Monday, February 25, 2013

Beauty boxes and all that jazz

Hello my lovelies!

Sorry for being MIA a bit lately, but I went to Spain and wasn't really inspired to write. Or rather, I was too busy doing other things to write anything.

But when I got back to Brussels, on a rather gloomy Monday morning, I was totally surprised by this:

I'm not sure how much can you really see on these pics, but for those who think they see three beauty boxes... Yes, that's right!!! There are 3 of them in here!!!! THREE!

I ordered one box last month & got three instead! Go figure!

I have to say, this month's box (boxes????) are really amazing, so I'm kind of happy I got to receive three!!! But then again, the honest person in me is thinking 'who made the mistake'?!?! And I feel responsible & almost guilty for having received them... I know, weird...

I have already contacted the Deauty people and hopefully we'll get things sorted before I get too attached to my Biotherm hand cream, L'oreal Mythic Oil shampoo, L'oreal eyeliner, or Eucerin shower gel... Quite an awesome bunch, huh?

Has something like this ever happened to you? How did you react????

 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

something tasty- no meat lasagne


Today's post will be quick- just as this delicious lasagne with zucchini & ricotta cheese.
I found this lovely recipe on Magda's blog http://fitfoodpolska.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/lazania-z-cukinia.html
but as you'll quickly realize, only those of you who speak Polish will get to read it :-) Sorry, all international folks. At this point, I'd like to say that Magda also has a YouTube channel, so you guys should check it out, too.

If you like the silly little picture I took yesterday evening, & you'd want to prepare this super tasty dish, here's the recipe in English :-)

Ingredients

  • Olive oil, for baking dish
  • 1 container ricotta cheese
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 medium zucchini halved lengthwise, then sliced thinly crosswise
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles (I used the veggie ones)
  • mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 185 degrees. Lightly oil a square baking dish; set aside.
  2. On a frying pan, fry your zucchini & peppers. Add ricotta; season with salt and pepper. At the end, add some garlic, oregano; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread 1/3 zucchini mixture in prepared baking dish; top with 3 lasagna noodles, then 1/3 ricotta mixture. Spread some tomatoe sauce on top. Repeat twice with remaining zucchini mixture, noodles, ricotta mixture, and sauce, making sure to finish with the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella or any other cheese you like.
  4. Bake until bubbly for 30 min. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
ENJOY!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Caudalie- trying what's natural

Since everyone on Youtube has been talking about Caudalie, I decided that I cannot live in a French-speaking country & not mention it, too. After all, Belgium might have bad weather, but pharmacies here are just as amazing as in France!

I actually knew Caudalie for a while. And I have to say that I always liked the company’s philosophy. It’s been created by a lovely couple: Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas in Bordeaux, France. In 1993, during the harvest of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Mathilde and Bertrand met Professor Joseph Vercauteren & that meeting changed their lives forever. The professor shared with them one his splendid discoveries of anti-aging properties of grape seeds, which according to him were the most powerful antioxidants produced by nature. Two years later, in 1995, having registered a patent for extracting and stabilising grape-seed Polyphenols, the Caudalie brand was born. The brand uses natural and environmentally friendly active ingredients with raw materials of controlled origin and Ecocert certified preservatives.


The Caudalie ingredients (from their website):
What we like
  • Organic grape water, grape-seed oil, Vinolevure®
  • Plant oils (fair trade argan, borage, evening primrose, hibiscus, sesame)
  • Moisturizing active ingredients (cassia angustifolia, pea)
  • Fair trade shea butter
  • Natural emulsifiers
  • Sage, camomile, flax seed
  • Avocado and apricot butters
  • Ginseng, ginger, echinacea
  • Orange and lemon plant waters
  • Extracts of Indian Hyssop, lemon, juniper, broom, geranium, rosemary and fresh peppermint

What we don't like and you will not find in our products 
  • Parabens
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Mineral oils
  • Genetically modified organisms
  • Paraffin
  • Synthetic artificial colorings
  • Sodium laureth sulfate
  • Phthalates
  • Animal-derived raw materials
Since recently my skin has been acting up, I decided to visit one of the pharmacies by my office & get some Caudalie help. I mean, all natural means all good, but in this case, I figured I really wanted to try it out.
I lucked out, as not only did I get the Beauty Elixir & the Vinosource Face Cream, but they were also selling a limited edition gift set with smaller size Chap Stick & hand cream.


Beauty Elixir
Grape, Orange blossom, Rose, Balm mint, Rosemary.
Inspired by Queen Isabelle of Hungary’s elixir of youth, this treatment smoothes away fine lines, tightens pores and gives the complexion a real boost of radiance.

That’s what's written on the label. As for my feelings so far- even though the scent is a bit herbal, I really like what it does to my skin. It definitely does help out with the redness & irritation. So far, so good.

Moisturizing Sorbet
Grape water, Camomile & Grape-seed Polyphenols.
Sensitive skin saviour: This Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet has an immediate and long-lasting calming and soothing action. It reactivates the skin’s hydration mechanisms and restores its water reserves. As skin becomes stronger, it feels softer and more comfortable.

