to touch.


That`s in Victoria/Rabat (surprisingly many Arabic names, architecture and writing all over Malta, and the occasional lady in full hijab. I even saw hints of this heritage in food – stews and spices). Religion is very, very important to the Maltese:



Ending with one picture of my modest self. Could have done a brief boat trip through those caves into the open sea, but we were thirsty, so we treated ourselves to a bottle of Kinnie instead. It`s a bit like herbal coca cola. My husband liked it, I didn`t. May habe been better with a measure of rum in it…



Bragging Rights

A couple of weeks ago, my colleague was talking about her daughter`s first car. Eventually, she lowered her voice, gave me a long, long look and then said very earnestly: “She`s a lucky girl.” Break. “She`s a LUCKY, lucky girl. I hope she appreciates it.” Eventually, I felt forced to ask, and she confirmed that she has indeed treated her to it.

Very obviously, she was not just treating the girl but also herself, for it buys her bragging rights. I should know to take those with a pinch of salt, as I know of at least one parent who has not actually treated his kids to everything he claimed in public. My dad hasn`t treated me to three months in Italy – he allowed me (under 18) to go and found me a few jobs to pay for it. Neither has he bought me a car or my sister a horse – he merely allowed us to home both on his premises without increasing dig money. But I`m sure it made him look good to his friends, and it probably benefited their own teenagers, if those men felt pressure to follow suit.

The other day, I caught myself retaliating. Someone was telling me that she needed a particular item to go on a foreign holiday with another couple. I knew the story wasn`t really about the item; she wanted to be asked where she was going. I also knew she didn`t particularly get on with the other woman, so I totally ignored the shopping bit and the foreign holiday hint, and exclaimed something along the line of: “Oh noooo! He knows you can`t stand her, why can`t they go somewhere on their own?” She changed the topic and looked dismayed.

There seems to be an unwritten social contract that, in order to be “nice” people, we have to indulge chat like this, but if the same people are fishing like this all the time, I simply want to switch off.

But once again, I`m pondering about how many things we are actually doing for other people, and who we would be if there never was any social approval (or disapproval) to be had for what we do, what we possess or what we look like.



No Facebook – what became of it?

In mid December, I made a resolution to skip facebook for a month.

Those who followed me with this will know that I was not entirely successful – I shared my Instagram photos to facebook and convinced my husband to tag me a couple of times. I also visited to read and reply to the comments I received to my farewell post. On the plus side, I didn`t feel remotely tempted to look up other people. However, it should be no surprise that I returned to facebook and decided to keep it in my life.

I`m linked to 106 people there, and after I deleted three or four, that`s 106 people I want to stay in touch with. I don`t see them all regularly, so without facebook, I would need to phone a friend almost every day to speak to each of them three times a year. Replace one or two of those calls with a face to face meeting, and most of us wouldn`t have either time or money to keep all those people in our lives.

Some people claim facebook is fake, but the more closely I look, the more I`m finding that it usually mirrors pretty much how people are offline. Yes, people brag, but those who brag on facebook will also brag offline. All that facebook does is giving them more exposure.

Some say facebook exposes people, but these people will usually expose themselves eventually. You could argue that facebook lets them get away with less. A friend of mine (not on facebook) has just learnt through facebook that her ex was already in another relationship before they “properly” split. It`s hard, but it also confirmed that she was right to stop fighting and that she does not need to hope for him to come back.

I read a lovely book named “Tales from Facebook“, which described many facebook phenomenons from many different perspectives and which mellowed me even towards some of the things I used to find annoying. Even though I still find them a bit juvenile, I have to agree that the so called “cryptic posts” are often amusing and intriguing, and that rants, albeit often cringey, are also very refreshing on a platform where so many show themselves and their lives only at their best. And as far as my pet hate No 1 is concerned – videos, jokes and inspirational quotes -, someone suggested that people may be so self conscious nowadays about posting anything too personal, that they resort to sharing other people`s content if they want to keep sharing anything at all. Makes sense to me.

Maybe, I had to (try to) do without it for a bit in order to really appreciate facebook for keeping me connected with so many people, and like them who run it, it`s got its down days or brag days or expose a cheating boyfriend days, etc. 🙂



Alcohol Free – into Week 6

It is possible to party without drinking, even if it`s your birthday or your leaving party, even if you`re hurting in many, many ways, and even if others drink around you. The thing however was that noone mentioned it. Noone asked, noone offered, noone pestered – nobody really cared about what I was drinking and this was what helped me, and I think it would help other people if others would just let them be.

And once again, I laughed and chatted all the same. I definitely get less emotional (which was a desired outcome!!) but just as happy and animated (which may have been a deal breaker in that I would need to make choices between parties and sobriety). Not missing a thing, and could eat seafood, because I spent just £1.00 on each drink.

Finances are a biggie, if you think about it. I remember one occasion last year when I was deeply shocked on checking my purse the next morning. I bought loads of drinks for others, who would usually buy me one back, but the group rearranged itself, and that never happened, so I bought a bottle of which I had half a glass and then had to stop. I could have a cheeky weekend away every year if it wasn`t for those nights. Abroad.

Although I seem to have gotten over the “habit” bit, I still crave a drink at times – usually when I want to relax, which is good to recognize, but also when I was angry, and another once for no emotional reason at all. My husband had a glass of red wine, and I could smell it, and all over sudden, I so badly wanted one as well and experience that hazy, comfortable feeling that comes when the glass is just over half finished.

So why, if I don`t feel it`s a habit any more, do I not just have the drink if I want it? Probably, for the same reason I never had another cigarette again. I am doing so well without and am scared that that one glass would lead down a slippery slope… Like when I lost weight, I suppose. I`m an all or nothing girl.

B mentioned Port, and I felt a slight pinch. I remember us sitting round her kitchen table, us and two more, drinking. Two had beer, but we don`t like beer, so we had Port. The whole bottle. We were all drunk in the end, but the evening was perfect, and we could all stay over and lie in. I was grieving when she said it, but only briefly, for I hadn`t banned alcohol forever but am merely taking a break.

BTW, I have no idea how long would be best, that`s why I haven`t set a time. Until I have another drink, I suppose.

Blog Liking

I`m not happy when my posts get, say 3 views and 4 likes.

To the outside world, it may be looking as if that 4th person is complimenting me on the piece, but as I`m looking at my stats, I read: “It`s probably not worth reading, but I`ll like it anyway, just to pretend.”