I used it only for 2 days, but I already love it. My skin looks & feels much happier. And that’s exactly what I wanted. I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going.

Caudalie Lip Conditioner
Anti-oxidants
It’s nice & rich. Its creamy formula leaves your lips nourished & soft. I think I can safely say that I like it a lot.

Hand & Nail Creme
Nourishing, anti-oxidant
I heard a lot of good things about this cream, so I was really excited to try it out. Unfortunately, so far, my favourite Ahava hand cream is still the winner. Nothing unusual happens to my skin, but I'll report back if I see any dramatic difference.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What a day!!!!

You all know how much I adore make up! I think it's safe to say that I'm pretty much obsessed with it ;)

That's why when Sybille & Nathalie from Make Me Up contacted me recently asking if I'd be interested in one of their make up workshops, I really didn't have to think twice! Just imagine my surprise when I found out that one of the workshops will be fully devoted to bridal make up!!! I was sold instantly!

Yes, you guessed right! I am crazy & I'm thinking of having my wedding make up done myself. There's a lot of pros & cons to consider, and I still haven't made up my mind, though. I figured that a session like that with two professionals would make me really see what bridal make up is all about.

Yours truly getting her eye make up done :)
Our beautifully arranged make up tables

The ladies were absolutely lovely & ready to answer even the most basic make up question. During the 3 hour workshop, we covered such topics as:

  • Skin preparation
  • Foundation colours and types
  • Applying foundation
  • Concealer
  • Powder
  • Eyes shape
  • Eye make up
  • Lips
  • Blush

It does seem like a lot, especially since some of the ladies were rather new at make up. However, the knowledgable make up artists were there to help. They also prepared a super practical folder with all the topics covered in more depth. Their background books included such beauty gurus as Bobbi Brown 'Make up Manual' or Kevyn Aucoin 'Face Forward'.

We also had a whole bunch of great cosmetics to try and even the lightest shades, like myself were able to find something to their liking. What struck me as super practical, was that even though the girls work with Golden Rose cosmetics, they were using a whole bunch of other brands too. This way, I could try out many different kinds of great make up brands.

I have to say that I really liked the workshop concept too, as it's much more interactive that for example a make up shop. You can ask your questions, get personalised advice and feel like you're needs are really taken care of.

Nathalie choosing the right shade of foundation
Applying foundation can be tricky

 

All in all, I'm really glad I got to go. First of all, I met the lovely make up artists who with their fluent English and attention to detail and client's expectation, are a pleasure to work with. Second of all, I got to learn what it really means to apply a bridal make up. And I have to say, it's not as easy as it sounds...

 

Perhaps I should forget about it doing it myself & trust someone who actually knows what their doing. After all, on your wedding day you want to look your best.

 

If you're in Belgium & you'd like your make up done by a professional, I highly recommend Sybille & Nathalie.

Here are their contact details:

 

Sybille De Beuckelaer

Make up Artist

T: +32 486 400 633

E: sybille_db@hotmail.com

W: http://www.makeupbysybille.com/

 

Nathalie Peeters

T: +32 474 938 895

E: peeters.nathalie@mac.com

W: http://www.makeupartistnathalie.be/

 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Driver's Licence in Belgium

I have recently wrote a piece for ExpatsBlog on getting your driver's licence.
 If you'd like to check it out on their great website, please go to http://www.expatsblog.com/articles/1465/how-to-get-your-drivers-licence-in-belgium

How to Get Your Driver's Licence in Belgium


Local Expert Series: Get your Driver's Licence in Belgium by Barbara



If you’re thinking of obtaining your driver’s license in Belgium, you need to remember that the process here is a bit unusual. First of all, good news for those whose French or Dutch is not strong enough- you can take courses in English, and many other languages.

The theory classes take place at the driving school of your choice. You need to take 20h of theory (140 euros) after which you should be able to pass the theory test. FYI, if you feel like you don’t need the teacher’s explanation, you can study the theory at home. The school can usually provide the books with road code.

When you’re ready to take the theoretical exam, you need to book it at the Test Centre in Schaerbeek. If you want to do it in English (25 euros), the waiting time can vary, and can take up to a month. Even though you booked your theory test to be in English, the questions on the PC screen are in French (or Dutch, depending where in Belgium you’re doing it). The translator (50 euros) is in the room & they translate each & every question out loud. Some people complain that the success rate depends on the skills & pronunciation of the translator. This is true to a certain extent, but I wouldn’t focus on that too much.

After you’ve passed the theory, you can start driving around the city. If you’re lucky, and you have someone around you who’s been a driver for a minimum 8 years, you can ‘use’ them as your guide. No need to pay for the practical classes at your driving school (cost: 105 euros per 1.45min class).

If you don’t have anyone like that though, you need to book driving classes with an instructor. The bare minimum is 10 driving lessons after which they will tell you if you’re ready to drive on your own, or not. If you’ve done your 10 lessons, but you feel like you’re still not fully confident about driving, you can ask for some additional classes with your teacher. The driving schools do it all the time, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Finally, the teacher gives you a document which states that you’re ready to drive & that you’re not a hazard to other road users. Only then you’ll be able to go to the commune to obtain your provisional driver’s license. It normally takes about a week or so to get it, and it costs about 8 euros. Don’t forget to bring 2 color pictures of yourself & your theoretical exam results too.

The provisional license gives you the right to drive on your own or with company (excluding kids, pregnant women) for the period of 18 months. After that, or before, if you feel ready, you can take your driver’s exam in order o obtain the final driver’s license.

If you fail your driving exam twice in a row, you’ll need to book 6 extra hours with your teacher.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My new foundation routine

As you guys know, I love the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation. I've been loving it ever since I got it. But on my recent trip back home there was someone who fell in love with this foundation even more- my mom. She told me it's the best thing she ever tried & begged me to give it to her. So I did :)

In the airport I figured that since I just lost my dear friend (make up friend that is) then it's only natural that I get something else instead. To make myself feel better, if you will ;)

I saw this bad boy- Clarins Skin Illusion foundation and got it immediately!

There's no lukewarm feelings about foundations, I think. You either love them or you hate them. And this one, was love at first sight.

I like that it's nice & easy to blend. It looks and feels like no foundation at all, and gives a very good coverage even though. Also, it has SPF 10 and that's always a bonus.

I tried to apply it with my fingers at first but I especially like the finish I get when I apply it with my Inglot brush.

One pump really does the job. It looks flawless!

Have you tried this foundation yet?

 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Valentines Day- sweet ideas hunt

When in doubt what to do for that special day, just go to Martha Stewart's website. You will find there plenty if inspirations.

Such as this one, for a lovely morning coffee.

gt03febmsl_heart02.jpg

Sweeten your valentine's morning by topping his coffee with love.

Spoon a bit of foamed milk on top, and use a squeeze bottle to draw a heart with room-temperature chocolate syrup -- store-bought or homemade -- just before serving.

Make sure foam is dense and syrup is thin.

Serve immediately; the image will last only a minute or two.

This trick works on cappuccino and latte, or hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.

 

Are you doing anything special this Valentine's Day? Do share!

 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ladies & Gentlemen,
did you know that today is the Fat Thursday??!! No idea???

Well, for those of you who aren't Polish or German, for that matter, here's a little recap...

The Fat Thursday (Pol 'Tłusty Czwartek') marks the last Thursday before Lent & is associated with the celebration of Carnival. Because Lent is a time of fasting, the next opportunity to feast would not be until Easter.

Anyways, even though I just got back from Poland, I am jealous of all the delicious home-made donuts you guys are going to eat in there today!

Have one for me too! Or even two...


Smacznego!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I think I'm getting sick again

So I'm back from Poland, going to work- back to life as it's supposed to be :-)
However, I feel like I'm getting sick...
You know those times when all of a sudden, you have no energy, and you just want to sleep all day?
Well, this is how I'm feeling today.

I tried drinking raspberry tea with honey, added cardamon to my black tea, and took way too much vit C:-)
So far, I'm feeling the same, which is other words can be described as crappy! Excuse my language :-)

Don't know what it is about Brussels weather that just doesn't agree with me.
Can it be the humidity? Or the rain? Or everything combined?

Send me please some home-made remedies. I'm willing to try anything, as long as it doesn't involve going to the doctor:-)

Hugs

Monday, February 4, 2013

Polska says good bye with some gorgeous snow...

Whenever I'm in Belgium, I'm always telling people that the weather in Poland is just so much better. When it's summer, it's nice and hot. In the winter, it's crisp and cold. To my surprise however, when I arrived to Poland this Thursday, the weather looked very similar to what we've been having in Belgium recently. Which means, rain, wind and no sun...

Thankfully, yesterday, it's gotten colder, and it even snowed. Of course, it took everyone by surprise, as people in here thought that the proper winter is over. Little did they know that winter had other plans ;)

Polish winter

This picture has been taken in my hometown only yesterday. I have to say that I love this picturesque sight!

Hope your winter is treating you well, wherever you are.

 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pizza time chez moi!!!

Did I say that my mom's pizza is simply the best? If not, then here it is! Hands down! Best pizza ever!

From a few basic ingredients, she can come up with something this delicious and nutritious. Just take a look!

She makes her own pizza pie, which in my opinion makes all the difference. It doesn't come out too thick, or too thin either.

Then, the tomato sauce is not just the canned stuff wither. She is rather picky about it too, so no cheap ingredients go in there. It's usually something she made herself from scratch sometime in the summer, and had it waiting patiently in a nice little jar in the cellar.

Ready to be thrown in the oven

After it's done, it looks like that:

Her majesty- mom's pizza ;)

Hope that your Sunday is going great. I don't have to work on Monday, so I'm feeling extra lucky ;)